Conscious secret santa/ little gift ideas (material and non-material)

Let’s start this by mentioning that when I say “Christmas” I mean the time around December where it is all about the holidays. I know not everyone is celebrating Christmas but most people still enjoy the festive decorations and have “secret santa” going on at work or school. I was talking to a friend about how excluding the term Christmas can be to people of other religions and non-religious people and we decided to call it “X-mas” (starting as a joke) instead to describe this time in a more non-religious way.

For me, this x-mas/ holiday time is generally a very nostalgic and positive time. I spend more time with family, I treat myself more to simple things like baking or lighting a candle and it distracts me from the sad, freezing weather. However, I’ve been talking about the downsides of x-mas with my bestie aka the (x-mas hating) Grinch herself a lot in the last couple of years too. X-mas has become very stressful and materialistic (think gift and food shopping, preparing x-mas dinners, last minute preparations, spending lots of money, etc.) and is at the end of the month almost entirely about gifts. Don’t get me wrong, I like the basic idea of giving a gift. But the x-mas time nowadays is gift-giving on steroids. I personally rather choose not getting a gift than getting a shitty gift I don’t like or don’t know what to do with. I think a lot of people forgot that gift giving doesn’t have to be a mini-travel-size cosmetics set from your local drugstore wrapped in plastic bows and cellophane paper. Gifts should have meaning and show people that you like/ love them. I put together a list of meaningful, budget-friendly gift ideas for different people in your life and hope that I can inspire you to celebrate this time of the year in a more conscious way.

  • to: your partner (boyfriend/ girlfriend/ husband/ wife)

Natural, organic oils by Conatural + massage

Most people spend a little more, if not the most money when getting gifts for their partner. However, when you are at school or haven’t been in the relationship for a long time, you most certainly don’t want to spend a fortune for a gift. This idea is for you! Plus, I think it’s a good add-on for all you fellow longterm relationship people.

Get them one or two natural, organic oils and write a personalised card (handwritten or designed on your laptop) that you are going to spoil them with a massage (or even several if you wan to be partner of the year). It doesn’t have to be “coupon-style” (although my boyfriend loves my handmade coupons for every single thing you can think of lol). You can simply write a nice card and explain why they deserve a relaxing massage from you. Your partner gets a some nice oils for moisturising and an experience all in one. It has meaning, it is personal and it is cheap.

I recommend the Conatural certified organic, cruelty-free and 100% natural oils in sweet almond (£20) and coconut (£14). The sweet almond oil contains Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, proteins, antioxidants, magnesium and calcium. The almond is called ‘miracle nut’ and also ‘the king of nuts’ in Ayurvedic healing. Its oil is a great moisturiser and can make the skin smoother and more hydrated. Additionally, because of its high Vitamin E content, it’s great for hair and nails.They smell good and look nice while being all natural non-toxic for the skin. The coconut oil is a natural saturated fat and is compromised almost entirely of medium-chain fatty acids. Coconut oil is one of the only sources of medium-chain fatty acids, which is what makes it so incredible for skin and hair. Lauric acid, the predominant medium-chain fatty acid found in coconut oil, is known to have antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory benefits. Coconut oil also has phytonutrients and polyphenols, which act as antioxidants. These beneficial properties make coconut oil an incredible moisturiser.

  • to: that humanitarian/ activist/ animal-loving person

Donations

We all have that person in our lives that is sharing articles on the destruction of the rainforest on Facebook daily (basically describing myself lol). That person that went to South America for a year to teach English to children or is a regular visitor of the local animal sanctuary. The saints of the 21st century. Trust me, these people in your life would be so happy if you donate to a charity in their name as a gift. Of course, it would have to be a charity that they care about. It shows that you listen to them and that you care what they do and say.

Donate food directly to an Austrian animal sanctuary here!
(Read more about the animal sanctuary here)

  • to: your grandparents

Time

At the end of the day, we as humans all want to feel connection to people, whether they are friends, lovers or family. We want to feel loved and interact with other people. Generally speaking, grandparents have figured that out more than younger people. That is why they just want to spend time with family and friends. They are done with material goods and know what is really important in life. For your grandparents, I’d recommend visiting them (or more often) during the x-mas time, calling them more often using Skype (my grandparents love Skype because they can see my face) or writing a long handwritten letter to them telling them about your life and how you are. It is very simple but we keep forgetting that this is very powerful.

  • to: your sibling

Conscious zero waste starter kit

Is there a better time to inspire people to live more consciously than during x-mas? What I have noticed through the years is that a lot of people WANT change. They want to use less plastic and want to eat less meat. They just need a little help. I think a handpicked zero waste starter kit with a handmade instruction about each item is a brilliant idea (putting myself on the shoulder here haha). I’d include:

Conatural Organic Activated Charcoal Detox soap bar – packaged beautifully and is all natural and organic (£4) (cruelty free, vegan, natural)
a shampoo bar – explain that they are great for traveling!
a wooden tooth brush
a stainless steel or glass straw
put it all in a cotton tote bag or a cardboard box you got a mail before (upcycling is cool) and tie a bow around it using a piece of fabric ribbon. Get creative! I challenge you not to use plastic packaging.

For more ideas what to include read my cheap & easy things YOU can do for the environment post

  • to: your  parents

Experience gift

It is most likely that your parents already have everything they want and need. For parents you could gift them your presence and time like I recommended for grandparents, you could gift them something that relaxes them (if they are known to work a lot) or give them an experience gift.
This could be:

  1. tickets to concerts, opera, theatre, ballet, comedy shows, etc.
  2. or coupons for skydiving, scuba diving, bungee jumping
  3. or plan a little trip for them (can be made more expensive but also cheap e.g. only buy the train tickets to the next village you both haven’t been to and plan an entire day there without staying overnight)
  • to: colleague/ secret santa

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Homemade food

If you don’t know someone as well as family or close friends and want to gift them something you can always go for homemade baked goods. A lot of you probably already do this or know this from your parents. But simply baking x-mas cookies, making healthy bliss balls or making homemade jam can be a nice thoughtful gift to basically everyone. Be aware of food allergies (either write it on a card if the gift contains allergens like nuts or make sure you know that person isn’t allergic to anything you are using). Bonus points if it is a unique recipe like cookies from your hometown or a sugar free/ gluten free version of something or even things that are rare nowadays like homemade pasta.

I hope I could inspire you to do x-mas differently this year! Definitely let me know in the comments below what you think and if you have any other conscious gift ideas!

Author: liviavanheerde

My name is Livia and I blog about a sustainable, ethical and vegan lifestyle. I live in Vienna and London where I study Environmental ScienceI. I am especially passionate about fair, eco-friendly and vegan fashion and you'll find lots of outfit ideas on this blog and my Instagram page.

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