Eco Christmas Gift Guide Part I


Adopt a beehive - a sweet and original gift that will help our pollen collecting friends.

From raw mulberry silk pillowcases to beehive adoption, Hazel Sillver suggest some unique green presents for loved ones that don’t cost the earth ...

Gifts for nature lovers

*Armchair beekeeping, £30

Adopt a beehive for your nearest and dearest, so that they can help our endangered honeybees without getting their hands sticky! As well as seasonal updates from the hive, the lucky recipient will receive a welcome pack full of honeyed goodies. 

*Camellia × vernalis 'Yuletide', from £9.99

This evergreen shrub produces stunning scarlet flowers in mid-winter. It will eventually reach 2-3m in the ground or 1.5m in a pot; it prefers slightly acidic soil in sun. Buy from Duchy of Cornwall (who do mail order) for £9.99 for a 2-litre pot or the Wisley Plant Centre in Surrey (who don’t do mail order) for £25 for 3-litre pot. 

Gifts for fitness freaks

*EcoYoga Jute Yoga Mat, from £42

This is a lovely gift for yoga practitioners. Having tried several eco-sound yoga mats, EcoYoga’s 4mm Jute is easily my favourite. As well as being environmentally sound (it is encased in 100% natural rubber and made in the UK), it is available in attractive colours (cream, lavender, green, coral and grey), grips well and feels really nice to stand on. 

*Britain’s Highest Mountain Walks (Collins), £20

Mountaineer Jeremy Ashcroft has gathered together 170 of his favourite routes up Britain’s biggest peaks, including Cairn Toul, Helvellyn, Tryfan and Snowdon. This is a book for beginners and experienced mountain goats looking for new routes up old favourites. 

Gifts for sybarites

*Dr Hauschka Bath Essence, £16

The new range of bath milks from much-loved eco brand Dr Hauschka is heaven!  Choose from calming Moor Lavender, luxurious Almond, invigorating Spruce and feminine Rose. If you don’t want to spend so much, go for the Celtic Herbal Bath Oil (£9.76) instead. 

*Eco silk pillowcases, £38

Treat someone special to the luxury of a silk pillowcase. The Dublin-based Ethical Silk Company use animal-friendly raw mulberry silk so that no silkworms are harmed or killed. Compared to regular silk, it is softer, but not as shiny. 


*ECO Living (Braun), £69.95

This enormous new book by Chris van Uffelen is pornography for anyone who loves contemporary eco architecture. It features 440 pages of beautifully photographed houses and flats all over the world, each built on eco principles. 

*Rock the Shack, £35

A great gift for anyone who fancies building their own eco bolt-hole. This gorgeous book features 240 pages of modern hideaways, including beach shacks, wood huts, tree houses and mountain cabins. Edited by S. Ehmann and published earlier this year. 

Gifts for foodies

*On Vegetables cookbook by Elizabeth David, £20

Legendary cookery writer Elizabeth David changed the way we cook, inspired by the working class dishes of the countries she lived in, especially France and Italy. Now for the first time her vegetable recipes have been published in one lovely book. This is an essential for any vegetarian foodie! 

*Delicious organic chocolate, from £3.00

Scottish company The Chocolate Tree creates chocs by hand, using local, organic and fairtrade ingredients where possible. Choose from certified organic chocolate bars, chocolate-ginger Buddhas, absinthe chocolate or their hazelnut spread (which is best eaten straight from the jar with a spoon by the way). 

Gifts for lovers

*Lacy knickers, from £12.50

Who Made Your Pants use unwanted fabric to produce gorgeous lace knickers in the UK. If you can’t decide what to buy, you could treat your missus to the Year of Pants gift (£21.50 pcm), which means she will be sent a new pair of pants each month!  

*Sensual jasmine bath & body products, from £14

The starry white blooms of the jasmine plant are associated with lovers. Come twilight they release an intense sweet scent that has been used as an aphrodisiac for centuries. Neal’s Yard Remedies sell various products that contain jasmine essential oil, including Sensual Jasmine Shower Gel (£14) and Sensual Jasmine Body Oil (£19.50). 

Gifts for fashionistas

*Fairtrade jumpers & scarves, from £49

Bibico sell fairly traded women’s clothing made from natural fibres. Choose from woolly pullies, such as the High Sea Aran Jumper, £79, cardis, such as the chunky Russian, £85, and scarves and snoods, such as the Lacy Mohair Snood, £59. 

*Upcycled Materials bible, £22.50

 ReFashioned: Cutting Edge Clothing from Upcycled Materials’ is a fabulous new book written by Sass Brown. It features 46 international designers who work with recycled material and discarded garments. The book is packed with info and fabulous images – a bible for all eco fashion lovers.

Hazel Sillver is a freelance journalist and a contributor to the Ecologist Green Living section; email:

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