Christmas is a time for giving, so why not give to your loved ones while also giving back? Here are suggestions for gifts with an ethical touch; presents which are good for the community and the environment, but are also objectively pretty cool. (This list mainly features Kiwi organisations, but there are many others around the world doing great things for society. Go seek them out!)

1. Anything from TradeAid

Okay, so this isn’t a specific gift, but TradeAid is the essential place to go if you’re looking for ethical products. They stock hundreds of items from food to homeware to children’s toys, all made by people who receive fair pay. Grab some famous TradeAid chocolate, or if you’re buying for someone with cultured tastes, browse their handcrafted decorating items made in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Palestine and the Pacific, for something with a more exotic feel.

2. A Funky Bag from DefenderBags

A company run by Spinning Top, which provides vulnerable children in Southeast Asia with shelter, nutrition and an education, DefenderBags makes eco-friendly tote, laptop and book bags from discarded vinyl billboards. That means they decrease the amount of vinyl in our landfills while giving us an alternative to plastic bags — and donate profits to help a child live a better life! Their tote bags are perfect for an avid shopper, while their vintage-look prints will satisfy anyone with a hipster edge.

3. A Natural Beauty Bar from Ethique

Its name is French for “ethical”, and Ethique lives up to that by selling shampoos, moisturisers and body wash that are natural, cruelty-free, and wrapped in colourful biodegradable packaging. Plus, each bar lasts 2-5 times longer than bottled beauty products! Scoop one up for someone to enjoy the long-lasting goodness.

4. A Handy Cup from KeepCup
Should you be enabling your friend’s caffeine addiction? Probably not. But a reusable cup from
KeepCup could be the ideal gift since they’re “made to last” and the site allows you to design
your own for that personalised touch. Created to discourage people from using disposable cups,
they’re a useful present for someone on the go — and the person you’re giving to will love you
for getting them those BYO cup discounts.

5. An adorable calendar from the SPCA

If you know someone who’s hard to buy for, get them a 2019 calendar (everyone needs one!) Better yet, get them a calendar from the SPCA, which is filled with heartwarming photos of pets from all over New Zealand. Your purchase will mean you’re donating to the SPCA’s important work rescuing animals in trouble.

6. A Statement Shirt from Nope Sisters
Nope Sisters make “dope stuff for a good cause”, supporting charities such as the Breast Cancer Foundation NZ, Sexual Abuse Prevention Network and YouthLine. Its shirts and hoodies are ethically created around the world, featuring simple designs that send a bold message. Available in all sizes and unisex styles, Nope Sisters clothes are a good option across the board.

7. A Fragrant Candle from Ecoya

Who doesn’t want their room to smell amazing? Ecoya candles are soy-based with 100% cotton wicks. Not only that, they use pesticide-free waxes that are biodegradable and release fewer carbon emissions than paraffin candles. Whether you select “Summer Cherries & Peach” or “Spiced Ginger & Musk”, you’ll be giving the luxurious gift of scent.

8. Stylish Shoes from Collective Canvas

Summer’s a time to show off your footwear, and that doesn’t just mean jandals. Collective Canvas sells sneakers and slip-ons created from natural materials. They also ensure that the makers of the shoes work in fair conditions. On top of that, the shoes themselves come in timeless designs sure to appeal to everyone.

9. Beautiful Makeup from Oh Natural

Mainstream makeup brands can be unethical in a lot of ways, from testing on animals to using toxic ingredients. Oh Natural sell health and beauty essentials that don’t involve either. They showcase products that are organic, non-animal tested and waste-free, and sponsor organisations like World Vision. Get someone some lipstick, nail polish or perfume so that they can look their best on New Year’s Eve.

10. A Great Gift Voucher from Crushes

Crushes describes itself as “a concept store that celebrates conscious consumerism by selling quality wearable vintage clothing alongside functional lifestyle goods from New Zealand makers and designers.” A gift voucher gives the lucky recipient access to Crushes’ diverse, affordable and environmentally friendly stock. That way, they can buy a unique item while supporting a socially-conscious Kiwi business.

When it comes to doing your bit for the world, every little action helps. And if you’ve already bought all your gifts, you can still buy a delicious gourmet Christmas lunch from Eat My Lunch and feed hungry Kiwi kids in the process. It’s win-win!


ANUJA MITRA is a Law/Arts student trying to fit creative endeavours into her never-ending degree. Full time nerd and avocado enthusiast. She is probably currently ranting about something, re-organising her bookshelves or petting her multiple cats.