Top tips for giving the best ethical gifts this Christmas

Ethical shopping can be expensive, complicated and stressful, but it doesn't have to be.
Ethical shopping can be expensive, complicated and stressful, but it doesn't have to be. Photo credit: Getty Images.

Whether you love it or hate it, buying Christmas gifts can be stressful and time-consuming - and it can be even worse if you are trying to buy ethically produced items. 

Trying to find ethical and sustainable gifts your friends and family will love can also be incredibly expensive.

But the good news is that it doesn't have to be! It turns out it's possible to give nice, ethical gifts without going broke. 

Newshub has compiled a list of top tips so you can have a stress-free holiday season. 

Shop local

Buying from shops which make their products here in Aotearoa gives you peace of mind that the people who made them had reasonable working conditions and pay. 

It also helps small business owners, who often struggle to compete with large overseas companies. Shopping locally also generally has a lesser impact on the environment because the item doesn't have to be shipped or flown halfway around the world to get to you. 

Make gifts

Making gifts is a great ethical, sustainable and cheap option. 

Chocolates, candles and soaps are all easy and affordable to make. Plus if you make a big batch, you can sort several people's gifts in one go. Small homemade gifts can be great stocking stuffers and they show the person receiving the gift that you care enough to spend time making something for them. If you want to go the whole hog, Ethical Consumer recommends using fair trade, organic and natural ingredients to really make your creation tick all the boxes. 

Buy experiences

Gifting an experience, instead of an item, creates lifelong memories and has minimal, if no, impact on the environment.

If you're looking for something cheap, Good On You suggests making your loved one a voucher. A voucher for a homemade meal is a cheap and easy way to show someone you care about them, and a day out in the city or a picnic in the park is a great way to show some appreciation for your loved ones. 

If you're willing to spend a bit more money, gifting tickets to a show, or signing your loved one up for a class they have always wanted to try are also great options. 

Homemade gifts can be a great way to show your loved ones that you care about them.
Homemade gifts can be a great way to show your loved ones that you care about them. Photo credit: Getty Images.


This one is pretty self-explanatory, but donating to charity on behalf of someone is one of the most ethical gifts you can buy. Many charities have Christmas packages which range from sponsoring a child to making sure Kiwi kids are fed. Another good thing about gifting a donation is that most charities have several different price options so you can find one that is right for you. Plus it makes the person receiving the gift feel good. 

Use an ethical store guide

Guides like Tearfund's annual ethical ratings can come in handy when shopping for presents. Check the guide and try to only shop at stores that have a good rating. Or take it one step further and seek out stores like Trade Aid which specialise in ethical, fair trade goods - that way you know you can buy anything in the store without having to double-check anything.


This is a slightly more controversial suggestion that needs to be executed carefully, but when done right is a fantastic and ethical Christmas gift.

While some people feel uncomfortable it, regifting is a great way to minimise waste. 

HuffPost says regifting presents is the best course of action when you receive something you don't like, that someone else might. However, regifting doesn't come without its risks, so if you decide to do it, make sure you do it right. 

HuffPost's top tips for regifting are: 

  • Do it soon. Don't regift old, dusty, out of season items that have been in your closet for three years. If you're going to do it make sure it's right away.
  • Regift items to people who don't know each other. This is fairly simple, but in order to regift without hurting anyone's feelings, make sure you regift your item to someone who isn't going to run into the original giver. This last rule is very self-explanatory but if you are going to regift an item, don't use it first.

Now, go forth and enjoy buying, making and creating all the ethical gifts your heart desires.