5 Ethical Gifts to Help You Shop Compassionately This Christmas

From handmade crafts to gift experiences, discover present ideas with a conscience.

Ethical gifts

Ethical Christmas gift ideas

Nothing highlights the amount of material blessing we have in the UK quite like Christmas. But it can also highlight the amount of excess in our lives. Instead of enjoying the abundance of Jesus, the Greatest Gift of all, we can sometimes feel like we’re drowning in stuff.

The sad truth is that some of this stuff has a direct exploitative impact on people and the world. This Christmas, let's consider how we can practice consumption habits that don’t exploit people and degrade God’s creation—both of which push people deeper into poverty.

As the Christmas shopping season gets into full swing, we're sharing our top ethical gift ideas to help you shop compassionately.

1. Charity donation gifts

We create a lot of waste by buying things for ourselves and for others that ultimately won’t be used or treasured long-term. 

This Christmas, could you prayerfully consider, Is God calling me to buy less and waste less this Christmas? Although physical gifts are a beautiful way of communicating our love for others, Jesus once said, “Life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:15). How can we communicate our deep love without buying into the myth that happiness lies in the abundance of possessions? Charity donation gifts are a great solution to this.

Ethical gift idea: If you’re stuck for present ideas for that friend or relative who simply seems to have everything, you can donate to Compassion’s Christmas Appeal in their honour. Instead of giving more stuff that'll end up collecting dust, give a loved one the joy of knowing they have blessed children in poverty with a treasured Christmas celebration and a hand-chosen gift.

Uganda Christmas tradition

A loving gift will mean the world to a child living in poverty who wouldn’t normally receive a present. 

Thai girl with blanket

Here Beauty from Thailand, treasures the blanket she received thanks to Compassion's Christmas Appeal.  When you donate, on the thank you page, you can download, print and personalise a gift certificate for your loved one.

2. Handmade gifts

Get creative and craft some ethical Christmas presents! Try your hand at some art, baking, knitting or perhaps some carpentry. In today’s fast-paced world, handmade gifts not only minimize your consumer impact, but they also produce some of the most meaningful gifts!

free knitting patterns for tiny babies

Ethical gift ideas: Check out these delicious recipes for latte chocolate cake and lemon drench cake and get busy baking. Or why not get crafty with these baby knitting patterns.

3. Experience gifts

Why not consider organising an experience gift. Think through experiences you can share with your loved ones to deepen your relationships and create lasting memories.

Ethical gift ideas: Try things like seeing a new artist or band, a day at a local attraction or a special meal together. Again, in today’s fast-paced world, the gift of intentional time together is another meaningful way to show your love!

4. Plants and recycled gifts

In the UK, an incredible 52.3 million tonnes of waste is sent to landfill every year. It's therefore unsurprising that people are becoming more socially conscious about what they buy. You can do your bit for the environment by purchasing Christmas presents without unnecessary plastic packaging, buying more recycled products or giving an actual plant!

Ethical gift ideas: Giving a plant is a creative and sustainable gift idea. Friends and family members can plant your gift and watch it grow over time. That way, a little part of you will always be in your gift recipient’s house or garden.

You could also buy fairtrade recycled gifts. Many of these items are one-offs, created by skilled tradespeople and make ideal gifts. 

5. Time and hospitality

When it really comes down to it, ethical gift shopping is about our posture. What would it look like for the posture of radical generosity to permeate every aspect of your Christmas celebrations?

Christmas traditions in Brazil

Christmas is about celebrating God’s profound generosity to us, remember that He gave us Christ, the Greatest Gift of all. As we’ve freely received, Jesus tells us to freely give (Matthew 10:8).

Ethical gift idea: Could a radically generous celebration be the gift you give this Christmas? Open your home and your celebrations to those who might be alone. Volunteer together as a family. Give your time and open your home freely and generously. 


A version of this blog was originally published by our friends at Compassion Canada

WORDS : Becca Stanley, Alyssa Esparaz

PHOTOS : Compassion International



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