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As the run-up to Christmas begins, here at Not In The Guidebooks, we’ve been considering ways to gift sustainably and responsibly, rather than spend another December contributing to the huge increase in waste we produce.

As much as it’s a time of year to indulge and enjoy, when considering what to buy and what to ask for this year, it’s well worth putting a little thought into how another iPhone or the newest PS5 will impact the environment.

Many Christmas gifts, like the products of those tech giants mentioned above, are produced with a detrimental effect to the planet. With so many presents being used briefly and then chucked in the bin, waste levels around the world rise by 25%-30%.

So, here are our four best sustainable Christmas gift ideas, to give you some inspiration on how you can treat your friends and family this year in a responsible, environmentally friendly way.

1. Head to Local Christmas Markets or Fairs

christmas market in krakow

Buying from your nearest market is one of the easiest and most efficient ways of turning your Christmas gift from a fossil fuel-guzzling gift into a locally produced, environmentally friendly present.

Not only can you enjoy everything that comes with a Christmas market, i.e. amazing food, but you can rest easy knowing there are hundreds of unique gifts that have been crafted, grown, knitted, or produced, nearby.

The benefits? Rather than buying a gift that has been manufactured in a far off country and flown to the UK for distribution, most market stalls make their products themselves, cutting down massively on the carbon footprint of their stock.

You’ll also be supporting local artisans and business people, rather than putting more money in the pocket of an Amazon, Apple or other massive multinationals.

2. Send Personalised Food Hampers

You’ve got two choices here, and the one you go with depends on how much effort you want to put into a gift that will be genuinely welcomed and enjoyed, and can help out local businesses.

You might find that your local cafes, delis, or cheese shops are actually already offering Christmas hampers, and these always prove to be great Christmas gifts.

If you can’t find anything nearby, however, then find yourself a basket, stuff it with wine, chocolate, some great cheese and any other Christmassy treats you can think of, and you’ve got yourself a personal gift of tasty treats anyone is sure to love.

Not only that but if you shop carefully and buy from your local independently run shops, then you’ll be helping small local businesses which, after a tough year in 2020, really deserve a little love.

Christmas Gift Ideas

Not In The Guidebooks Gift Voucher

View Experience

Searching For The Northern Lights

Finland, Lapland

View Experience

3. Gift Vouchers with a Twist

It’s true that most gift vouchers just provide people with a card that they’ll use to buy something physical, contributing to the cycle of consumerism that we are trying to help you break out of with this very article.

But as well as shops and online stores, there are now many businesses offering vouchers you can buy for a loved one, that doesn’t mean they then have to go out and buy a physical product.

Restaurant vouchers are a great way of treating someone to a Christmas gift of a meal out, or alternatively, help someone look forward to an incredible, unique experience after a year of travel frustrations and cancellations, with a Not In The Guidebooks Christmas Voucher.

Our Christmas gift vouchers range from stunning Northern Lights Retreats in the wilderness of Lapland, to sea cave kayaking adventures off the coast of Ireland or bike tours along hidden trails around Edinburgh, so whatever your interests, there’s a Not In The Guidebooks experience ready and waiting to make the perfect sustainable gift this Christmas.

viewing platform for northern lights

Obviously, there’s no waste when you go on an experience, and when you book with NITGB, you can be sure that your money is being spent with small, local businesses and hosts.

We also only provide responsible experiences, no big bus tours and no riding on elephants with us, so you can be sure that the experience you go on will only benefit the local area you visit.

For more on how our Not In The Guidebooks experiences help to protect the environment, take a look at this blog.

It’s been a frustrating year for travellers everywhere, with bucket list plans and even short breaks cancelled or postponed indefinitely, so for anyone with a love of travel, a Not In The Guidebooks gift voucher that can be used at any time is a great way of helping people get excited for 2021, all whilst gifting sustainably at Christmas.

4. Memberships to Things They Love

Our final tip for sustainable Christmas gift ideas tops the standard scented candle or inevitably shelved book that’ll collect dust for a year.

And the options are endless, which means no matter what the interests of the recipient, you’ll be able to find something they’ll love. Whether it’s a membership for a museum or gallery for those culture vultures or independent memberships that offer the users discounts at independent restaurants, shops or cafes, you can gift sustainably and encourage loved ones to spend money with local businesses.

With a bit of research, you’ll be able to find the perfect membership that will inspire your friends or family members to go out and enjoy doing the things they love again.


Reducing our carbon footprint whilst supporting small, independent businesses is more important than ever as we head towards 2021, so instead of buying more clutter for the cupboards and contributing to the annual pile-up of waste, why not consider one of our sustainable gift ideas this Christmas?

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