12 (easy) sustainable gift ideas

Tis the season to be jolly etc etc etc. I was going to not post this, because I didn’t really want to add to the spam of holidays gift ideas, but so many people messaged me and asked if I could post it anyway. So, I am! It was a little incomplete but managed to finish the blog post off. This list is a combination of DIY gifts and brands that I just love.

But this first blog post, contains gifts you can make and make EASILY!

Ultimately, my gift guide will  fall under 3 categories: bake something, make something and buy something.

But

first!

Make Something

1. Homemade body butter
2. Homemade solid perfume
3. Homemade tinted (and non-tinted) lip balm (vegan)
4. Homemade sea salt and brown sugar scrub
5. Homemade sea salt and lavender room air-fresher

1. Body Butter

Steps:
> equal parts coconut oil, shea butter and coco butter
> melt over a double boiler
> set aside in the fridge until it becomes solid (but not too hard)
> with an electric beater beat mixture until fluffy
> scoop into jar
> you can add essential oils if you like, but you honestly don’t need too! It already smells lovely!

2. Solid Perfume

> 1 heaped tbsp of shea butter
> 1 heaped tbsp of coco butter
> 1 tbsp of melted coconut oil
> 1 teaspoon of candelilla wax
> essential oils (about 5 drops)

Steps:
> melt over a double boiler and add about 5 drops of essential oils! (I use lavendar and thyme, it’s a really lovely combination)
> let it set
> once it’s set, you can use it to rub on your wrists and neck

3. Homemade tinted & non-tinted lip balm (vegan)

>1 heaped tbsp of shea butter
> 1 heaped tbsp of coco butter
> 1 tbsp of melted coconut oil
> 1 teaspoon of candelilla wax
> 1 teaspoon of beetroot powder

Steps:
> melt over a double boiler and add beetroot powder
> left for a few minutes so that the oil absorbs some of the beetroot colour
> mix and left the sentiment fall to the bottom
> pour into jar (be careful and don’t pour in the sentiment)
> let set

4. Homemade salt and brown sugar scrub

> 1 tablespoon of pink clay (optional or any facial clay will do)
> 1/2 cup of brown sugar
> 1/2 cup of medium sea salt
> 2 tablespoons of jojoba oil

Steps:
> mix together (you might find you need a little more oil, I wouldn’t go crazy with it, at most another tablespoon)
> pour into jar

To use face scrub:
> dampen face
> take about a teaspoon of facial scrub
> add a couple drops of water
> very gently apply to face
> wash off

5. Homemade sea salt and lavender room air-fresher

> boiled water (250 ml)
> 1 tablespoon of sea salt
> 5 drops of lavender essential oil
> 5 drops of thyme essential oil

Steps:
> mix
> shake before each use!

Bake Something

6. Short bread cookies (vegan & non-vegan)
7. Very fudgy brownies (vegan & non-vegan)
8. Chocolates
9. Gingerbread men (vegan & non-vegan)

6. Short bread cookies (vegan & non-vegan)

The recipe (makes about 12):
> 1 cup of flour
> 1/2 cup of white sugar
> 1/2 of lightly salted soften margarine (can sub for vegan butter or regular butter)
> 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
> white chocolate (for vegan white chocolate I use Vego)
> matcha powder (or green food colouring)
> melted coconut oil

Steps:


> Mix flour and sugar
> add 1/2 cup of margarine
> add vanilla essence
> mix together with hands. First it’ll look like breadcrumbs and eventually it’ll mix into dough. It shouldn’t be too sticky or dry. If super sticky as more flour. If too dry add a little more margarine
> flour surface and flatten dough with hands
> cut into pieces
> sprinkle sugar on top (optional)
> bake in oven for around 20-30 mins at 180 degree celsius
> leave to cool for 30 mins

I also like coating the cookies with some white chocolate. Ultimately over a double boiler:

> melt chocolate
> add a tablespoon of melted coconut oil

I add the coconut oil to make the chocolate runnier and it’s easier to apply the frosting on top of the cookies.

If you have Christmas tree cookie cutters, you can add a little bit of matcha powder into the mixture! If you’re not a fan of matcha, you can just use white chocolate by itself

7. Brownies (non-vegan)

*Vegan brownies below this recipe!

These non-vegan brownies are a crowd favourite. They are kinda what I’m known for and every time I make them people are always coming back for seconds and thirds. These are super indulgent, fudgy and not too sweet!

Ingredients:

> 250 grams of unsalted butter
> 200 grams of chocolate (half dark chocolate, half milk chocolate – I’ve found “Old Gold” chocolate gives the best brownie results)
> 1 1/3 cup of brown sugar (can use white)
> 3/4 cup of plain flour
> 3/4 cup of coco powder (cacao powder will also work)
> 3 eggs
> pinch of salt

Steps:
> pre-heat oven 180 degrees celsius (about 356 F)
> melt chocolate and butter over a double boiler, until mixed together
> add pinch of salt to melted chocolate and butter mixture
> whisk eggs and sugar until combined and a little fluffy
> add coco powder and mix with eggs and sugar mixture
> then pour chocolate and butter mixture
> fold in until combined
> sift flour
> fold in flour until combined
> pour into tray (you can either oil the tray or line it with baking paper)
> place into oven – for me this takes about 20-30 mins but ultimately you want to bake until the top is set, but right the centre it should still be a little jiggly
> set a side to cool
> then cut to desired size!

Brownies (vegan)

These brownies are like my “famous” brownies but vegan! I like to make this for myself. (I’m not vegan, but I eat mostly plant-based). I haven’t yet made this for my friends and family, mostly because everyone loves the recipe above! So, I don’t have the heart to make the bait and switch!

Ingredients:

> 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil
> 1/4 cup of vegan butter (can use margarine)
> 200 grams of chocolate (or one bar of Loving Earth dark chocolate or any vegan dark chocolate)
> 1 cup of brown sugar
> 1/3 cup of white sugar (optional – this is if you want it a little sweeter)
> 3/4 of a cup of apple sauce
> 3/4 of a cup of plain flour
> 3/4 of a cup of coco powder (cacao powder will also work)
> pinch of salt

Steps:


> pre-heat oven 180 degrees celsius (about 356 F)
> melt chocolate, coconut oil and vegan butter over a double boiler, until mixed together
> add pinch of salt to melted mixture
> apple sauce and sugar until combined
> add coco powder and apple sauce and sugar mixture
> then pour in melted chocolate mixture
> fold in until combined
> sift flour
> fold in flour until combined
> pour into tray (you can either oil the tray or line it with baking paper)
> place into oven – for me this takes about 20-30 mins but ultimately you want to bake until the top is set – no jiggly centre like the non-vegan one!
> set a side to cool
> place in fridge for a couple of hours
> then cut to desired size!

8. Chocolates(vegan & non-vegan)

Making your own chocolate can be heaps of fun and if you have any silicone moulds at home, they can also make your gift a little bit unique. You can even use the silicone moulds if you make your own gummies. I think little chocolate bears are so cute!

The image (below) and recipe is from The Minimalist Baker. You can find the recipe here. It’s a pretty standard chocolate recipe that contains no dairy! My tip? If you plan on making the chocolate cups, add a teaspoon of peanut butter in the centre before refrigerating. It’ll be like a little fancy Reece’s Pieces. I make these all the time! And it’s delicious

Easy Homemade Vegan Chocolates stacked tall in a bowl

9. Gingerbread cookies (vegan & non-vegan)

I’m not the biggest fan of gingerbread cookies, and I tried out a few different ones before I settled on the one that I like. It’s a bit of a bastardised version of gingerbread cookies!

Ingredients:

> 1/2 cup of (unsalted) margarine (can use butter)
> 1 1/2 cups of white flour
> 1/2 cup of brown sugar
> 1/4 of a cup of apple sauce (can use 1 large egg)
> 1 teaspoon of grounded cinnamon
> 2 teaspoons of grounded ginger
> 1 teaspoon of allspice
> 1 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses
> 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
> pinch of salt

Steps:

> add all dry ingredients together, mix
> ensure margarine (or butter) is soften, not melted
> add margarine, vanilla essence and apple sauce
> with you hands combine ingredients together, until it forms a dough
> roll out dough and cut into desired size! I used tiny little gingerbread man and angels!
> bake in oven (for me this takes about 20 mins at 180 degrees celsius, I tend to go by look and feel. The centre should still be a little soft, but the limbs should be a little harder! Don’t over-bake these, it’ll be quite hard)
> just like the shortbread cookies, I like to use a white chocolate frosting!

Buy Something

I’m not against consumerism, and heck, I still sometimes fall into mindless consumption. But these “Buy Something” gift recommendations aren’t so mindless and I honestly love them. I use them every single day and I think a love one will also love them as well!

10. Charlie Feist – Backpack

The whole collection at Charlie Feist is made from recycled plastic bottles! I’ve had my backpack for about a year and a half now, and it’s still looking good as new. AND I use my backpack everyday for work and carry a crap tonne of food in it! The quality is great and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Currently, Charlie Feist are having a sale! Be sure to check them out here:
https://charliefeist.com/

11. Crema Joe reusable coffee pod

If your love ones have a coffee pod machine, there is actually a sustainable option! I’ve had these reusable coffee pods from Crema Joe for 6 months now and I love them!

I also gave one to my sister and she loves them! These come in two different sizes and are compatible with Nespresso, Aldi and DOLCE GUSTO

With your first order you can also get 10% off!

12. Elephant Box

If you follow my Instagram, you’ve probably seen this lunch box a million times. It’s my favourite go-to tin. It’s that perfect size where almost any takeout food will fit! It’s also oven-proof! But obviously, please don’t put this in the microwave!

Out of all the other tins that I own these are the best in terms of quality. And I use this the most. You could buy this as a gift and make some baked goods and give it as a gift!

I reached out to Elephant Box and asked if I could have a discount code for you to use. And they gave me one! This isn’t an affiliate code, it’s just a code for you. The code expires December 31st.

Code is: simple10

Please note this gift guide is NOT sponsored. And I’m not affiliated with the mentioned brands!

I hope you enjoyed this gift guide! And stay safe over the holidays