Spoiling your loved ones while doing some good is easy with eco- and resource-friendly holiday gifts. To make it even easier, we have compiled a quick list of our ten favorite sustainable gift ideas.

People-powered coffee

Stylish kitchen aid: the “Newton” espresso maker.
Photo: Newton Espresso

Most cubicle dwellers dream of waking up in unspoiled nature. But out in the sticks, great coffee can be hard to come by. Enter Newton, an impressive espresso maker powered entirely by your own muscles. The promise: gourmet-quality black gold – miles away from the nearest outlet.

Leverage for getting up: the machine’s simple mechanics.
Photo: Newton Espresso

Just add coffee, hot water, and some downward force. Since Newton is stylish enough to flatter any designer kitchen, we can’t wait to see which target group will first embrace this minimalist gem.

Cosmetics that protect more than your hair and skin

Protecting the rainforest and its indigenous population adds shine to your soul – and the Rahua hair products by sustainable cosmetics label Amazon Beauty add extra gleam to your tresses based on a beauty secret of the local Quechua women.

Skincare straight from the rainforest.
Photo: Rahua by Amazon Beauty

The line’s ingredients are sourced straight from the forest, using 100 percent sustainable growing and harvesting methods. Naturally, the Quechua people also get a fair share in the profits as a token of appreciation for disclosing their tradition.

Make the world your water bed

Water beds are so 1990s, right? They never quite made it into this millennium – and neither did flotation tanks. A shame, really, since bedding down on water is the closest approximation to weightlessness we can experience down here on earth. Now, the Shoal Tent gets us a little bit closer to floating bliss: A cross between an inflatable dinghy and a tent, it makes the nearest lake your next camping ground.

Camping on the lake – with the “Shoal Tent.”
Photo: SmithFly

According to its inventor, US-based designer and fly-fishing supremo Ethan Smith, the Shoal Tent is windproof, waterproof, inflatable, and adventurous. It can double as a convenient base station for almost any watersport, from fishing to stand-up paddling, and makes the perfect gift for outdoorsy types looking for that extra overnight thrill.

Camping 2.0 – the tent acts as a “water bed.”
Photo: SmithFly

Sustainable bling

You can’t really go wrong with a bit of sparkle and bling – especially under the Christmas tree. But where were those dazzling gemstones mined? And what about the local working conditions? British jeweler Cred places great emphasis on fair trade and transparency, supporting ethically correct handling of natural resources, raw materials, and all employees.

So, if you love both that warm golden glow of beautiful jewelry and decent, eco-friendly conditions, check out Cred’s sustainably produced highlights ranging from fair-trade gold from Uganda and Tanzania to premium lab-grown diamonds.

A living air filter for the living room

It’s well-known that plants can clean the air through photosynthesis. Now, the Andrea air filter by French designer Mathieu Lehanneur accelerates this process of turning COand water into oxygen – in the comfort of our own living room.

Just like a miniature greenhouse, Andrea constantly filters the surrounding air through its leaves, roots, and irrigation water, “fueled” by a fan that helps the plants draw more COfrom the air than your average flower pot.


“Andrea” – air filter and miniature green house in one.
Photo: Mathieu Lehanneur

Recycled notes

From scrap paper to designer piece: New Zealand collective The Misprint Co turns waste paper into individual notepads – you can even mail in your own discarded paper. This not only rids you of unwanted garbage, but also saves precious resources. Well, maybe not if you’re based in Europe or the USA, considering the shipping distance, but it’s the idea that counts – one that will hopefully get picked up by many other design-conscious recycling enthusiasts.

Recycled paper notebooks
The Misprint Co makes custom notebooks from recycled paper.
Photo: www.dinosaurtoast.com/about

Versatile indoor vertical garden

A vertical garden in your living room: Pikaplant One.
Photo: Pikaplant

All the way from Amsterdam, Pikaplant have made it their mission to keep your indoor plants happy with minimal fuss and input. Their solution, Pikaplant One, is a vertical shelf garden for your home. Designed to work without regular watering, it’s perfect for anyone still looking for that elusive green thumb.

The shelf relieves you of the task of watering.
Photo: Pikaplant

Super safe fun and games

Toys that appeal to toddlers and parents alike – that’s the idea behind the Californian firm Petit Collage. Great design, fun to play, and sustainability are at the top of their to-do list for every product. Whether coloring book, building bricks, or jigsaw puzzle – all toys by Petit Collage are recyclable and thoroughly eco-friendly.

Well-designed gaming fun by Petit Collage.
Photo: Petit Collage

Your personal sunrise

Around 1.1 billion people on Earth have no proper access to electricity. Internationally renowned artist Olafur Eliasson and solar engineer Frederik Ottesen decided to do something about it – with their ingenious Little Sun, now available as sleek “Diamond” version.

Meaningful art object: “Little Sun Diamond” runs on solar energy.
Photo: Little Sun

This sun-shaped solar lamp brings much-needed light to Sub-Saharan countries and other nations that need it most. To further spread the word (and light), the company also supports start-ups dedicated to protecting the environment or focus on sustainability issues.

The project supports environmental campaigns.
Photo: Little Sun

Experience trumps consumption

The third scarf, a second cell phone, or yet another weighty coffee table book? Anyone ready to swap their usual holiday shopping spree for one-of-a-kind experiences should take a look at Zeit statt Zeug (time, not stuff), an online shop for activities and experiences.

Why not surprise your sprightly folks with a wild forest excursion, your best friend with a seaside getaway, or your consumerist buddy with a handy fix-it-yourself repair class?