Eco-Thursdays: Green Christmas Gift Ideas

With Christmas and other festive celebrations just two weeks away, present shopping is on everyone’s minds. Trying to be eco-conscious at this time of year can be difficult, especially with brands advertising their perfect gifts at every opportunity. Here’s a quick guide to sustainable holiday shopping for this winter!

1. Homemade gifts: arts & crafts

Friends and family always love homemade gifts. You don’t need to be a master at arts and crafts to make a gift that someone will love using materials you can buy at your local stationary shop or online!

Pressed Flowers

Using flowers from your garden, from green spaces near your home, or shop-bought bunches, press and dry them out to be displayed in frames or cases! Have a look at this guide for the step-by-step process and some display ideas.

Homemade Festive Candles

All you need for this is some soy wax, your favourite scent, and some jars and decorations to finish! Melting and adding scents to the wax is an easy process, and wax, wicks, and fragrances are easy to find online. Use this guide to make festive candles for your loved ones this year!

Fabric-Covered Tree Ornaments

Have a go at making these fabric-covered tree decorations. You’ll need some cardboard (or ready-cut cardboard trees andbaubles), some old fabric, and some PVA or hot glue. Have a look at this page for step-by-step guidance on how to make these thoughtful ornaments.


2. Homemade gifts: food & drink

Holidays in the Winter are normally focused on eating and drinking alongside your loved ones, and tasty food and drink can certainly help us get through January and February.

Sloe Gin

Infuse regular supermarket gin with sloes – found in green spaces around the UK, back gardens, and online. Have a look at this BBC recipe to get started. You’ll need some small bottles to decant into to give out as gifts.

Christmas biscuits

There are many different types of Christmas biscuit you could make for your family and friends, including gingerbread and shortbread. Have a look at the recipes linked there. If you want to get creative with your kids, consider mixing some icing sugar with a little water and food colouring to decorate sugar biscuits in Christmassy colours too!

Mulled Wine

Making homemade mulled wine is easier than you’d think, and can be gifted to others in bottles, or as a spice pack and a bottle of wine to put together themselves. Have a look at this recipe for mulled spices and this one for giftable mulled wine.

Chilli oil

Making homemade chilli oil is easier than you’d expect. All you need are some dried chillis (shop-bought or oven dried at home), some oil, and a bit of time to let it infuse! It can be a great way to keep loved ones warm in the coldest months of the year.


Have a look out for next week’s post with ideas on sponsorships, zero waste gifts, and sustainable shopping sites!



James is the Chief Executive officer of Ormiston Trust. He has worked as an organisation advisor in the private, public and voluntary sectors, helping organisations to grow sustainably over the medium to long term. He has helped charities for over 20 years in the fields of strategic development, partnership setup, programme and project delivery.

Poppy is the Youth Engagement and Partnership Officer at Ormiston Trust, responsible for coordinating our team of Young Advisors and developing effective working relationships with external organisations. She is currently studying ‘Politics, International Studies and Global Sustainable Development’ at Warwick University and previously worked as Board Advisor for a non-profit youth-focused organisation in Croydon. She has experience in activism work – attending COP26 with environmental education company Force of Nature and had been a member of the UK Youth Parliament for many years, speaking on environmental issues in the House of Commons for its ‘Make Your Mark’ campaign.

Tom heads up Comms and Youth Engagement here at Ormiston Trust. His role focuses mainly on helping run the Youth Advisory Council, as well as heading up our social media accounts and planning events. His creative roots lie in journalism, music and theatre as well as horticulture and creative producing, having been involved in a variety of workshops and projects. Tom is passionate about the environment and politics and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Birmingham in International Relations.

Fiona is the Grants Assistant at Ormiston Trust and in her role she supports the Grants team. Previously, she worked in the City for 10 years, firstly as a dealer on the floor of the London Stock Exchange and then as an equity salestrader.  

Samia is a business and ICT Teacher with over 20 years of leadership experience in Education, working with leaders from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 5. Her experience has ranged from working as an Acting Head Teacher to a Deputy for an Education Trust. Some of the key highlights from her education career have included building schools and setting up education provisions, including a teaching school, and winning several National awards. Samia is passionate about ensuring the young people in her care have the best possible experience and has always led by example by sending her own children to the schools she has been a part of.

Ray leads the youth engagement, partnerships and fundraising work streams at Ormiston Trust, in particular having strategic oversight of how we as an organisation can embed the voices of our young people in everything we do, and how we can work with partner organisations to maximise shared outcomes and opportunities.

His background is in community project development and funding, having worked with charities, schools, and local authorities in East Anglia to develop a plethora of projects including primary-secondary school transition, award-winning youth amateur theatre, social prescribing in rural GP practices, and youth commissioning boards, for which he was recognised as a Prime Minister’s Point of Light.

Ray is a global health and medicine graduate, alongside his work at Ormiston, he is a hospital doctor and public health academic. He is also an #iWill Ambassador and national #iWill Partnership Board member.

Anne is Finance Manager at Ormiston Trust and has worked for Ormiston Trust for over 30 years, overseeing the property portfolio and asset management. She combines her work at the Trust with voluntary community work and has raised thousands of pounds to enhance leisure and education opportunities for young people in disadvantaged communities. 

Karlene is Finance Manager at Ormiston Trust and has been handling the Financial Management of Ormiston Trust since 2014. Her background is in Financial Services with 20 years working in the industry and she has a passion for systems, processes and spreadsheets to enable good finance management. 

Aneela is the Head of Education at Ormiston Trust. Prior to joining Ormiston Trust, she was Head of Professional Development and School Improvement at Beaconhouse Group, overseeing the professional development of over 8000 teachers and implementing systems for school improvement across 200 international schools, in the Southeast region. Prior to this, she worked at Universities in the UAE, where she taught on the Bachelor of Education and Diploma programmes, and previous to this she was a Lead Advisor for Nord Anglia Education services, working with head teachers and principals to raise educational standards across schools in Abu Dhabi.

Melissa is a Programme Management Officer at Ormiston Trust. In her role she supports the #WeWill programme management, and works closely with the monitoring & evaluation, social action toolkit & skills, and youth engagement teams. She completed her undergraduate degree in International Development at the University of Sussex, and her postgraduate degree in Global Health and Development at UCL. Over the last eight years, she has dedicated much of her time to working with non-profit organisations in the UK, Nigeria, China, and Tanzania.