This holiday season, give your gifts a purposeful twist so you can contribute to positive change all while making your loved ones happy. From circular speakers that champion traditional ways of making to magazines filled with the best in climate journalism, we’ve curated a gift guide for the conscious creatives in your life — thoughtful gifting that aligns with environmental and social responsibility.
In a world that feels messier and more complex than ever, it can be hard to believe that the everyday choices we make still matter. But they do — if enough of us make them — and we hope you’ll join us in supporting some of our favourite changemakers and projects this end-of-year.
Packbags are modular bags that can be easily repaired, replaced and recycled. Every bag is designed and produced in the company’s workshop in Amsterdam, where they work with highly-skilled craftspeople with a refugee background. This project is a nominee of this year’s Make it Circular Challenge.
Pocketwear by Secrid x Sheltersuit Foundation
Crafted locally with quality materials and designed for durability, Secrid wallets not only protect your cards but also stand for responsible consumption and production. They recently collaborated with Sheltersuit Foundation, a previous Challenge winner, on a new edition that donates to the charity. Sheltersuit makes wind and waterproof jackets with an optional sleeping bag attachment to support people experiencing homelessness. Every Sheltersuit is unique as the jacket is made from high-quality, breathable tent-fabric and upcycled materials.
CHILDREN’S BOOKS BY PALESTINIAN AUTHORS
The oppression of Palestinians is a global and ongoing crisis, and one that is rooted in systemic racism. This collection of children’s books by The Conscious Kid centres and uplifts Palestinian voices and stories, which are often erased or suppressed. In their words: “Through the power of storytelling, we invite young readers and their families to dispel stereotypes, foster empathy and challenge racism, Islamophobia and dehumanisation.”
The Lucky Cup
Every day, people worldwide consume around 2.8 billion cups of coffee — adding up to millions of kilograms of wasted coffee grounds. The Lucky Cup is here to break the chain and close the loop. Enjoy your favourite brew sustainably with their line of reusable cups made using recycled coffee grounds. This project was a nominee of this year’s Make it Circular Challenge.
Ungifted Secret Santa
In a season rife with overconsumption, participate in an alternative gift-giving experience with Ungifted Secret Santa. Choose from a variety of experiences and donations that support social justice causes, ensuring that your gift brings joy to the recipient without the need to buy anything new.
Subscription to Positive News
Give the gift of optimism with a subscription to Positive News, the publication focusing on uplifting stories, environmental solutions and social progress. It’s the perfect present for those who want to start the year with an optimistic perspective on the world.
Love fashion but not its impact on people and the planet? Explore the Alterist Marketplace for a range of on-trend garments that also work to actively reduce textile waste. Each purchase supports an upcycling designer from around the UK and Europe. This project is a winner of this year’s Make it Circular Challenge.
Support the parents in your life with eco-friendly and stylish Sumo Diapers, prioritising both comfort for babies and a reduced environmental impact. A perfect gift for anyone looking to ditch disposable design. This project is a previous nominee of our No Waste Challenge.
Subscription to It’s Freezing in LA!
For the environmentalist, It’s Freezing in LA! offers a subscription service for their independent magazine, a critically acclaimed platform for climate writing and images. They cover complex and fascinating new topics and make them accessible, engaging and exciting.
Treat the music-lovers on your list with Mapu Speakers. These speakers reunite traditional crafts and technology through heritage-led-innovation, crafted with a focus on sustainable materials and design, providing high-quality sound while minimising environmental impact. This project was a winner of our No Waste Challenge.
Looking for something a little more unusual? Think outside the box with Piss Soap: an ‘ecodeviant’ and regenerative soap entirely made out of human wastes. The raw materials (used cooking oil, wood ashes and human urine) are found in snack bars, public spaces, toilets, and are usually discarded. If you’re in Amsterdam and want to participate in the project, you can join one of Piss Soap’s upcoming workshops, or drop a donation at their studio in return for your very own bar of waste-based magic.
What Design Can Do Books
Last but not least, get your dose of inspiration with one of What Design Can Do’s yellow books. Our publications showcase innovative design solutions to pressing global issues, promoting a vision of design as a force for positive environmental and social transformation.
Top image: Secrid x Sheltersuit Foundation collection, It’s Freezing in LA! magazines, and Piss Soap by Arthur Guilleminot.