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Slow Living Tips

A Sustainable Christmas Gift Guide 2022

Caring about the planet and finding the perfect sustainable Christmas gifts for your faves often feels like an unreachable goal. Especially in the face of rampant consumerism and the buy-buy-buy mindset encouraged by the silly season machine.

But leaning into the spirit of giving is where you’ll find the real magic, and there’s no reason you can’t make intentional traditions of your own.

From sustainably and ethically made decor and homewares to considered crafts and products made for building mindful rituals, here are 19 goodies to help you give a dose of conscious Christmas cheer.

A Touch Of Greenery

Made on Wurundjeri Land from 30 recycled bottle caps, these Plant Bobby Pins ($45) are the answer to floppy, droppy houseplant woes. In a range of poppy colours, each sculptural trellis is individually made by hand (using a special mould) in small batches in Melbourne, and it’s perfecto for the doting indoor-plant parents in your life. Bonus points for being kerbside bin recyclable too! Combine it with a gift voucher, grow kit or pot from Queensland-based plant delivery service (and house plant geniuses) The Good Plant Co., and you have just the present for fledgling plant-lovers to kick off their obsession.

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A Curated Gift Box

Curated with Conscious | Sustainable Christmas Gift Guide 2022
Curated with Conscious | Sustainable Christmas Gift Guide 2022

A gift box is the neat and tidy antidote to finding-the-just-right-gift stress. Curated with Conscience makes it even easier by choosing to feature sustainable, ethical and conscious Australian businesses and social enterprises. The enticingly named Day Spa At Home box is ready to be put to good use for a bit of soothing self-care. A bath soak, relaxing essential oil roller and organic chocolate are just a few of the reasons to add this one to your Christmas gift shopping list.

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Tea Set

Designed for tea ceremonies (your morning cuppa included) that give pause for quiet reflection, this Cisco and the Sun Tea for 2 set ($211) will have even the busiest among us slowing down. Each set is created from raw Cambodian clay, in either Bali or Cambodia, by skilled artisans using traditional techniques and operating under fair trade principles. Finished with low-impact glazes, the earthy palette of colours and organic texture – achieved through the wabi sabi method – look as good on the shelf as they feel in the hand.

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Wine + Garlic + Salt

Not content to rest on their considerably impressive laurels (The Ridge House at Yarragon), Kristy and Neil Plumridge also run and operate a working regenerative farm. Right next door to the charming West Gippsland Slow Stay, the family grows grass-fed beef and sustainable, spray-free garlic. Determined to show Aussies how garlic should taste (without the bleach and fumigation required for importing foreign garlic), you can buy either half a kilo ($30) or one kilo ($45) of the pungent stuff and have it shipped wherever Aus Post delivers. If you’re after something a little less garlic heavy, they’ve even paired with local wine wunderkinds to create a limited-edition wine-infused garlic salt ($15) that will whet a gourmand’s appetite, pronto!

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A Coffee Table Book

Life Unhurried Book | Sustainable Christmas gift guide

Looking for a stocking stuffer for well-travelled bibliophiles? Our very own coffee-table book, Life Unhurried: Slow and Sustainable Stays Across Australia may just do the trick. An ode to all things slow travel, it’s packed to the margins with stories on 50 of Australia’s best slow and sustainable stays. Tiny off-grid cabins, rambling beach shacks, gum-shrouded country estates – there’s something for every kind of traveller to feel the pull of escape.

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The Joy Of Regular Reading

Reading is the ultimate slow-life meditation (and the ideal Slow Stay activity). While there’s no shortage of amazing books out there to choose from, the overwhelm is real. Take the indecision out of it by giving a WellRead subscription ($99–$338) for the voracious bookworms in your life. Delivering a periodic (you can choose the frequency and duration) curation of award-winning and must-read literary tomes to your door, WellRead also offers a delivery service for the little humans (up to six years old) in your life too.

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Some Lovely Sustainable Threads

Deji Studio
Deji Studio

Slipping into (and then staying in) a soft set of linen loungewear or robe is almost as good as going on a holiday. From morning to night, Byron Bay’s Deiji Studios’ pieces are luxe high-low dressing personified. And since we’re living in the loungewear-as-everyday-wear era, don one of these babies made from eco fabrics and you can pop out for a spicy chai with a mate just as easily as you can swish about your abode. Choose from a subdued set of tones – like Cornflower, Off-White and Oatmeal – and quite literally wear the life unhurried (Deiji stands for “unhurriedness, letting go to ease, comfort and languor”). Committed to minimising their impact, Deiji is also partnered with Worn for Good, One Percent for the Planet, Thread Together and Carbon Positive Australia.

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Hand-Crafted Gum Leaf Platter

Mirumiru Bubbletent | Sustainable Christmas gift guide
Manual Arts Dept x Mirumiru Bubbletent | Sustainable Christmas gift guide

Any day is a good day for a cheese spread and a glass of bubbles… But the platter really shines (like a glittering Christmas star) in the festive period. Big fans of a good spread under the stars themselves, Cathryn and Brad at Mirumiru Bubbletent have just the thing for the fromage fiends among us. Their monogrammable gumleaf platters and cheese boards ($109), available on booking a stay at Mirumiru, are yours for the taking once you leave. Created by local Tenterfield woodworking duo Manual Arts Dept, each board is hand-crafted using hardwood sourced from local, indie and family-run sawmills. A sustainable vessel worthy of a magnificent gooey brie under the stars! Simply order one when booking a stay at the luxe stargazing Slow Stay.

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A Fluffy Organic Bathroom Set

BATH FIVE PIECE SET

Imagine stepping out of the shower and having that luxe towel feeling every day… Loop Home’s pesticide-free, 100% GOTS-certified cotton towels, crafted from super soft Aegaen cotton in Turkey, will help create the impression that you’ve escaped the grind just by going through the motions. On the planet front, reducing carbon emissions, water use and energy is big for the brand and there’s a handy calculation on each product to show the specific impact your purchase is having. Intent on closing the loop, the Naarm-based company also has a clever circularity program called Re-Loop, where customers receive a credit of eight percent of their purchase price for returning Loop goods for re-purpose. Nab the Bath Five Piece set ($219) in a mesmerising pistachio jacquard weave for a sustainable Christmas gift that lasts well past the rum balls running out.

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A Knitting Or Craft Kit

Knitting Kit - We Are Knitters | Sustainable Christmas gift guide

Crafting is akin to meditation, and, aside from gifting a whole swag of mental wellbeing benefits, it’s a darn good way to kill time productively. Particularly suited to curling up in front of a fireplace of an expansive view, these We Are Knitters kits provide the right kind of slow, mindful activity for your brain and body to be truly present. All kits include everything a beginner needs from FSC-certified knitting needles to natural fibre yarns. The crafty company has now branched out to other techniques too, offering kits for embroidery, crochet, petite point and punch needle and latch hook among others. Or these Stitched Up embroidery kits ($45) are another great way to slow down, one stitch at a time, without the commitment of knitting

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Upcycled Glassware

Tablescapes are having such a moment right now. And although trends aren’t always great on the sustainability front, the tumblers from Upcycled Glassware can help one get the look minus the mindless consumption. In fact, frustrated by the growing amounts of waste, Sydney-based, Switzerland-raised glass artist Tanya Reinli was inspired by her own habit of recycling and repurposing collected items for homewares. Constructed out of glass bottles diverted from landfill, each tumbler has been cut, honed and polished to create a range of sizes in colours like Luscious Lime, Overtly Olive, Pelligrino Verde and Blue Sky Sailing. For a splash of fun, the circularity champions also offer optional etching in the form of a bottom band or cute shape like a rainbow.

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Linen Sheets

Milou Milou

If you’ve read any of our Slow Stay listings, you’ll note how often flax linen is highlighted. Not only is linen a far more sustainable fabric but it just feels so damn fancy. Milou Milou knows a thing or two about crafting the kind of sheets you never want to leave. Choose from 100% European flax linen sheets, duvet covers and sets in rich, earthy tones (plus some delightful stripes!) for the gift of good sleep.

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An Organic Tea

Photography by Abbie Melle

Leaning into the very same wellness ethos that powers their Slow Stay, Dales Run Wellness Co’s range of teas is all about savouring the slowness. The bespoke range of herbal, black and green teas (from $22) is hand-blended from certified organic or wild-crafted ingredients – right here in Australia. Housed in slick, apothecary-style glass jars that are recyclable and refillable (each blend is available in a refill pouch version), flavours like Mountain Bloom, Sunset Calm and Spiced Hive are designed to evoke the sense of escape we all need sometimes. Grab one of the bundles like ‘Party of 5’ and choose five of the Guesthouse Jar size so your tea-lover’s sipping journey can start right.

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The Gift Of A Slow Stay

The Wayfarer, Tasmania | Sustainable Christmas gift guide
Hidden Cabins – Henry | Slow Stays by Life Unhurried

Photography: Natasha Mulhall (The Wayfarer, top), Rachel Claire (Hidden Cabins, bottom left), Mandy Couzens (Larnook, bottom right)

Life, with all its distractions, gets busy. Remind a loved one that slowing down and reconnecting can be as easy as changing their context by giving them the gift of a Slow Stay. The Wayfarer, Kestrel Nest Ecohut, Mirumiru Bubbletent, Larnook at Sherbrooke, Hideaway Farmlet Miniature Goat Stud and Hidden Cabins all offer gift vouchers in varying amounts. Give someone a nudge or pay for their whole stay if you’re feeling generous!

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Tammar Wallaby BushGift

Wander Kangaroo Island | Sustainable Christmas gift guide
Wander Tamar Wallaby Bushgift | Sustainable Christmas gift guide

Wander at the Overflow 1895 are also offering gift vouchers, but this year Wander have partnered with Bush Heritage Australia to support the organisation’s work with a $30 Tammar Wallaby BushGift. The virtual gift will be sent straight to your giftee, signifying a donation in their name. Every purchase (until 31 Dec) puts you in the draw to win a two-night stay in a two-bedroom WanderPod at Wander’s second location, perched atop of the northern bluff of Kangaroo Island’s Tammar Ridge. Even if you don’t win, Wander will gift you with a $50 credit towards your next stay! Holly jolly Christmas, indeed. 

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A Good Blanket

How good are woolly blankies? The appeal of a good one is that it can even double as a picnic blanket, a wall hanging or a classic throw, and follow you through life’s many adventures. Enter: Seljak Blankets. Created by Queensland’s Seljak sisters, Karina and Samantha, the material for each of these closed-loop beauties is gathered from factory floor offcuts, post-consumer textiles like woollen jumpers and deadstock yarns from mills in Australia, Italy and Lithuania before being woven into blankets for every season. The original wool blankets ($349), in a range of muted and earthy tones, have been joined by a collection of lighter recycled cotton blankets ($299) built for Aussie summers. These fruity, fresh colourways would look just as at home slung casually across the back of a couch as they do spread out on the beach. Once your cherished item has lived its life, Seljak will take back the blankets, to repurpose and recycle the yarn ready for another use. The best bit? Each purchase also donates $5 to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, assisting them to support migrants creating new lives on our golden shores.

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Natural Fragrance

Scent is a evocative sense and this heady, wooded Roemy fragrance ($179–$239) – aptly named Forest – will almost whisk your giftee to the middle of a quiet cedar forest, the crisp crunch of leaves crushed underfoot. Inspired by “moments in places, spaces and time”, the Melbourne-based brand creates longlasting, unisex fragrances so anyone can spritz themselves away anytime. Vegan and cruelty-free, Roemy eschews fast beauty opting to use considered, natural ingredients (with no parabens or phthalates) and sustainable packaging and operates the business paper-free.

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The Gift Of Giving

With so many sustainable Christmas gift options, making your dollar count at Christmas is very achievable. But you can say goodbye to more ‘stuff’ and hello to the good-feels of paying it forward by making a donation in someone’s name. Charities like Foodbank and OzHarvest do excellent work fighting hunger and food waste respectively; WWF’s adoption program protects vulnerable flora and fauna species worldwide; land regeneration and management champs Bush Heritage accept donations all year and offer virtual Bush Gifts to send; a donation to funding platform Groundswell Giving will help fund the next generation of climate activists; and Australia’s first Indigenous youth climate network, Seed, is a worthy recipient too. Some will even throw in a bit of cheer (Groundswell will send Christmas cards to the gift recipient, for example) to make it feel more tangible.

Desta Cullen

Desta Cullen is a writer and editor who crafts stories of food, culture and travel with a particular love of sustainability, slow fashion, creativity and conscious lifestyles. When she's not working, she spends her time digging in op-shops for pre-loved treasures, attempting to garden and turn the family home into a bright, art-filled junglescape.