Before you say it – I know what you’re thinking. Christmas is days away and I’ve only just gotten around to posting this guide now?!
In my defense, I don’t really celebrate Christmas. I mean, sure I do indulge in a little bit of holiday cheer (chiefly by partaking in the annual office Secret Santa gift exchange and baking an inordinate amount of gingerbread flavoured things), but it isn’t really a holiday that ever had a place in our home growing up. In any case, festive season or not, I enjoy gift giving (and receiving) as much as the next person. While what I choose to gift will undoubtedly vary based on the person in question – I always try to opt for gifts that are purposeful, meaningful as well as sustainable and eco-friendly where possible.
While I often do shop online using mail-forwarding services and couriers, that does tend to rack up a hefty bill of shipping charges, and is definitely not doing my carbon footprint any favours. So while browsing social media lately, I was inspired to put a conscious gift guide for any and every season featuring a selection of brands and retailers located right here in the UAE (for those of you not in the know, I currently live in Abu Dhabi). The gift ideas I’ve listed here are all vegan and cruelty-free, with many also being sustainable and ethically made.
Luxury vegan handbags from Eurthlin
Rooted in the belief that we should take inspiration from nature’s resources rather than exploit them, new brand on the block in Dubai Eurthlin offers a fabulous line of premium vegan handbags and pouches. Each bag is beautifully crafted using certified vegan materials (I’m talking 100% animal-free leather, dyes, inks and adhesives), and carry the brand’s signature print featuring the four natural elements; earth, wind, fire and water.
Eurthlin were incredibly kind to gift me the Terra tote in Bark (pictured below) – and I’m seriously obsessed with this bag. It’s incredibly chic yet clearly sturdy and well-made, not to mention the fact that it goes with pretty much everything.
I’m also in love with everything about the brand’s ethos – in addition to being vegan and cruelty-free, they partner with an AMFORI-certified production facility to make their bags, use recycled plastic and compostable materials for their dust bags and packaging, and commit to planting a tree in the Amazon for every piece sold. Oh – and in case you really want to spoil the special someone in your life – they offer professional monogramming too. I mean really – does it get any better than that?
Shop Eurthlin’s Terra collection here – they’re also offering FREE worldwide shipping until December 25th!
Healing crystals and jewelry from Holly Holistic
I’ve long been a fan of crystal jewelry (bracelets in particular), but it’s only recently that I’ve really started to look into the spiritual and emotional benefits of wearable crystals and gemstones. An online store based in Dubai, Holly Holistic has a beautiful collection of crystals, jewelry, essential oils, home decor and other natural wellbeing products that would make for great gifts for the budding health nut in your life.
And in case you’re wondering, I am indeed a Capricorn!
Shop Holly Holistic’s range of products here.
Ethical and sustainable yoga gear from yApparel
Yet another Dubai-based online store, yApparel stocks high-quality fitness apparel from a select range ethically produced and eco-friendly brands including the likes of Dharma Bums, Spiritual Gangster and Rumi Earth. A set from yApparel is the ideal gift for any conscious consumers trying to buy less fast fashion sportswear (guilty as charged).
It’s worth mentioning that the store is founded by boss babe and yoga guru Dina Ghandour who often hosts yoga retreats in some of the most breathtaking corners of the world, so check those out here if you fancy a wellness gift to yourself.
Shop yApparel’s range of activewear here.
Unisex accessories with a cause from One Good Thing
I first came across One Good Thing at a pop-up in a local cafe, and fell in love with their line of unique handcrafted pieces made from recycled metals from items like bullet shells in war-torn countries. Their site touts high-end, quality and sustainable products with a social conscience, and in fact for each purchase you can see exactly how you’ll be giving back – for example feeding a family of 7, or supporting victims of domestic abuse.
They also stock a ton of other products, including apparel, accessories, tech gadgets and children’s toys. Shop their online store here.
A vegan chocolate hamper from Mirzam
Mirzam has to be one of my favourite UAE-based brands. Inspired by the ancient spice route, they are a bean-to-bar chocolatier who pride themselves in their transparency using the finest ingredients to create truly spectacular tasting chocolates at their Dubai-based factory (which, by the way is open for visitors).
Because their products are premium, they do cost a pretty penny – making any of their vegan selections the perfect addition to a gift for the chocolate lover in your life.
Their hampers and gift sets are also ideal to take along if you’re visiting with any newlyweds or new parents – don’t ask, it’s an Arab thing.
Shop their vegan selection here.
A reusable tumbler or water bottle from The Green Ecostore
For anyone looking to cut down on their plastic use in 2020, a reusable water bottle or hot drinks tumbler is a must. The Green Ecostore stocks a bunch of great options, including S’well and Keepcup.
Shop their range of reusable bottles here.
Eco-friendly and non-toxic candles from Palm Lights
As a self-proclaimed candle addict (a mental count says that I have over 9 in my humble one-bedroom apartment!) – Palm Lights is another one of my favourite local companies. The founder Bhawna hand-pours each candle herself, and strives to make the most sustainable candles possible by using palm wax, odorless plant-based colours and dyes, cotton and wood wicks without metal cores as well as reusable glass jars with lids. Although I have yet to avail of it, they also offer a candle refill service which is great.
In addition to candles, they also have accessories and artisanal incense. I’ve been burning Palm Lights candles for years and can’t recommend them enough.
Shop their collection here.
A unique and eco-chic piece from Rawan Maki
If you’re looking for a stunning high-fashion addition to your (or a loved one’s) wardrobe, look no further than Rawan Maki’s elegant collection of sustainable and ethically produced garments. Based between London and Bahrain, the designer is inspired by the convergence of the natural and the man-made world, creating pieces that often reference our exacerbation of the natural resources around us. Her line is made exclusively using sustainable, recycled and organic fabrics, and she adopts a zero-waste ethos, utilising fabric scraps to create coveted one-off accessories.
In the interest of full disclosure – the designer does happen to be a close and personal friend of mine – but I do genuinely adore (and wear) her designs!
Sustainable fine jewelry from FYNE
Based in Dubai, FYNE self-identifies as an ethical luxury jewelry brand with sustainability at its core. Aside from the fact that their modern and contemporary designs are absolutely stunning, their pieces are made even more beautiful by the fact that they aim to empower women while creating the smallest environmental impact possible.
FYNE only uses cultured diamonds that are grown with renewable and recycled energy, which means that their guaranteed to be conflict-free. They also use recyclable materials and packaging, and employ a made-to-order business model to reduce waste and over-production, which I find so admirable. I’m currently lusting after their gorgeous Dahlia necklace (pictured above) and think that any of their pieces would make for a thoughtful gift for any conscious gal no matter the occasion.
Shop their collection here.
Sensory Play boxes from Elbirg
Taking a bit of a turn – if you’re keen to gift any toddlers in your life, then I implore you to branch out of Toys R Us and check out the fantastic educational sensory play boxes offered by Dubai-based start-up Elbirg.
The site stocks a plethora of different themed sets as well as individual materials including kinetic sand, cloud dough and water beads. Everything is of course non-toxic and completely safe for children, helping to develop their motor skills and cognitive growth through play.
Shop their products here.
Vegan and cruelty-free beauty from Miss Palletable
For glam girls with a green heart, Miss Palletable stocks an abundance of vegan, cruelty-free and toxin-free beauty and skincare products. Their online store is carefully curated with a great selection including brands such as Hynt Beauty, Antonym Cosmetics and Henry Charles.
Shop their range online here.
Until next time, dear readers!