Giving you some alternative gift ideas far from mass produced fashion, perfume or chocolate.
Hier findest du die deutsche Version des Beitrags: Alternative Geschenkideen.
I know there are hundreds of blogposts out there, giving ideas on how and where to buy the best (Christmas) presents. I never wanted to write such a post, as to me it does mainly urge people to spend their money, to buy, buy and buy, and they put pressure on everyone to get the most „perfect“ present for each person one knows.
Suddenly, when I was thinking about exactly this problem, I had the idea of giving some alternative gift ideas. Of gifts that are truly coming from the heart, have been made or chosen with passion by the owner of a small shop, of gifts that are ecofriendly or even actively support the environment, animal protection or simply do something good for other people.
Isn’t Christmas the time of love? I hope this small selection of a truly wide range of possibilities does show, that you can really find something unique, and even do a good deed with it.
But these ideas should not only be ideas for Christmas gifts, simply for any occasion you would need something unique for a loved one.
This photo of me was taken by Sophia Molek.
Alternative gift ideas for Environment-Friends
Last year my parents and my partner gave me some wonderful gifts. Both were coming from Oxfam, an international confederation of organizations that work worldwide for the poor, for people in need.
So as a gift, my parents donated drinking water, while my partner donated a goat and a chicken on my behalf for a poor family to have something to drink, as well as milk and eggs to live from.
The donation of a chicken is a wonderful help for a family to „produce“ their own eggs. This photo took Sophia Molek while we were on a small farm outside Leipzig.
This was indeed a touching present and I know that many of you would appreciate such a gift as well! You can receive this for example as a card or as a fridge magnet. This project is called „Oxfam unwrapped“ and you find it here.
Photo Credits: Oxfam Germany.
I am a person that feels especially connected to animals. There are so many ways to help animals and I know that we cannot adopt every pet that needs a home, as there are so many criteria to fulfill to be a loving parent with enough time for the little furry friend, enough space or action at home.
That is why animal sponsorship is a great alternative to this. Some pets that live in animal sanctuaries cannot be placed for several reasons – maybe a cat or a dog is too afraid of humans or it is a really wild one. But all these sanctuaries are in desperate need of money and supporters to keep up their amazing work.
I am sure you noticed, that photographer Sophia Molek and I founded an animal charity project last: Vintage and Charity.
Last November, we collected donations for the animal shelter of Lossa, Gnadenhof Lossa, which is situated near Leipzig. This shelter cares for abused, diseased, old and young pets. Most of them are cats which have been rescued from hoarder houses.
These are only two of more than 150 pets, which have been rescued and arrived in Lossa this year!
An animal sponsorship is an amazing way to give a pet financial help for the vet costs, food and all the care that it needs because of its horrible past. Maybe you have a look at an animal shelter in your area, I am SURE they would be extremely happy about your support!
And what could be a better gift than supporting a pet and giving it all the love and care it deserves?
Plant Seeds and Gardening Gifts from OwnGrown
Admittedly, I’m a bit biased: because I’m part of this wonderful, sustainable brand called OwnGrown, which was founded by us, a small company in Leipzig, a few years ago.
At OwnGrown we design, create and produce sustainable, plastic free heirloom seeds without genetic engineering, as well as beautiful gardening accessories and gift ideas and sets for adults and kids.
Whether edible flower seeds, kitchen herbs, a mini garden starter set for kids, a sunflower seeds set, specially composed seed mixtures for insects, such as our bee happy flower mix and butterfly meadow, a Christmas tree to grow yourself or lovely balcony flower compositions – I am sure you will find the perfect gift for everyone, even those who are no experts in growing plants and gardening: we add detailed instructions and tipps for every single plant! The recipient of your sustainable plant gifts will enjoy it all year-round.
If you look for further inspiration on growing and sowing, we also have a great (German) Instagram page! We hope you enjoy giving and growing our seeds as much as we do creating them.
Planting a Tree
To plant a tree on behalf of a person is not only a lovely gift for him or her, but also one for the environment. A tree is a symbol of strength, of a long life, of down-to-earthness.
Did you know that each tree stores an average of 10kg of CO2 every year?
Depending on the organization you choose, you can decide where the tree should be planted – they do give some hints on projects that are running at the moment and where new ones are needed.
As an international organization I can recommend for example „Plant for the Planet“! At the moment they are planting trees at the Yucátan Peninsula in Mexico.
The amazing bonus regarding this gift: Your presentee can plant a virtual tree in the treeworld by redeeming the personalized voucher at Plant for the Planet. This way, the presentee can perpetuate his or her tree present in the treeworld and enjoy it for years to come!
In this shoot I was walking barefoot through the fields and trees. Photo by Sophia Molek, I am wearing a Son de Flor linen dress.
An alternative gift idea including some animals could also be focussing on some of our the smallest friends, which are in huge need of help at the moment – the bees.
Viruses, pollutions and pesticides endanger this species, which is so incredibly important to our planet. There are quite a few projects around the world that you can support to help the bees. At Beesponsor for example you can sponsor a share in a new bee hive in Cambridge, England.
You (or the person that receives the gift) get a certificate as well as information about these specific bees and the beekeeper managing them, regular updates as well as some jars of honey the bees produced at your „own“ hive.
For more information, or the way to a sponsorship, you can have a look here.
Alternative gifts from small shops for Vintage Friends
Thanks to my blog I do know many passionate and creative ladies and gentlemen around the world that manufacture unique pieces by their own hands, or search for amazing second hand and vintage finds to give them a new life.
Some of these shops and creatives I would like to introduce to you, as I know their products are special. I added the place where they come from – so you can see whether you would still have time to order.
Good Looking Objects – California
I have been in contact with Melinda from Good Looking Objects for a while now. She is a very kind and passionate lady, adores cats, mysticism and nature – these are also the themes that her magic jewellery is telling about.
She mostly chooses romantic imaginings, casts wax models herself and then has them made at her home in California, mainly out of sterling and bronze.
Many of her designs also feature vintage components or special stones such as Crystal Quartz. These accessories are definitely one of a kind and each model tells a paticular story. You find her work here.
In these photos I am wearing Melinda’s delicate Crystal Quartz Twig Necklace. The photos are made by Sophia Molek, the makeup by Erika Ehrlich.
Traditional German lace by Modespitze – Plauen, Germany
The production of lace is an over 100 year-old tradition in Plauen. The so-called „Plauener Spitze“ stands for history, quality and elegance.
Manja, who I already mentioned above, is married to Andreas. Andreas produces this organic lace with his family-owned factory in Plauen – and he is the fourth generation to do so! His small factory still uses the original machines from 100 years ago, as well as many of the patterns are still the same. Some of their products are made of GOTS certified lace and are especially environmentally-friendly.
The lace of Plauen is used for example for lovely tablecloths, as Christmas tree-decoration with Christmas motives, or even for creating jewellery such as earrings and necklaces. You find these special products here.
Above you see me wearing lace jewellery by Modespitze. Below you see the cute tablesets made of lace as well. Photos by Anne Schwerin, makeup and hair by Katharina Zimmer, garments by Frozen Hibiscus.
The Yellow Peg – Verona, Italy
For those who are „tired of shopping off the peg“, designer Simona creates retro clothing and accessories by herself. You can mix and match her comfortable handsewn creations, such as super easy to use headscarfs, gloves, barets or handmade skirts and jackets.
She sells everything in her Etsy shop*, all pieces made with love in the heart of Italy.
This ready-to-wear headscarf is simply pinned onto the head.
Bobby Pin Boutique – Rotterdam, Netherlands
You can never go wrong with a unique vintage piece for a loved one. One of my favourite vintage shops is Bobby Pin Boutique, based in the Netherlands. I love this shop, because I find it quite difficult to get beautiful true vintage hats in good condition within Europe.
My favourite vintage hat – the one I wear almost every day – is a hat from their shop! You see it in the photo below.
The Boutique has always some great treasures to offer, as well as accessories or even vintage clothing. They do have even more in their local shop than online, so if you look for something in particular – just ask them. You find Bobby Pin Boutique here on Etsy*.
Birds and Fresia – Barcelona, Spain
Regina from Barcelona is a milliner with a big heart for beautiful straw hats. If you are looking for a hat made of good quality and yet not too expensive, she is definitely the one to go to.
Her shop is known especially for her canotiers, that are decorated with velvet ribbons or flowers, as well as for her flower accessories. I do really appreciate her work, she is such a kind and sweet person, and I think a lovely hat is always a good idea for a lady!
Once she made a hat for one of my shoots, a Victorian hat with black lace, and named this model in her shop after me. This was such a touching act! Regina is selling her handmade pieces on Etsy* as well.
This is the classy canotier handmade by Regina. The photo was taken by Katrin Lorenz (Hammermännchen).
Bow and Crossbones – Shropshire, UK
There is one special pair of delicate golden hoop earrings that I wore in so many photoshoots already – so I need to give a shoutout to the ones who created them – Bow and Crossbones.
The small label from UK is selling repro as well as true vintage jewellery, and my favourites are definitely their small golden hoops. In the photo by Gina Mary, below you see me wearing one of their beautiful pairs. But of course they also offer bakelite-inspired pieces, bangles, brooches, necklaces and much more.
You find the online shop of Bow and Crossbones here.
These are only a few unique and special, alternative gift ideas for Christmas, birthdays or other occasions.
I think there is much more than mass produced fashion or perfume to find as a present for a loved one. And you can even do something good for the planet. Isn’t this a wonderful combination? I hope I could give you some inspiration with this post.
For now, I wish you happy gift „shopping“ (or even donating) and a wonderful Christmas time with your family!
More on retro- and eco fashion:
*In this post I used affiliate links. In case you buy something via this link I will get a small percentage of the profit. This does not change anything for you, it simply helps me to maintain my website and keep it free from banners.