The ESH Under $50 Conscious Gift Guide

Christmas is a great opportunity to think a little deeper about the gifts we are giving in order to avoid filling our homes, lives and ultimately landfills with junk that we just don’t value or need.

In the spirit of giving experiences rather than things, we’ve included a bunch of suggestions that come in the form of vouchers or e-cards; so not only are they sustainable, they are also instant (for us last minute shoppers) and don’t even require you to leave your couch.

We’ve deliberately kept the list to ideas under $50. At a pretty stressful, expensive time of year, our principles tend to get squeezed when it comes to time pressured shopping. We hope these ideas help you stick to budget as well as being kind to people and the planet.

We’re trying to be mindful that the purpose of giving gifts in the first place is to show people that we appreciate them and the role they play in our lives. So slow down, breathe, lean back a little and try to actually remember to enjoy the ritual of exchanging gifts.

And let’s not forget, at a point in history when its easy to feel as though the world can at times be an unkind place, that it’s ultimately not gifts that matter – it’s people. Be nice out there xx



Carlie Ballard is an Australian fashion brand advocating for ethical and sustainable practices, and quality, independent design. They’re bringing sexy back with these fierce little scrunchies made from work-room offcuts - zero waste production in full effect. Around $13 NZD each, but note shipping costs, you might want to combine purchases.


The net shopping bag, also known as the French market bag, is a chic necessity for sustainable living. The Net Bag from Every Day Needs is made from sustainable, certified organic, unbleached Indian cotton which is 100% biodegradable. Super stretchy to fit all your goodies, and made to last.


ELESKI print, $15

Why not support a local artist this Christmas? Auckland artist Eleski is a graphic designer by day, artist by necessity (“art is my therapy”). Eleski creates beautiful tattoo flash influenced paintings, with New Zealand motifs throughout her work. Keep an eye out for Eleski at markets around Auckland where she sells magnets, greeting cards and prints.

KouKou Creations Print, $15

A Graphic Designer from Pare Hauraki residing in Murihiku, Koukou Creations designs māori giftware with the integrity and mana of her people. Koukou Creations make mugs, cards, dreamcatchers, and wall hangings with fun slogans like “Good Wairua Only” and “You are Pounamu, They Can’t Break You.” Love!



Pioneers of bringing fairtrade goods to Aotearoa, Trade Aid remain a legit source for beautiful and ethical homewares and gifts. The Moon Mug is made by Craft Link, an artisan collective who specifically work with ethnic minorities located in mountainous regions to retain their cultural skills as well as employing artisans with disabilities.

Poūkahangatus by Tayi Tibble, $20

Support a local writer and a locally owned bookshop while you’re at it. Poūkahanatus is a collection of poems by New Zealand writer Tayi Tibble. Time Out bookstore says “This collection speaks about beauty, activism, power and popular culture with compelling guile, a darkness, a deep understanding and sensuality.”


SHUT UP AND DANCE lessons, from $25

The Shut Up And Dance babes teach routines inspired by films and music videos (think Beyonce’s Single Ladies). Classes are 45 minutes, mirror and vid free so you can focus on nothing but how good it feels to dance! Class options range from a ‘virgins only’ intro offer up to annual passes. They’re currently offering 10% off the total price when you buy a $50 gift card and add a tee, tote or onesie to your order too!


Purveyors of conscious goods, Humanity, are a one stop shop for ethical and sustainable apparel, accessories and gifts. Their candles are hand-poured here in Aotearoa using soy wax, sourced from sustainably grown crops in the USA, natural cotton wicks, and recyclable tins. Available in delicious scents like Sandalwood & Musk and Coconut & Lime.



Give the gift of giving with Oxfam Unwrapped. From $25, you can gift a donation on a loved one’s behalf. Gift options are varied: choose from a goat or chickens for sustainable farming projects in Vanuatu, to education programmes for young girls in Pakistan. All gift cards support Oxfam’s work of supporting global sustainable income generation.


The Million Meters Streams Project aims to plant a million meters of stream edges throughout New Zealand in order to protect our rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands from pollution. Freshwater scientists agree that riparian planting is vital to the health of our freshwater ecosystems. Plants filter toxic runoff, prevent sediment washing into water, and cool the water by shading it, so aquatic creatures can survive. The project is run by the excellent Sustainable Business Network team and only works with credible field partners - you don’t even need to do the planting!


Ceramic Keep Cup, $35

Reduce waste and support a local artisan. These ceramic keep cups from Jenz Studio in Tauranga are hand made and hand glazed, meaning each one is unique. They have a rubber sealable lid meaning no coffee spills, and come in a cute cotton drawstring bag. Available in sand pink and sage green.

SEASON VITAMIN C Face Serum, $26

Glowing skin is in, and who needs Glossier when you can get your made-to-order Vitamin C Serum ($26) and Face Oil ($32) made right here in Aotearoa. All of Season’s products are cruelty free and use only natural ingredients in plastic free bottles. While you’re there, you can grab yourself a sample pack of eyeshadow or cheek tint for just $4.



This beautiful brass propagation cone Garden Objects (handmade in England) sits atop any glass vessel. Fill glass jar with water, pop an avocado stone in it and within no time a seedling sprouts. Eventually the roots will become constricted and that’s when you replant in soil to grow an avocado tree. Other stone plants can be propogated too. Cute.


Kokako Roastery is located in Mt Eden, Auckland. They are staunch fair trade, ethical procurement and organic production advocates. A Kokako subscription gets freshly roasted coffee delivered to the door of a lucky recipient, in a compostable bag. You can up set weekly, bi-weekly or monthly deliveries of any one of their 200g subscription options. When ordering you can even specify if you'd like it in one of their 200g Meri Kirihimete gift boxes.


For the Kiddies:


Green Toys are manufactured in the USA from 100% recycled plastic milk and yoghurt containers. They are also packaged in recycled and recyclable materials and printed with soy inks. Farmers currently has them on sale for online purchases only (usually $60), you can choose from other Green Toys models too.

KIDS 5 Panel Cap, $50

Hills have been designing and making hats in Aotearoa since 1875. Their children’s 5 panel cap with Pukeko print has an adjustable velcro strap and fits aged 6-24 months.


Another gem from our pals at Trade Aid, these 100% cotton pillow cases are hand screen printed by expert printers working with Aspiration International in northern India.


A set of three, super cute wooden vehicles in soft pastel colours. Le Toy Van toys are designed in the UK and ethically made in Indonesia using responsibly sourced materials and are finished with a child safe non-lead paint.