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12 Sustainable Christmas Gift Ideas for the Entire Family

Written by NØRDIK TEAM

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Posted on October 23 2021

UPDATED 15 October 2021 

The holiday season is upon us! Which means that you’ve got some shopping to do… We know, it can be overwhelming – especially when it comes to finding perfect gifts for your loved ones! But don’t worry. We are here to help!

We’ve rounded up a list of the best (and the cutest) Scandinavian finds, uncovering some of the most unique home decor and accents, sustainable tableware, and eco-friendly textiles and accessories that will make a perfect gift for a wife, husband, auntie, uncle, or the kids! Not to mention, each of these stylish and thoughtful gifts has a design story that will truly impress your environmentally conscious family member.

If the concept of sustainability is new to you, you’ll find everything you need to know right below.

If you have a good grasp of the sustainable lifestyle, go ahead and scroll directly to the gift ideas!

What Exactly is Sustainability?

Sustainability is the process of producing the items that we need in our daily lives in a way that has low impact on our planet and the world’s natural resources.

This type of production is safe and healthy for workers, communities and consumers. It also ensures the well-being of our children and grandchildren and that they will have the same amazing healthy planet to enjoy!

When it Comes to Sustainable Products, Materials Matter

Sustainable products can be simple everyday items that make our lives easier and spark happiness: anything from cushion covers to your favorite coffee mug. What makes them truly unique is that these products are made from natural materials and produced in a way that has minimal negative impact on our environment throughout their lifecycle, or on those who do the producing!

Here are some examples of sustainable materials:

  • Wood. Some sustainable materials, such as wood, are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which promotes responsible forestry practices. Companies who manage these type of forests prohibit clear cutting and respect the rights of indigenous peoples. They also maintain biodiversity and regeneration capacity. Wood is also 10% renewable and biodegradable.
  • Linen. This is one of our favorite sustainable materials, but also one of the oldest and most durable materials used in textiles. Linen is an ecologically friendly choice for many reasons. Linen fabric is made from of the strongest natural fibers – the flax plant. The entire flax plant can be used when it is harvested and it can be cultivated and processed without chemicals. It also requires little water and energy to produce giving linen products one of the lowest carbon footprints!
  • Tencel. Tencel, like bamboo, is another sustainable and eco-friendly material for textiles, and is biodegradable and requires less energy and water than i.e. cotton.
  • Wool. Wool is also a planet friendly natural material and according to the International Wool Textile Organization one of the most recycled fibres.
  • Organic cotton. This is always a better choice than non-organic cotton.

aarikka christmas decorations white grey

We Live in the Throw Away Culture...

Another reason to choose sustainable products is to counter the “throw away culture” trend that is growing globally, yet sadly, no faster than right here in the USA.

Heather Rogers, in her book “Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage”, provides us with some alarming facts on our waste disposal habits:

  • The average American discards almost seven pounds of trash per day.
  • With only 5% of the global population, the U.S. consumes 30% of the planet's resources and churns out 30% of its wastes.
  • Garbage production in the United States has doubled in the last 30 years.
  • About 80% of U.S. products are used once, then thrown away.
  • 95% of all plastic, two-thirds of all glass containers, 50% of all aluminum beverage cans are never recycled; instead they just get burned or buried.
  • The EPA cites that in just one year, Americans generate 236 million tons of garbage. While about 30% of garbage gets recycled or composted, 164 million tons are tossed away.

To put this in context, think about all the ziplock bags you use each year. Glass bottles that didn't make it to recycle. Your pet's wet food cans. Multiplied by your neighborhood. By your state. Not to mention the whole nation… It is time for a change!

lovi small boy decorating christmas tree

Tips on How to Spot a Sustainable Product

1. Material. Choosing natural materials such as wood, glass and natural fiber is a good start, because they are usually sustainable choices.

2. Label. If you want to be sure, become a label reader! Most manufacturers who produce sustainable products are very proud of that fact and will normally put information on their packaging about how their product is made.

3. Certifications. Look for certifications on the packaging that indicated it has been produced in a sustainable way. For example here at NØRDIK, our products and brands have earned following certifications for their products:

  • Program for the Endorsement of the Forest Certification (PEFC). The PEFC is the world's largest forest certification system seeking to transform the way forests are managed globally – and locally - to ensure that all of us can enjoy the environmental, social and economic benefits that forests offer.
  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification ensures that the products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits.
  • European Masters of Linen is a collective mark, registered by CELC which guarantees excellence and 100% European traceability at each stage of processing. It is available for finished products with a final composition of either pure linen, linen union (cotton warp, linen weft) or a linen-rich fibre content, in the areas of fashion and household textiles.
  • Oekotex standard, making sure there is no harmful chemical residues on the textiles.

4. Transparency. You can also conduct some research online about a product you are interested in and look for all of these things! Brands who take sustainability seriously also provide transparent information, such as yearly reports, to their consumers.

5. Giving Back. Often, responsible manufacturers also will donate a portion of their proceeds towards a non-profit that promotes sustainability and environmental awareness and protection.

teemu järvi jumping fox print inspiration

Our Philosophy: Quality over Quantity

Here at NØRDIK, we believe in responsible and sustainable consumption and production. This is why we only work with brands and designers that share these values. Our goal is that all products offered are a win-win for our customers and the environment:

  • Buy it once, keep it for life, pass it on!
  • Save money by only buying it once.
  • Enjoy the aesthetic and functional perfection of a product designed by award-winning artisans and made to last a lifetime
  • Take pride in the fact that your purchase had minimal negative impact on the environment = you are a responsible consumer!

lovi tea towel christmas inspiration

Our Favorite Thoughtful and Sustainable Christmas Gift Ideas

Christmas gifts – what better way to celebrate this most special season and avoid the trappings of the commercialization of the holiday than by purchasing a high quality, functional and lasting gift for that someone special on your list, who will love and cherish it forever! Here are some great Christmas gift ideas for your whole family:

1. Wooden Christmas Trees to Fit Any Decor

Celebrate joy during this holiday season with one of Aarikka’s beautiful handcrafted maple wood Christmas trees! Choose from JOULUPUU, KUUSINEN, or JOULUKUUSI all which feature Aarikka’s signature “Drops of Joy” wooden beads . Fun fact: the red KUUSINEN “rosolli” color is inspired by the Finnish beetroot salad that is typically enjoyed during Christmas time. 

Aarikka KUUSINEN tree
Aarikka KUUSINEN Tree

 2. Send Some Holiday Happiness!

We have a fantastic selection of festive paper goods from Kehvola. Choose from postcards, gift tags, stickers, and greeting cards. These unique illustrations printed on sustainable paper in Finland are sure to bring a smile to any recipient!

Kehvola Postcards
Shop Kehvola Here 

 3. Celebrate Winter Wilderness 

Teemu Järvi’s nature inspired illustrations make the perfect gift for any wildlife enthusiast or adventurer. Pair the SPRUCE BRANCH art print with a handmade Finnish Oak frame for a thoughtful gift. All of Teemu Järvi's prints are made in Finland using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified materials. Respect the environment and admire it at the same time!

SPRUCE TREE art print

Shop Teemu Järvi here 

 4. A Gift for the Young (and Young at Heart) 

Lovi brings the forests of Finland to you with a wonderful selection of sustainable birch wood 3D puzzles. Elves, reindeer, tree decorations, and many more all make great stocking stuffers or hostess gifts! Plus each Lovi comes in plastic free packaging, and your purchase will help to plant trees all over the world!

Lovi Christmas Tree Star Baubles
Shop Lovi Christmas Decorations here 

 5. Whimsical Wooden Figurines  

Show a loved one that you really know them by gifting them a unique elf from Aarikka. Each wooden figure is handcrafted with care in Helsinki, Finland. Select some members from the Tonttu and Pakkanen families, and make a joyful window display that can be enjoyed all season long!

Aarikka Wooden Elves
Aarikka TONTTU Collection 

6. Limited Edition for the Lover of Iconic Design

The limited numbered edition 1937 Aalto vase will quickly become the prized possession of anyone who receives it! Set the perfect holiday table using the moss green vase accented with some cranberry branches and fresh pine!

1937 Aalto Vase
 
limited numbered edition 1937 Aalto

 7. A Hygge Gift Basket

Give the gift of a cozy night in by making your own gift basket featuring some tasty Finnish treats! Pair a box of Moomin tea, Fazer MARIANNE peppermint crisp chocolate bar, and Fazer PIPARKAKKU gingerbread cookies with an Arabia Moomin mug with the character that best represents your loved one!

Fazer Chocolate
Shop Nordic Sweets here 

8. A Serving Bowl that Works for Any Season 

The Marimekko ALKU serving bowl designed by Maija Louekari effortlessly fits with any season. The simplistic design featuring an earthy dark green pattern represents seeds that will blossom into beautiful flowers. Pair the serving bowl with a matching ALKU linen tablecloth and kitchen towel!

Marimekko ALKU Serving Bowl
Shop Marimekko Here

9. Festive Tea Towels and Tablecloths

Give the gift of timeless sustainable linen this holiday season with a beautiful tea towel or tablecloth from Lapuan Kankurit. All of Lapuan Kankurit’s textiles are still sustainably produced in Lapua, Finland using the finest European Union sourced linen. Pair a USVA linen tablecloth/blanket in bordeaux or aspen green color with a LASTU tea towel for a Christmas gift that will be appreciated for years to come. 

Lapuan Kankurit USVA Tablecloth
Shop Lapuan Kankurit here 

10. Waste Glass Turned into Something Beautiful 

Iittala’s special edition recycled glass collection made for its 140th anniversary truly celebrates sustainability and Nordic design. This collection features an array of handcrafted and mouth blown glass from Finland. Due to the variation of the glass used to create this collection, each piece has a unique color which varies from light grey to light blue and green.  

Iittala Recycled Glass Collection
Shop Iittala Recycled Collection here 

11. A Cozy Throw Inspired by Calm Winter Nights

The Kauniste TALVIYÖ (“winter night” in Finnish) blanket designed by Hanna Konola is amazingly soft and features an adorable reversible winter village scene in a beautiful blue and white color. This blanket comes in two sizes and is made of a blend of Merino and pure new wool meaning it will keep you warm through many chilly evenings!

Kauniste Wool Throw

The Kauniste TALVIYÖ blanket 

12. Cushion Covers Instantly Decorate a Room 

Marimekko’s collection of cushion covers are always an easy way to decorate a couch, chair, or bed for a season or holiday. For a warm and earthy addition try the PIENI KETUNMARJA (“fox’s berry”)  cushion cover designed by Aino-Maija Metsola. This enchanting design features little birds sitting in a yew tree overlooking foxes that have crept into a garden for a treat at dusk. For a classic festive look try the KUUSIKOSSA (“in a spruce forest”) cushion cover designed by Maija Louekari. This cushion cover features a magical forest of unique metallic gold trees. 

Marimekko Cushion Covers
Shop Marimekko Here 

 

We are really interested in hearing about any of your experiences with sustainable gifts! Are there some good environmentally friendly gift ideas you would like to add here? Share your comments below!

There is a Story Behind Every Design at NØRDIK. Happy Holidays!

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