An Unexpectedly Quirky Socially Conscious Christmas Gift Guide

Lesley Teoh

Give with an unexpected twist this festive season. Surprise your loved ones with our 'non-gift guide' of quirky and socially conscious gift ideas (including one made of rhino dung)! 

Elrhino playing cards

1. Playing cards made of poo from Elrhino (USD 4.40)
These quirky illustrated playing cards are so unique and beautiful that it’s hard to believe they’re made of dung – definitely a conversation piece! Elrhino works with communities in Assam to produce high-quality artisanal earth-friendly paper made of rhino and elephant dung. By doing so, they are not only helping conserve these endangered species and preserving the forests, but also effectively deterring man-animal conflicts.

Yellow leaf hammocks[Image Source: Yellow Leaf Hammocks]

2. Hammocks from Yellow Leaf Hammocks (USD 199 – 249)

Yellow Leaf Hammocks’ motto is “Do Good. Relax” – definitely something we can get on board with. Who wouldn’t want to kick back and relax in a ridiculously comfortable hammock? Each piece is not only impeccably crafted and sustainably made, but also directly empowers artisan weavers from the Mlabri hill tribes in Thailand and their families. You can also customise your own hanging chair hammock (USD 229), perfect for small necks and cosy nooks.  

iBam bamboo speaker by sustainable living labs[Image Source: Sustainable Living Lab]

3. iBam™ All-Natural Mobile Speaker from Sustainable Living Lab (SGD 59.90)

Instead of a conventional iPhone speaker, why not go au naturel with the iBam – a handcrafted green amplifier made of bamboo that requires no power source. The iBam preserves the natural skin of the bamboo and comes in a sleek design. It also works great both outdoors and indoors. Get yours here.  

4. SAGOSKATT soft toys from IKEA (SGD 3.90-11.90)

Unleash your inner child with IKEA’s limited edition SAGOSKATT soft toys. All ten toys in this range were dreamed up from the doodles of kids from all over the world. For each toy sold, the IKEA Foundation will donate one Euro to support children’s rights to play and develop in the world as part of the IKEA Good Cause Campaign. The range also includes a children’s card game and colouring book.

[Image Source: Alchemist Creations]

5. Soda can watch from Alchemist Creations, (USD 126 and up)

Founded by three young designers in Hong Kong, the team behind Alchemist Creations believes in discovering the beauty of the mundane and converting it into something that is both functional and elegant. Their watches are works of art made from recycled soda cans that are handcrafted by underprivileged individuals in Hong Kong.

Krakakoa chocolate is socially uplifting and benefits smallholder farmers in Indonesia

6. Artisanal chocolate inspired by Indonesian flavours from Krakakoa (USD 3.60 and up)

Check out Krakakoa’s socially uplifting chocolates that celebrate the diverse flavours and natural heritage from Indonesia. Krakakoa provides training and resources to improve the productivity and quality of the cacao beans sourced from smallholder farmers in Indonesia. We love their Dark Chocolate with Chilli that uses a fiery blend of bird’s eye chilli and red chilli peppers, which definitely packs a punch. If chilli is not your thing, try their dark chocolate with sea salt and pepper or dark milk chocolate with a warm honeyed ginger.

Sahawood Sunglasses


[Image Source: Sahawood]

7. Handcrafted wooden sunglasses from Sahawood (USD 32 and up)

These handcrafted Sahawood sunglasses are made of leftover teak and rosewood from the furniture industry in Indonesia. There are over 18 different styles to choose from like round ‘John Lennon-esque’ glasses and wayfarer frames. Sahawood’s craftsmen are recovering drug addicts and those with HIV/AIDS, many of who were stigmatised or unable to find jobs. Each product also comes with a unique label referencing various street names of drugs and serves as a stark reminder to stay clean. Buy them online here or email to place an order.

BoxGreen Limited Edition Christmas Snackbox 2016

8. Christmas snack box from BoxGreen (SGD 12)

BoxGreen’s Limited Edition Christmas snack box is the perfect gift of delicious indulgence without the guilt! It includes four healthy and all natural seasonal treats including Xmas Fruit Cake, Gingerfruit Muesli Cookies, Choco Twilight Biscotti and Herb Garlic Garden nut mix. For each box sold, BoxGreen will donate a meal through Willing Hearts to help the underprivileged.


9. Bedroom slippers from Duanyam (Price on Request)

Du’Anyam is an abbreviation of Du’a Anyam, which literally means mothers weaving. Through their weaving initiatives, they provide pregnant women in East Nusa Tenggara with alternative employment to hard labour on the fields, which has health implications. By purchasing these handwoven products, you’ll be contributing to the livelihood and well-being of these pregnant artisans. 


You may also like

Live Consciously
While Christmas is truly the most magical time of the year, it can also be the most wasteful. Check out our list of effortlessly ethical hacks for a merrier, more sustainable way to celebrate this festive season. [Image Source: Natural Living Ideas ] 1. Make your own Christmas ornaments. A...
Live Consciously
From indie designers to luxury retailers, check out our sartorial selection of eight ethical and eco-friendly fashion brands and where to buy them. Did you know that the apparel industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions and remains the second largest industrial polluter after oil? Or that the polyester...
Live Consciously
Christmas is definitely a season of excesses and even gluttony. Turn sinful eating into christmas good this yuletide season with our list of nine social enterprise restaurants where you can have your dish, and give back too. 1. Garçons Casual French dining concept, Garçons, has popped up at Timbre+, a...

Like what you see? Sign up for our newsletter. SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Top Hits

Live Consciously
Shopping for dad can be a real struggle. But don’t worry, because we’ve rounded up a list of our favourite sustainable gifts for Father’s Day that are bound to please the best dad in the world – your dad. No ties please. [Photo Credit: LSTN ] ZEBRA WOOD SATELITE SPEAKER...
[This article is also avaliable in: Traditional Chinese (TW) | Traditional Chinese (HK) | Simplified Chinese (CN)] To accelerate social impact, the DBS Foundation gives out Social Enterprise Grants each year to high-potential social ventures that are creating positive social impact. We are pleased to introduce our Grant Awardees for...
From edible water bottles to a wearable on-demand masseuse, check out these five cool social innovations that are not only helping make our lives easier but also tackling global issues in new and creative ways 1. Eco-friendly mosquito traps that combat Zika and Dengue fever [Image Courtesy: Biotrap ] Biotraps...