Gift Ideas for all occasions

Whatever the occasion, when looking for gifts for family and friends, choose local independent shops and organisations. That way you support local businesses and makers, and jobs, and your money stays local! Check out our "Shop Local", "Creativity and Crafts" and "Food" sections. Please tell us if we've missed anyone out in the box below!

Zero Waste Gifts: Alternatives to Stuff

Sometimes it’s worth considering some alternatives to “stuff”. Here are a few things which reduce the environmental impact of a gift:

  • Make a “Time Voucher” – This is a really good one for busy parents or people who need a hand with something and are short on time. For parents you can design a “night out at the cinema” voucher or “an evening out with whoever you choose” voucher and offer to babysit. I’ve loved giving (and receiving) this one! Or you could gift “an afternoon gardening”, whatever you think the recipient would value and appreciate.
  • Agree a present amnesty – Most people reach a point in life where they have everything they need! The sock draw is full and they’ve run out of room for more scented candles! You could try agreeing to have a year off with some close friends and family members. It’s a bit of a leap to raise the idea, but every amnesty I’ve agreed has stuck.
  • Support a cause – There are loads of ethical ways to spend your festive pounds. You can adopt endangered animals or twin a friend’s toilet for example.
  • Buy a course – There are lots of interesting courses that can be bought as gifts. I’ve been given a couple of courses at the Sustainability Centre which were very relaxing and rewarding and Southampton City Art Gallery run some interesting courses as well. Lots of clubs (like Southampton Archery Club) offer beginners vouchers as well, a great zero waste gift that supports a local group – a win win!
  • Tickets to a gig/play/show – There are some amazing venues around Southampton (I won’t single one out), and all of them have had a really tough time during the pandemic. Buying tickets to an event later in the year are a great zero waste gift that supports local venues.

So, back to physical stuff gifts, you could try making something. Depending on your skills and inclination this could be something edible like cake, jam or cookies, or something sewn or crafted. Most people appreciate something you have put time and effort into.


For gifts you would prefer to buy, here are some great local businesses you could try:

Bitterne Park Stores (Bitterne Park)

Opened this year, Bitterne Park Stores is a gem of a place that stock lots of delicious edible gifts as well as arts and crafts in their arts and craft corner. You can find them on Bitterne Park Triangle.

Christine’s Art House (Romsey)

Amazing handmade items at very good prices, and the house itself is a work of art. It’s a short walk from Romsey train station, near Waitrose. Sign up for emails to receive opening times.

Darn it n Stitch (Bitterne Park)

Lots of fabrics and craft kits for any craft lovers. You can find them on Bitterne Park Triangle.

Lemon and Jinja (Romsey)

Both a shop and a cafe. You can order online if you can’t make the trip.

Made In Here (online, but very local!)

They’re online (, but they’re awesome! Focused on providing good, locally sourced and ethical goodies.

October Books (Portswood)

You’ll always find something for a friend or family member in October Books. Whether it’s an interesting read, gift voucher or some delicious fair trade munchies, treat yourself to a browse next time you’re in Portswood.

Harbour Lights (Ocean Village)

Cinema tickets, gift membership with free tickets and more

Thanks to Si James for this compilation

Green Living Party Bags

No More Fairy Tales: Stories to Save Our Planet

A collection of inspiring, funny, dark, mysterious, tragic, romantic, dramatic, upbeat and fantastical short stories. These 24 stories are written by a variety of authors to inspire readers with positive visions of what a sustainable society might look like and how we might get there. The stories range from whodunnits to sci-fi, romance to family drama, comedy to tragedy, and cover a range of solution types from high-tech to nature-based solutions, to more systemic aspects relating to our culture and political economy. Spot the reference to a place in Southampton.

Purchase from  or from October Books

Habitat Man

This eco-themed rom-com is set in Southampton and inspired by a real-life green garden consultancy, run by Transition. Tim is fifty, single and trapped in a job he despises. In a desperate quest to find love and meaning, Tim transforms himself into Habitat Man, an eco-friendly twenty-first century superhero who endeavours to rescue the planet through a combination of wildlife gardening, composting toilets, bird psychology and green funerals. When Tim accidentally digs up the body of the fabled guerrilla knitter in a back garden, his struggle for a better future becomes threatened by secrets from his past. Under consideration by BBC for adaptation to a Radio 4 sitcom.

Purchase from or from October Books.

Contact the Southampton Climate Action Network