VIDEO: Green Gift Ideas for Christmas + GIVEAWAY

This Christmas I think we can all aim to be a little greener, whether it is by shopping for earth-friendly gifts or just changing up our festive-time habits to make them a bit more eco-friendly. I teamed up with online organic shop Faithful to Nature and compiled a few beautiful, eco-friendly Christmas gift ideas that are perfect for vegans, vegetarians and earth-lovers. Take a look.

GIVEAWAY! One 9Lives reader will also walk away with a R1000 voucher to spend at Faithful to Nature. Scroll down for details.  

The Honey Bee Gift Set

R285 including Simply Bee Raw Honey (500g), Honey Hand and Body Wash (250ml), Hand and Body Lotion (250ml), Hand Cream (125ml) and Lip Balm. Buy it here

I’m a big fan of Simply Bee. This locally-made range is based on a blend of beeswax, honey and propolis, combined with natural oils to nourish your skin. Their products are vegetarian-friendly and are packed with organic ingredients. The hand cream is one of my favourites, with a blend of almond, avocado, geranium and Ylang Ylang oils. I think this hamper is incredible value for money!

Wake Up and Dream Journal

R320. Buy it here

I think it is important to write down your dreams and aspirations, and to keep a gratitude journal where you list the things that bring light into your life. It sounds very hippy but I found that starting my day this way makes an huge difference in my mood and the way I tackle tasks. I think this Wake Up and Dream Journal is just gorgeous. They are locally made using repurposed covers from vintage books, and filled with blank pages waiting for your pen.

Tea Gift Set

R230. Buy it here

The set contains a bag of Lady Bonin Moulin Rouge Tea, a delicious blend of wild-picked rooibos, vanilla and rose buds. They have also thrown in all the accessories you need to make the tea-break perfect. You can ask to have it packed in the hessian bag or a gift box at a small additional fee.

Black Sunbird Placemats

R399 for set of 6. Buy it here

These cork placemats are locally designed and made by Black Sunbird, and each shows a different illustration of South African flaura. I think they are just beautiful.

Skin Creamery Everyday All Over Cream

R300 for 200ml. Buy it here

I love the aesthetics of Skin Creamery, and I adore the product. This cream is packed with nourishing oils including baobab, jojoba and coconut that are rich in vitamins and essential fatty acids. It feels silky and smooth on your skin, and the smell is deliciously soft. The product is proudly South African, packed with organic ingredients, cruelty free and vegan-friendly.

Esse Body Oil

R495 for 100ml. Buy it here

Esse is one of my favourite natural skincare brands, and they’re local! This skincare goodie contains Jojoba, apricot kernel, baobab and marula oils that are packed with omega fatty acids and antioxidants to nourish your skin. The ingredients are certified organic and product is vegan-friendly.

How to have a Green Christmas

The team at Faithful to Nature have also put together a couple of tips on how to minimise your impact on the environment this festive season.


  1. Use LED or solar lights instead of power-hungry incandescents, and remember to replace burst bulbs, instead of throwing the whole string away.
  2. The majority of Christmas crackers, especially the little toy inside, end up in landfills. Try making your own and fill them with something edible, or useful.
  3. Use soy, beeswax or vegetable oil candles instead of paraffin candles; they are better for the environment

Christmas trees:

Balsam firs, a traditional tree used at Christmas, doesn’t grow well here in the warm Southern Hemisphere, so find something that suits your aesthetic, which can either be repotted, planted or composted.

  1. If you want something that looks the part, opt for a Japanese Cedar, the cousin of the American Cedar. 
  2. Artificial trees are generally felt to be bad for the environment – they use non-recycled and non-recyclable materials, and tend to be thrown away within a few years, filling landfills for years to come. However, if you already have a fake tree, use it every year for as long as you can, and care for it so you don’t have to throw it out.
  3. If you’re getting a Christmas tree for the first time, choose a live tree in a pot, and repot each year to accommodate growth, until it is too big, then plant it outside. If you choose a cut tree, make sure it is composted correctly.

Gift Wrapping:

  1. Buy reusable flax or fabric bags which can be used again and again, year after year.
  2. Consider a nice tin, decorative tea towel or scarf that can be part of the gift and used again afterwards.
  3. Minimise the use of sticky tape, as it can’t be recycled. Fold cleverly, or use ribbon and string to keep parcels wrapped instead.
  4. Buy gift tags embedded with seed instead of standard ones, or reuse old gift cards and wrapping paper scraps as tags.

Giveaway! One 9Lives reader will walk away with a R1000 voucher to spend on the Faithful to Nature online shop. To enter, share your favourite Christmas tradition with me. Pop it in the comments section below, or email me at Competition closes 7 December

This post has been sponsored by Faithful to Nature


  1. Anita Steenkamp November 30, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Ours is the Christmas box, we buy a Christmas movie, chocolate shaped in Christmas figures, salty caramel popcorn, marshmallows and candycanes and quirky christmas things at the beginning of December fill the box. And then on Christmas day after lunch we make a big family bed in front of the television and open our box, watch the movie and just spend time together

  2. Losh Don November 30, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    Fave xmas tradition is having a traditional South African Potjie and Braai surrounded by family and friends…No slaving in the kitchen , just each wrapped in the love & warmth of each other, sharing giggles, taking photos to relive those moments, talking, re connecting # that family vibe #the sound of laughter in the air #magical # enchanting

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 10:59 am

      Brillaint. I think we are so lucky to have Christmas during the summertime, which means we can just relax outside around the braai! That’s what holidays are all about!

  3. lauren November 30, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    Our Christmas tradition is that we always feed the animals first , we are all animal lovers and we are a big family. On Christmas lunch we make sure all the animals are fed first with special extras even the birds get extra and the bunnies get extra and the dogs are REALLY spoilt. Even the kids in the family ask “have the animals been fed yet?” its a tradition to serve our animals Christmas meals first before we eat. Serving animals first is a good way to ensure that we teach our family and generations to come to always love animals and to feed them before yourselves. It is a special family tradition which remains close to our hearts and the hearts of all our fur friends who are with and who have unfortunately passed on.

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:00 am

      I love this Lauren! It is so important to cultivate a love and respect for animals. Such a beautiful family tradition!

  4. Eden November 30, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    My fave Christmas tradition happens after all the lunch and dishes and afternoon tea. At about 8 my mom’s side of the family gathers at my aunt’s house and we eat left overs and exchange gifts and just end up chatting and laughing about the year that has passed until the early hours of the morning. Those are my favourite times and I feel incredibly blessed. ♡

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:01 am

      That’s wonderful! I feel the same. For me it’s that moment after everyone has eaten way to much and all the gifts have been opened, and you can just spend time with friends and family. Lovely.

  5. Sharleen November 30, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    A Family gathering and our tradition is a gift game at the table. We have loads of fun and lots of laughter

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:02 am

      Brilliant. I think board games are so much fun and such a great way to spend time with friends.

  6. Jenna November 30, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Each year instead of leaving milk and cookies out for Santa on Christmas
    Eve, we make our own delicious milkshakes and enjoy our favourite cookies. Milkshake flavours have included – oreo, nachtmusik, Amarula, peppermint, and Nutella. It’s a tradition we pride because it’s our own, it’s so much fun to make our own milkshakes, and it’s perfect for summer!

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:03 am

      Hehehe that’s awesome! Amarula milkshake, YUM!

  7. Kris November 30, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    I know this is ridiculous as a grown woman, but to this day I insist on watching Home Alone every year–doesn’t feel like Christmas without it! Thanks for the great blog post, really great ideas!

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:03 am

      Ah love it! Home Alone is the ultimate Christmas movie! I am so glad you enjoyed the post, good luck with the Christmas shopping.

  8. Jessica November 30, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    TBH, not much. Probably go for a walk, probably make and eat something tasty, but most importantly, just stay at home and spend time with my family around the house and do any serious work!

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:04 am

      I think this time is all about spending time with family and friends. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Janet November 30, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    Lovely video, great gift ideas,, those placemats are stunning!! I think my favourite Christmas tradition must be putting on Christmas music and spending hours putting up the tree usually on the 1 Dec. It’s just such a happy feeling, the children singing along, the cats rolling around in tinsel and baubles and this wonderful warm fuzzy feeling being absorbed. The most wonderful time of the year!

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:13 am

      Thanks so much Janet, I am glad you enjoyed it. I have to agree, putting up the tree is a lovely tradition! It just feels like Christmas after that!

  10. Kristi November 30, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    First of all, I LOVE your videos, and those gifts are my fave! I swear by Skin Creamery and wouldn’t mind finding that under my tree. ?

    My Christmas tradition is something that we’ve been doing since we were children. Now, having moved out, we still follow the same tradition, just a little different.

    First, a week or two before Christmas, we went through all our toys and clothes and gave things we haven’t played with and old clothing to needy. This has become a tradition and one I took into my own home as well, when we’re in a position to help the ones we can, we really should.

    Then, also when we were kids, we “go for a walk to look for Santa”, while my mom put the gifts out. We’re adults now, but we still believe in Santa, and every Christmas eve when all us kids get together at our family home, we still go for that evening walk while my mom gets gifts ready. It’s something I wish to pass onto my children as well, and hopefully my parents will still own the same family home!

    I would love to win that voucher, Faithful to Nature is one of my favorite online stores!

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:16 am

      Thanks so much Krisi, I am thrilled that you enjoy them! Skin Creamery is amazing! I love these traditions! I think giving is the real gift this time of year – bringing joy in someone else’s life. Enjoy this time with your friends and family!

  11. Tania November 30, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    Listening to Christmas songs and carols from 1 December every year. We love to sing along and talk about what Christmas really means!

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:16 am

      I loooove Christmas carols! Thanks so much for sharing, and happy holidays!

  12. Bianca Balutto November 30, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    My favourite Christmas tradition is having a family Christmas lunch every year and just spending quality time with family. It’s all about the simple things in life that make you appreciate everything.

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:17 am

      I totally agree Bianca. There is something so special about everyone around one table, enjoying a meal and each other’s company. Thank you for sharing!

  13. Tessa O'Halloran December 1, 2016 at 4:30 am

    Our favourite Christmas tradition is to sit outside at night and drink coffee, leaving the heat of the house and finding refuge in the peace and cool that comes with evening! We chat and laugh and listen to each other, just enjoying being here with each other.

    The best kind of gift is one that can easily be taken for granted so you have to be careful to keep yourself aware of every gift and blessing you are granted each day. Beginning with my morning coffee as I write this…. happy festive season!! X

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:19 am

      This is lovely Tessa! U completely agree. It is such a blessing to have incredible people to share this life with. For me celebrating people is what this time is all about. Happy holidays!

  14. Raeesa December 1, 2016 at 5:40 am

    Not a Christmas tradition per se, but a green tip:
    I like buying colourful fabric grocery bags from the store to use as gift bags.
    It’s a greener alternative to gift wrap, and hopefully it will be used for grocery shopping in the future which avoids the need for plastic packets.
    It’s also the same price or cheaper than gift bags!

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:20 am

      This is a great tip Raeesa, and these days you get gorgeous shopping bags that make lovely gift packages. Brilliant!

  15. Emma December 1, 2016 at 7:00 am

    My mother always liked putting more effort into Christmas Eve than Christmas Day. We’d have an awesome dinner with gammon, roast chicken and all the trimmings, plus trifle and tiramisu (and non-alcoholic versions for the kids!). Since we have quite a small family of our own, she would invite all of our unofficial ‘aunts’ and ‘uncles’ who were alone and couldn’t celebrate with their own families. This made it extra special for my sister and me because we always relished honouring the day with a whole bunch of people. She also let us open ‘one’ present in the evening but we always twisted her arm and let us open a few, near midnight. Then we’d wake up to the rest of the gifts the next day, and she could have a morning snooze instead of slaving away preparing the Christmas lunch.
    Loved seeing all the other comments, makes my heart so happy.

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:23 am

      I love this Emma. It is so special to have everyone together on one roof. Personally I enjoy a big feast on Christmas eve and then picking the leftovers on Christmas day. Thanks so much for sharing!

  16. Lynnith Andreou December 1, 2016 at 8:23 am

    Hi there!
    Our favourite tradition at Christmas is after all the eating, unwrapping, craziness, of christmas day, we sit around the piano, kids passed out somewhere, and sing carols. I can remember hearing my aunts and uncles singing carols on christmas night after all the festivities, and they sounded like angels. ??

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:24 am

      This is such a special tradition, I love it! You are lucky to have music in your family! Thanks so much for sharing.

  17. Marelize December 1, 2016 at 11:48 am

    It’s so easy to always want to stick to your own idea of childhood traditions, but when your life changes, you incorporate a completely different idea of traditions. Almost four years ago, I met the man who became my fiance this year. Since that December, my tradition would be to stress about finding the perfect “him” gift. I was never a big Christmas person per se, but suddenly, I was part of his part British household, his mom, childishly excited about Christmas and him, claiming NOT to like Christmas, ripping open an advent calendar also with a childlike joy.

    I was suddenly spending my Christmas in Cape Town and we would travel to my parents’ house the next day. My first Christmas away from the parents was VERY Christmassy … and fantastic.
    From there on, my Christmas with the fiance and his family became a tradition. From the beginning of December we exchange advent calendars. His mom gets out her tatty old notebook and starts writing up lists: groceries for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, the Boxing Day braai. We spend weekends opening up packets of Quality Streets and arguing who gets the tasty ones (God forbid you eat all the good ones and leave the orange ones). On Christmas Eve, I now help to stuff the turkey. On Christmas mornings, we wake up at the crack of dawn, walk down to the Bishops Chapel for my future-father-in-law’s Christmas service (he is a chapelin and priets), we all gather in their small home on the school property and have a laugh as we rip shiny paper off thoughtful gifts while the two Scottish terriers relish in the chaos. Then, the feast truly starts as we sit down to eat the well-planned meal.

    Traditions can change, but I believe they should always include the ones you love, no matter in which province you spend it. And yes, we include my Eastern Cape parents in the Cape Town Christmas as well!

    So the gist of my essay? I NEED this voucher – I have a LOT of excited family members who are keen on their presents! :)))))

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:26 am

      I agree Marelize, when we grow up we get to make or adopt our own traditions and that is awesome. How special to think one day we can pass on happy Christmas traditions to our kids and hopefully they will talk about them with fondness. Thanks so much for sharing and for entering the competition. Fingers crossed!

  18. Nicole Felix December 1, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Our famous Christmas tradition is we open our presents on Christmas eve and we see how fast we can open them. Always ends up with mad laughter. As children my parents tried to keep things fair amongst the sisters, so we would get our presents at the same time and then rip the paper off to be the first one to see what we got 🙂

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:27 am

      So much fun! I think that is such a cute way to have fun with it all. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Naidene Cooper December 1, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    We have a pre Christmas eve party every year with our closest friends and family. It is complete with champagne, eggnog, cheese balls and a the most festive 7 layered salad. We don’t do gifts but everyone brings a bag of cat or dog food or treats which we donate to our local animal shelter.

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:33 am

      This is brilliant Naidene. We have a similar tradition with our friends and we were wondering how we could give back this year. I think the idea of food for a shelter is wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

  20. Megan Hartwig December 2, 2016 at 9:19 am

    I am a child at heart, Christmas decorations, lights, carols, scents, Cooking and baking, family gathering and exchanging gifts, watching favourite Christmas shows/Movies, can’t forget the eggnog, priceless moments and looks on everyone faces.

    Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2016. xx

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:36 am

      Ah this is lovely Megan! I couldn’t agree more, this is the time of year to embrace all those happy childhood traditions (with eggnog- hehehe). Thanks for sharing!

  21. Roxanne Chutthergoon December 2, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    We always pop Christmas crackers at 05:00 in the morning on Christmas morning itself before opening the gifts!

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:37 am

      So much fun! Thanks for sharing!

  22. jackie katzen December 2, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    My fav Christmas tradition – I cook up a huge pot of prawns, a mountain of garlic bread and my hubby and I have a picnic in the garden, followed by Magnum ice creams and a lovely afternoon nap, just the two of us. I look forward to it every year

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:38 am

      Yum! That sounds so good Jackie! Also, afternoon naps are what holidays are for. Thanks so much for sharing!

  23. Andrea December 3, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Our favourite Christmas tradition is to cook up Christmas meal with all the bells and whistles; and share it with the family next to us. Her husband had two strokes and she lives in poverty – so we always share with her and her family. It always puts a smile on my face to see her happy as she is such a nice lady.

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:39 am

      I think this is awesome Andrea! It is so important to remember people who are struggling at this time of year and to give them warmth and compassion. Well done! Thanks so much for sharing.

  24. KELLEY PETERSEN December 3, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    My favourite festive season tradition is making fruit mince pies, and looking through family photo albums.

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:40 am

      Wonderful! Fruit mince pies are one of my ultimate treats this time of the year! Soooo good!

  25. nikki sykes December 5, 2016 at 10:24 am

    Decorating the Christmas tree while listening to Michael Buble.

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:40 am

      Michael Buble has become the mascot for Christmas in my mind! His voice is velvet! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  26. Robyn December 6, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    My favorite family tradition is our Christmas stockings. Everyone in the family buys small gifts for them and so at the end of the day we all get a stocking filled with random items. This years rule is that they have to be wrapped in newspaper (recycling) and I’ve actually bought all of my gifts from Faithful to Nature for them (think bamboo toothbrushes).

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:42 am

      That sounds loveyl Robyn. And yes please for Bamboo toothbrushes, so clever! I think stockings are so much fun! You can so much to look forward to! Thanks for sharing.

  27. Dani December 6, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    Reading all these comments really warmed my heart. It’s good to know that people still value the meaning of Christmas amidst all the shiny material objects. You’re all blessed to have wonderful families to share the festivities with.

    My most favourite Christmas tradition was waking up to my Oupa (grandpa) sitting in the lounge, who was always be awake at four o clock every morning. He’d obviously wake up waaay earlier than my mom and would usually try keeping us busy on any other day, but on Christmas day, he’d always whisper that we should wake her so that we could open our gifts. He was a modest man and didn’t care much for material things (even though my mom would spoil him every year) but when asked what he’d like for Christmas, he’d always respond, “just a few beers under the tree for an old man to enjoy.”

    Every Christmas that has passed since he left us, we have said a special prayer for him before lunch. This has become my new favourite Christmas tradition.

    I know this is already incredibly long(sorry!), but I hope you have a blessed Christmas, everyone!

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:43 am

      I love this Dani! It sounds like your Oupa had a good sense of humour and it is special that you could have a close relationship with him. Thank you for sharing this happy memory, it made me smile!

  28. Lizelle Van Gogh December 6, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    Decorating the Christmas tree and having friends and family over for my mom gammon with apricot glaze

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:44 am

      YUM! Gammon with Apricot Glaze sounds incredible. Stomach rumbling!! What a lovely tradition, thank you for sharing 🙂

  29. Cathy Badenhorst December 6, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    our favourite Christmas tradition is to get all the family together on Christmas Eve for a wonderful dinner. Each one contributes to the meal by bringing a prepared dish with them….we all vote and request our most popular dishes cooked by family members so we get at least 3 starters, 3 main meals, 4 veg dishes, 3 salads, and at least 3 desserts. We always have a wonderful meal together and then at 11pm we share and open presents.

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:48 am

      This is a great idea! That way everyone gets to contribute a special dish. Thank you for sharing!

  30. Daniela Cardoso December 6, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    my favourite is putting on our old Christmas CD’s and singing along whilst baking up a huge batch of ginger bread biscuits on Christmas Eve morning… how the whole house smells so divine too

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:50 am

      Oooh brilliant! I love baking, it fills your entire home with the most wonderful, comforting scents. Thank you for sharing!

  31. Rachaelle December 7, 2016 at 6:22 am

    Putting up and decorating the Christmas Tree

    1. Malherbe Liezel December 7, 2016 at 11:50 am

      Definitely! Thanks so much for sharing, good luck!


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