Not Just for Christmas – How to Buy Gifts for Life

Tara Button – founder of BuyMeOnce and author of A Life Less Throwaway – shares her advice for buying a gift that will be treasured for years to come.

Christmas got a bit awkward in my family for a while.  As the founder of a website that sells the most sustainable and longest lasting products on the planet, whenever someone bought something a bit throwaway or unsustainable, it was often accompanied by a “Sorry darling, it’s not very BuyMeOnce!” 

The trouble is, our culture, our families and sometimes our friends expect STUFF. The idea of going over to another person’s house over Christmas empty-handed can feel like turning up with no clothes on –  exposing, uncomfortable… cold. 

This can lead to panic buying novelty gifts that will raise a giggle when opened but then simply become clutter in that person’s life.  These gifts become something that must “do its time” in a drawer or on a shelf before the recipient feels justified in guiltily getting rid of it. 

I firmly believe that gifts should be for life, not just for Christmas. A product that can be useful well into the future almost always is the most eco-friendly option, as it means no new products need to be manufactured to replace it. 

How to buy for life at Christmas: 

Products that have a story and meaning in their own right, or have the potential to become an heirloom item becoming more meaningful over time, are always going to be the most cherished gifts. We’ve started a secret santa tradition between adults as this way one higher quality item can be bought rather than a splurge of littler bits and bobs. 

Before buying always ask:

Do they need it?
Is it in line with your values and theirs?
Will they use it well into the future?
Will it hold its value? 

Gifts for Her

Buy upcycled

Elvis and Kresse clutch bag, £150
Made from salvaged leather and fire-hoses that would otherwise have gone to landfill, Elvis and Kresse make one man’s trash a treasure. 

Buy ethical

Lowie snow jumper, £168 
Lowie uses 100% British wool, ethical manufacture and offers a lifetime of free repairs on their timeless designs. 

Buy for bees

Joy Everley bee necklace, £74
Joy uses fair trade and recycled precious metals to make her exquisite pieces. 10% of the price goes to the British Beekeepers association. 

Buy cradle to cradle

Ally Bee Alpaca hat, £59
Nothing is softer. British alpaca wool with no dyes create an heirloom quality hat. Ally will do free repairs for the first 3 years and at a fair price after that. 

Buy durable

Swedish stockings, £18
Swedish stockings are the only sustainable hosiery brand. Most importantly they use 3D technology to make them upper snag resistant. That’s what women want! 

Buy Zero Waste

Beeswax wrap pack, £20
A plastic-free, attractive and clever alternative to cling film from the Beeswax Wrap Co. Bless those bees!

Buy Heirloom

Richmond kettle, £225
With care, this handmade hob kettle can last your lifetime and that of your children. Loved by British royalty, it’s beauty ensures its longevity. 

Gifts for Him

Buy Selvedge

Blackhorse Lane Ateliers jeans, £180
Reinforced and made from ultra-durable raw denim, these exquisite jeans are guaranteed with free repairs for life. Also available in organic denim. 

Buy invincible 

Solidteknics frying pan, £127.90
Naturally non stick, with no chemicals and half the weight of cast iron, this pan comes with a multi-century warrantee. 

Buy plastic free

Thomas clipper razor, £79
No more plastic razor heads in landfill! This stunning solid metal double-edged safety razor makes for the perfect close shave with less irritation.

Buy durable

Both barrels backpack, £230
Made with military grade ballistic nylon and ultra durable wool, this timeless bag protects a laptop, perfect for the commuter. 

Buy Reclaimed

Elvis and Kresse wallet, £75
Made from firehose that would have gone to landfill, this is a modern classic which E&K will also fix if it ever goes wrong. 

Buy the toughest 

Darn Tough socks, £23
These are the most comfy socks on the planet and lifetime guaranteed. Socks with no holes, no rubbing, no losing elasticity and no crispyness in the wash. Made from merino wool and seamless genius. 

For kids

Did you know that half of kids toys are broken within 3 months? Find products that are durable enough to become hand me downs or that can grow with the child for a couple of years. 

Buy versatile 

Wishbone bike, £149.99
This bike is made of 100% recycled materials and its genius adjustable seat means it fits kids from one year old to six.

Buy sustainable

Plan toys fruit set, £21.35
Made from wood from sustainable sources, these toys are unbreakable and a favourite with toddlers practicing their motor skills by cutting the fruit… for hours and hours.

Buy repurposed

Mini Bili Velveteen dress, £30.00
Made from repurposed cotton velvet, this stunning nostalgic winter dress comes with a lifetime of free fixing. 

Wrap it up

Buy Reusable

Wrag Wrap reusable wrapping paper, £8.50
Wrag wrap is made with recycled bottles and crackles deliciously when opened. The patterns are reversible and can be used indefinitely. 

For more gift inspiration, see our ultimate Eco-Age Christmas gift guide and sustainable Christmas gift ideas for children.