Christmas is about giving, but as the world continues to fill with more single-use junk, there's a whole lot more pressure to find that perfect festive gift that isn't just more *stuff* that's doomed to head straight for the Salvos bin.
Short of doing all your Christmas shopping at vintage stores and op shops (highly recommend), making all your Christmas gifts (we've got you covered here), or not giving gifts at all, we've come up with a list of do-good foodie gifts that are ethical, sustainable or give back to the community.
No gag gifts or useless kitchen appliances here (anyone want an electric can opener?), this list is full of ideas your food-loving friends and family will actually want, but also things that can all be bought online. So take those novelty socks out of the cart, and feel that golden glow of smugness shine upon you as you purchase these world-bettering gifts.
Hey Tiger's Christmas chocolate range Photo: Supplied
For the sweet tooth who wants more from their block: Hey Tiger Chocolate
Beauty isn't just skin-deep with these supermodel-status chocolates – Melbourne chocolatiers Hey Tiger ethically source their premium cocoa from suppliers who pay farmers above-market price and carefully handpick traders who support local communities with education and sanitation facilities. The beautifully packaged brand also donate 50 cents per full block and 25 cents per mini bar to the The Hunger Project, which aims to support everything from micro-loans for women farmers to childhood education programs and HIV prevention. With Christmas flavours like the cinnamon-spiced "Chrissy Sweater" and the vegan mulled-wine jelly "Light the Night", these blocks bring more than just the end to hanger.
Goodwill Wine. Photo: Supplied
For the one who tags you in articles about how drinking wine is good for you: Goodwill Wine
Turns out your next shiraz can save the world, this social-impact wine shop donates 50 per cent of its profits to the charity of your choice, from Asylum Seekers Resource Center to Animals Australia to Food For Change and 300 more. Founded by David Laity, who lost most of what he owned in the Black Saturday bushfires 10 years ago, Goodwill Wine sources high quality wines at a fraction of the cellar door price in order to donate as much as possible to those in need. Stock up this Christmas on Coonawarra cab-savs, Yarra Valley pinot noir and more, and take your Christmas cheer with a side of smugness.
The Two Good Cookbook. Photo: Supplied
For the cook in your family who is stuck in a pasta rut: Two Good Cookbook
Kings Cross-based meal donation service, Two Good, have collated some of their best recipes and chefs' stories into a pretty inspiring cookbook featuring bespoke stories from Aussie writers Thomas Keneally, Liane Moriarty, Markus Zusak and 70 recipes packed with love from revered chefs Neil Perry, Skye Gyngell, Nigella Lawson, Maggie Beer and Peter Gilmore. While the pages are filled with easy-to-make recipes for soups, salads, pasta, braises and sweets, its real purpose is to celebrate the Two Good story and their community – 100 per cent of the profits go toward their mission of supporting domestic abuse survivors in women's refuge shelters.
Amber Drop Honey. Photo: Supplied
For the person whose midnight snack of choice is always toast: Amber Drop Honey
We all know how important the bees are (thank you, Sir David Attenborough et al.) and how genuine Australian honey is harder and harder to come by. But this NSW honey is not only locally made (co-founder Sven rescues unwanted hives from homes without exterminating them), every jar, gift box or waste-free compostable honey pouch purchase sees 5 per cent of the sale donated to Save the Bees Australia.
SisterWorks fig jam. Photo: Supplied
For the person who always asks the chef/waiter/maker for the recipe: Sisterworks condiments
We love eating food, we love cooking food, but we also love how food brings everyone together, and the jars from Melbourne-based, not-for-profit SisterWorks are especially uniting. The social enterprise supports female refugees, asylum seekers and migrants by not only helping to find opportunities for education, employment, entrepreneurship, but also by sharing their recipes. SisterWorks has an online marketplace for the newly settled women to sell their locally made, traditional sauces and condiments from their homeland. Try Sister Entrepreneur Andy's traditional XO spice sauce using aged cognac, Syrian eggplant pickle from maker Jouama, traditional Congolese sabol (African spice salsa) by Sido, and many more authentic goods.
Beysis Cotton shopper. Online Photo: Supplied
For the grocery purchaser who always Instagrams from the farmers' market: Beysis cotton shopper
Reusable bags seem to have a habit of wandering off to some sort of unknown purgatory – especially when you happen to be right at the checkout juggling five cans of tomatoes and a bottle of milk – so an extra tote to stash in the car boot/backpack/under the office desk/in your bra is always a good gift idea. This one comes with the bonus of being super chic, super light, super strong (the bag carries up to 8kg), and with the super power to educate disadvantaged girls. Profits from the sale of all Beysis Shoppers are donated to Project Change International, an Aussie charity and social enterprise that empowers and enables women and girls in Cambodia to exit the poverty cycle independently. That's the best $5 we've ever spent.
Oxfam Unwrapped. Photo: Supplied
For the person who doesn't want (or need) gifts: a pineapple farm from Oxfam Unwrapped
Did you know pineapples are some of the hardiest fruits to grow? This gift trains locals with innovative farming methods in places like Vanuatu to grow pineapples out of season, which can therefore be sold at market for a higher price. This can earn farmers bigger overall profits and provide a valuable source of food and income year-round. You can also choose to donate seeds, animals and education, personalise the gift with a bespoke card, and earn major pats on the back from the fam.
Stone & Wood's range. Photo: Supplied
For the beer drinker with a conscience: a Stone & Wood carton of beer
This Byron-born, NSW Rivers-brewed craft beer company have long been known to use their Aussie ales as a force for good (the B-Corp-certified business dedicates itself to positive change in the community and environment, like using less water and energy to produce their beer, recycling brewing waste and more). And this summer, as many parts of NSW have been razed by the bushfires, Stone & Wood are directly donating $1 per Tasting Paddle sold in their Byron Bay and Brisbane breweries and $2 from every carton purchased from their online store to the NSW regional fire services based on the North Coast, Mid North Coast and Mid Coast, along with South East Queensland until the end of January 2020. We'll raise a glass to that.
Seed & Sprout reusable stretch lids. Photo: Supplied
For the person who won't throw anything out: Seed & Sprout reusable stretch lids
Give your mates the gift of never having to gag at the sight (and smell) of that blue furry thing hiding in the bottom of the fridge drawer with these handy, reusable stretch lids. These versatile stretch lids come from online Aussie-based sustainable shop Seed & Sprout, who offer everything from sustainable cookware to compost bins. Owner Sophie not only plants a tree with every purchase, but sends a plantable seed card with every order, too, and this year, all profits from the Christmas gift-wrapping service will go directly to WIRES' (NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc.) bushfire relief fund.
Botanic Garden Grown Gin. Photo: Supplied
For the green thumb who also appreciates G&T hour: one of the last bottles of Botanic Garden Grown Gin
Even us black thumbs can feel good about this bottle of gin – all sale proceeds go toward preserving Australia's precious biodiversity through seed collection, seed banking, and conservation research and training. This limited-edition gin (only 1000 were bottled) was launched as a collaboration between Garden Grown Gin and the Australian Botanic Garden in honour of the Mount Annan Garden's 30th anniversary last year. The gin, which is distilled with native botanicals such as ginger rhizome, Mount White lime, orange berry, wombat berry, macadamia and Bunya pine nut, is almost sold out, visit BoozeBud to get one of the last remaining bottles.