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Ten Secret Santa Ideas under $10 that are good for the planet, your friends and your pocket

Christmas is here, well almost. Among other delightful festivities tis also the season for Secret Santa and gift shopping. Secret Santa is a popular tradition in the United States and now in various parts of the world, where members of a community family exchange gifts without revealing the identity of the gift giver. There are many theories regarding the origin of this Christmas game. Most of them trace the origins of Secret Santa to a Scandinavian tradition ‘Julklapp’, where the gift-giver has to knock loudly (klapp) on the door and either throw the gift (Jul) inside the house or leave the gift without being seen.

Other theories link the game of Secret Santa to Witchel (fairies who help Santa deliver presents on Christmas) in German folklore. The Oxford English Dictionary first recorded a reference to the word ‘Secret Santa’ in 1933. The term referred to a rather sad story about an 88-year old Civil-War veteran in Danville, Virginia, who when faced with a declining fortune, gave away free gifts to children in the village and took his life afterwards.

Irrespective of the story you believe, Secret Santa celebrates the spirit of sharing joy and giving happiness to others on Christmas. With this spirit of Christmas in mind, here are ten gifts under $10 that are good for people and the planet.

1. The Decomposition pocket notebook by Biome ($8.95)

Biome creates products that are toxin free, vegan, cruelty free, involve zero waste, and no exploitation. The Decomposition pocket note book is one of their many planet-friendly products. The Wild Garden edition of this notebook is my personal favourite. Made of 100% recycled paper, these notebooks with beautiful cover art come with ruled pages and are sized perfectly to fit the pocket. This is a gift that will make the receiver and giver proud and the environment happy.

2. The Swedish Dish Sponge Cloth – Australia by Biome ($7.95)

Another beautiful and sustainable option from Biome is a Swedish Dish Sponge Cloth. Made from pure natural plant fibres, this soft and super-absorbent cloth is reusable, recyclable and compostable. The cloth, made in Sweden, has lovely motifs that depict Australia. It will make a beautiful, responsible, and extremely useful Secret Santa gift for anyone this Christmas. At the same time, your purchase will encourage a local eco-friendly initiative.

3. Green + Kind Stainless Steel Bent Straws by Flora & Fauna ($9.95)

Everything available at Flora & Fauna is 100% recyclable. In fact, they even accept old plastic bottles or other products and upcycle them to make other products. The Stainless Steel Bent Straws are an example of the organisation’s dedication towards ethical and environment-friendly business practices. The set of two steel straws and a cleaning brush come in a cute eco-friendly bag. Gift this to the smoothie-loving friend and help the oceans at the same time this Christmas.

4. Buddy Scrub Face Mask - Green Tea from Flora & Fauna ($9.95)

An instant delight for anyone who gets this as their Secret Santa gift. For who doesn’t like a bit of self-care motivation during the holidays? The Buddy Scrub Face Mask with Green tea and Kaolin clay from Flora & Fauna is vegan and cruelty free and suitable for all skin types. The natural extracts in this product will add a glow to your skin, and a sparkle for the planet.

5. Heart Dishes Assorted Colours from ISSARA

When you choose to gift this beautiful Heart Dish by ISSARA you do good in more than one way. ISSARA, a ‘100% social enterprise’ curates hand-crafted home and lifestyle products which are exclusively fair trade. Their profits fund initiatives to end poverty and inequality and create more economic opportunities for artisans. They also support initiatives to end human trafficking. The Heart Dish, available in assorted colours, is handcrafted by Kenyan Soapstone craftsmen and women, and makes for truly unique Christmas or Secret Santa gift.

6. Flower Decor Incense Lavender Provence from ISSARA ($3.95)

Lavender creates an environment of calm and serenity. The Flower Decor Incense Lavender Provence are a great to share essence of Christmas: peace, joy and goodwill, with your friends and colleagues. Available in pack of 12, these fragrant incense sticks by ISSARA are handcrafted in India and their sale, like those of other ISSARA products, benefits several social causes.

7. Tin Sunflower Magnets by Ethical Gifts ($8.00)

As the name suggests, Ethical Gifts has eco-friendly and unique fare trade gifts. The profits from the sale of these recycled craft-wares goes to support the artisans and their families. The Tin Sunflower Magnets by Ethical Gifts will instantly brighten up any indoor space. The bright yellow Sunflower shaped magnets are handmade from painted recycled metals, are fairly traded and eco-friendly. It is a great pick for quirky Secret Santa gift.

8. Henry Hippo by Ethical Gifts ($8.95)

In addition to being quirky, Henry Hippo from Ethical gifts is adorably cute. These chubby sandstone Hippos from Kenya have been hand-carved, and hand painted by artists. Just like all the products sold by Ethical Gifts, the earnings from the sale Henry Hippo will benefit the artisan community as well. Henry Hippo will definitely bring its receiver this Christmas.

9. Fiesta Coaster, Assorted Colours from Oxfam Australia ($9.95)

Oxfam shop furthers Oxfam’s objective of ending poverty and inequality in the world by partnering with artisans and farmers across the globe. Their fair trade and fair wage products not just unique, their sale supports artists and farmers and communities which work towards poverty eradication in the world. The Fiesta coaster is one of the many artistic products available at Oxfam shop. Made of babul and resin by artisans in India, these coasters are available in various colours. You can mix and match to create a perfect set. Your purchase will not just make a co-worker happy it will help communities across the world this Christmas.

10. Engraved Brass Box from Oxfam Australia ($9.95)

This exquisite piece from the Oxfam shop is one to be treasured. The Engraved Brass Box, with its intricate working, is a no doubt a Secret Santa gift for connoisseurs. The box in itself is versatile. It can be used to store small trinkets, or just as a décor piece. More than anything, the gift of this box marks the true spirit of Christmas; it gives back to world from which we take so much.

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