Published 19 November 2017 ● Last Updated on 11 August 2020

With Christmas around the corner and over a dozen matters to attend to before the end of the year, should you spend time reading yet another guide for gifts where the ideas are [most likely] wasteful, tacky and overpriced!

Yes, THIS ONE you absolutely must- for 2 key reasons. Firstly, this Christmas gift ideas list has been created using powerful green-o-meters [my eyes :-)] from a multitude of options in the world of eco-friendly lifestyle products. Secondly and more importantly, each option on the list is priced at under US$100 [SG$136*].

Disclaimer: I am aware that I hazard a risk to the ‘eco-friendly’ tag by including paperback books in the Secondsguru eco friendly gifts list, but honestly (and I have a feeling many of you will agree), as long as books are shared forward after self- reading, they are necessary in the gadget-crazy world we live.

Gift for under-5-yr olds 

If you are looking for something as adorable as the little one you are gifting to, check out the jumpsuits from Hunter and Boo priced at SG$39. The organic cotton material and non-toxic dyes make these an ideal gift for this age group. Keen to instil and nurture the love of reading in the little bubs? You can gift a book subscription box from Josh and Cherry books. Select a monthly subscription at SG$27.90/month, or a 6 month one at SG$26.90/month. The books are curated from internationally acclaimed titles by the founders and sent to the recipient on a monthly basis in a secret box. Already have a book that came in the box? No problem, an easy book swap policy is at hand. Alternatively, gift the angels an experience of meeting and playing with other kids at the indoor playground facility at Polliwogs, Singapore- various locations. You can pick up tickets for SG$20 online for a use of the facility for 2 full hours on the designated day.  

josh and cherie gift box christmas gift idea under 100 dollars for kids
Image credit: Josh and Cherie books

Gift for 5-10 yr olds

Ideal for kids aged 5-10, who are hungry for information, the Stacey and the museums series books are priced at SG$72 for a set of 5 books. These are a great way to discover the rich heritage of Singapore. All the books are about a girl called Stacey and her adventures as she explores a variety of museums in Singapore. For the more out and about 5-10 yr olds, you can gift them an outdoorsy experience at the kids course from Forest Adventure, Singapore.  The kids course is priced at SG$36 per child (min height requirement 3 ft 6”) and SG$20 for an accompanying adult/ buddy over 14yrs. Psst, I would recommend confirming with the ‘accompanying adult/buddy’ in question before purchasing this gift! See the outline of the course area below for a ready reference.

forest adventure kids and junior course
A visual snapshot of the outdoor courses at Forest Adventure. Image credit: Forest Adventure, Singapore

Gift for the tweens and teens

By and large, the trickiest age group to give a gift to. They don’t mince words while stating their opinion and know exactly what they want. To play safe, therefore, I took my ‘tween’ager’s opinion before listing down the recommendations on this one. If you want to be perceived as the cool aunt/uncle/parent, look at the Premji 20L Daypack by Ethnotek backpack priced at US$89 [SG$ 121*]. Eco-friendly and aesthetically pleasing- the body of the bag is made of waterproof recycled PET bottles, and the embroidered, weaved or printed ‘thread’ part is handmade by partner artisans the brand supports. This ‘thread’ part is detachable and can be replaced by a new pattern in case of wear and tear without having to change the entire bag! Another option which would serve the dual purpose of getting the kids away from tech gizmos and enjoying the outdoors would be a gift of an experience at the Grand Course at Forest Adventure, Singapore. Priced at SG$50, the experience takes about 2.5 hours and has 44 obstacles to clear.

ethnotek bagpack recycled PET bottle bag hand crafted
Eco-cool backpack. Image Credit: Ethnotek

Gift for the alcohol connoisseur

Whisky lover? Smoky Whisky even better? Look no further. The Old fashioned Organic Infusion Kit priced at US$38 [SG$ 51*] by Bambeco is the ideal gift. Meant for amateur mixologists, the kit comes with a step-by-step guide and makes creating this classic cocktail unusually simple. Beer lover? Pick this DIY beer making kit priced at US$52 (SG$70*) by Bambeco instead. You will love this, Bambeco has a carbonfree shipping policy [What is carbon-free shipping?], and hence rates particularly high on my green-o-meter.

If he/she prefers artisan wines, you can buy a wine tasting experience at Bacco wines, in Robertson Quay. Priced at SG$35, there are two sessions lined up in December 2017, one on Wednesday December 13th and another one on Thursday, December 21st. At Bacco the wine tasting experience, the guests are exposed to a variety of wines over a 2 hour period, these are handpicked wines made following the principles of SLOW [Small-production, Local-grape, Organic, Wine] production.

Old fashioned infusion kit bambeco secondsguru
Image Credit: Bambeco

Gift for one who belongs to the eat healthy brigade

The Boxgreen gift boxes are an option worth considering for those who are careful about what they snack on. They will love the fact that they use only natural ingredients which are portion controlled and nutritionist approved. My pick is the Superfoodbox without a doubt. Have a locavore friend/family member who you need to get a gift for? You can pick up a gift voucher from Open farm Community, Singapore’s one of a kind restaurant that marries in-house and locally grown ingredients [at their 35000 sqft farm space] with artisan cooking in the heart of Singapore. The vouchers, starting from SG$25, have a validity of 3 months and can be purchased here.

boxgreen healthy snacks christmas gift list secondsguru
A sample healthy snack gift box. Image credit: Boxgreen


Gift for a special couple

This one has to be, cliches aside, different. Check out Singapore based social enterprise, Sondersocial which offers you an opportunity to gift a curated box of handcrafted and mindful items from the Asia Pacific region. The contents of the box are a surprise to the giver and the recipient – all you know at the outset is that there are 6 goodies ranging from food to home decor to fashion, art, beauty. For the month of December, the box on offer is the Gratitude box. Priced at SG$79/quarter, you can order a box for this quarter and once it reaches the recipient, just cancel the subscription prior to the next billing cycle. You can gift them a gift voucher from Open Farm community too. Great food, fabulous ambience for a romantic dinner for two. For a couple, a voucher worth SG$ 100, would be good for a main and a dessert each. The OFC vouchers have a validity of 3 months and can be purchased here.

sondersocial christmas gift ideas secondsguru
‘Gratitude’ gift box. Image Credit: Sondersocial

Gift for the special girl

If your girl is a green diva, she will love the handmade Barkcloth tote by Coopita. Sourced from Cinta Bumi Artists in Central Sulawesi region of Indonesia, these bags are made by using ethically sourced and naturally dyed barkcloth. Priced at SG$95, it is spacious and comes with a pocket and lining inside. Is she a book lover? Gift her a 3-month subscription box from Books Actually priced at SG$129 [under US$ 100 still!]. The best part: You can handpick the curator who will select a surprise book every month for the box, the curator profiles are here. Fuss-free book replacement available in the unlikely event that she has already read the book sent to her. Want an accessory for her? Pick up the Gael neckpiece from Taikensonzai. Priced at SG$ 59 and handmade using recycled cotton jersey and beads in Singapore by Adel Ng, the enterprising founder of this local brand, this piece is a conversation starter. 

coopita barkcloth tote bag secondsguru christmas gift list
Barkcloth tote bag. Image credit: Coopita

Gift for the guy who makes you feel special

Get an upcycled vinyl wallet (from the famous red taxi seats in Hong Kong) Handsome Co. for the special guy in your life- whether your dad or partner! This wallet is versatile, stylish and has a remarkable history. Priced at US$45 [SG$ 61*], its minimalist design with a pop of red will make heads turn. Another eco-cool idea is the Indosol Men’s Prahu Boat shoe in a cool stone colour with canvas lining. This elegant pair of shoes are handcrafted by upcycling tyre soles, are washable and priced at US$ 60 [SG$ 81*]. The designer recommends ordering a pair that is ½ a size bigger than usual.

indosol mens washable shoes christmas gift ideas for men secondsguru
Recycled tyre sole Shoe. Image credit: Phatrice

Still not able to make up your mind? It’s perfectly normal. The best solution to this dilemma is to get a gift card from your favourite store (unless you know the store they like). This way you will give something they will use rather than an eco-friendly item they will not!

Now, that’s called being mindful and eco-friendly!

We love hearing from our readers, so do comment on this article if you have ideas to add to this list.

* USD/SGD rate at the time of writing.



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