This post is part of a paid partnership with Social Enterprise Scotland to promote their gift directory
If, like me, you're starting to plan your Christmas shopping and looking to shop local for unique gifts that also do good, this post is for you.
Buy Social Scotland is an amazing initiative with a directory of local and ethical gifts from social enterprises across Scotland. There is something for every budget and you can find everything from a Build Your Own Ukulele Class to Christmas Spiced Gin.
At a time when many of us are looking for ways to be more environmentally friendly, there are also lots of eco gifts to choose from including reusable snack bags, reusable glass coffee cups and plastic free Christmas crackers.
I love this website as I have been able to source some unusual gifts and support businesses that actively reinvest their profits to do good in the community.
I've listed 15 of my favourite picks below but with over 200 items in the directory, this is just a wee taste of what is available.
Check out the full gift directory here
1. Handmade Chutneys from The Kitchen at Langloch Farm
Chutneys are a great versatile foodie gift as they go with so many things. I personally put chutney on just about everything from sandwiches to scrambled eggs! These handmade chutneys from The Kitchen at Langloch Farm sound delish with flavours that include Spiced Plum, Green Tomato & Apple, Green Pepper & Chilli, Beetroot.
Buying them supports the Clydesdale Community Initiative, an award winning Social Enterprise with a core mission to enable anyone who would like to make a contribution to their community to do so with the support of Placement Support Workers. All production processes are carried out by participants and volunteers and all ingredients and raw materials are sourced locally (many grown on site at Langloch) and eco friendly packaging is a must for all finished products.
2. Passion Fruit Truffles from Grace Chocolates
These sound totally yummy, with a fresh passion fruit filling encased in the finest Belgian chocolate and drizzled with a luxurious ruby chocolate. I'm sure any chocolate lover would be very appreciative of these, I'd certainly be happy to find them under my tree this year.
Grace Chocolates are handmade by women who have touched the Scottish criminal justice system and are choosing to make positive changes in their lives. Through making and selling chocolates the women receive support, training, work experience and the opportunity to raise their self- esteem and resilience which helps lower the barriers they face in finding meaningful work.
3. Scottish Cheese Selection from Loch Arthur Farm Shop
This selection of Scottish cheeses includes Loch Arthur Farmhouse, Lanark Blue, Paddy’s Milestone, Bonnet goat’s milk cheese and a packet of Galloway oatcakes and will please any cheeseaholic. I'm also thinking a wee jar of the chutney from The Kitchen at Langloch Farm mentioned above would be a perfect addition.
Loch Arthur Farm Shop and Cafe is a working community near Dumfries, South West Scotland, which includes men and women with learning disabilities. Loch Arthur is a shared way of life in a modern rural Community which offers security as well as support for through the challenges of daily life. They are committed to the fulfilment of the individual through a diversity of relationships and activities which create authentic social integration.
FOR THE HOME AND GARDEN
4. Bee Bomb Flower Seeds from Cambo Gardens
This is an ideal gift for anyone wanting to make their garden more wildlife friendly. Right now, 35 bee species face extinction. Many plants would not be able to fertilise without bees and we need bees to fertilise many of our crops. Wildflowers not only look lovely but they help bees to survive and thrive so this is a win win garden gift.
Buying one also supports the Cambo Heritage Trust was established in 1998 to promote horticulture, education, arts and heritage at Cambo Estate. Over the last three years Cambo Heritage Trust has engaged with over 2500 children, 500 young people, 3000 adults and 1000 supported adults through their learning & engagement programmes. They have facilitated over 5,500 days of volunteering or a range of horticultural, environmental and traditional skills projects.
5. Happy Place Candle from Kindness & Co
I don't know anyone who doesn't love a scented candle. The aroma and flickering flame add a relaxing ambience to any home and add a bit of coorie in the winter. Personally, I always have one lit on my desk when I'm working to keep me calm! I chose this one as not only do I love the sound of the scent 'Lemongrass & Ginger with notes of Sicilian lemons, juicy limes, nutmeg and eucalyptus', I also love that it is is designed for your 'Happy Place'.
Nicola, the founder of social enterprise Kindness & Co started the South Ayrshire School Clothing Bank in 2017, a charity which supplies new school uniforms and warm coats to children and families experiencing financial hardship in South Ayrshire. Through this work she met many more charities that she wanted to be able to help and so all the profits from the sale of her hand poured candles, room diffusers and wax melts go to helping a range of local organisations that deliver a positive impact in the community.
6. Port Charlotte Pier Print from Isle Develop
I know I'm not alone in collecting artwork to remind me of places I've visited on my travels around Scotland. This print of Islay really caught my eye and it would lovely finished off with a nice frame. If you know an Islay lover, this will be sure to bring back some happy memories and a smile to their face.
Isle20 - Go island shopping is a shopping directory to support small island businesses in Scotland during Covid-19. While the social enterprise is based in Tiree it sells products from across the Scottish Island community. I've long been a fan and even have my own wee shop on their website.
7. Spirulina Face Mask from Creative Strathaven
If you know someone that loves to pamper themselves or someone that deserves a wee bit of time out for self care, this face mask would be a lovely 'chill out' gift. The ingredients can help detox the skin, fight free radicals and also contain anti bacterial properties which can help fight acne prone skin. The mask also contains Organic Lemongrass essential oil which gives a lovely uplifting scent to the mask and helps encourage good skin tone and a glowing complexion.
Buying the mask supports Creative Strathaven, a community arts organisation for artists and makers living in Strathaven and the surrounding area. Founded in 2017 by Mhairi Anderson, they aim to encourage and improve access to arts and creative activities by bringing such opportunities to the town.
8. Norseman Hair and Body Wash from the Shetland Soap Company
This luxury Hair and Body Wash is designed for the Norseman, or Norsewoman, in your life. The fragrance has delicate notes of leather, cedar wood and black pepper, a direct reference to Shetland’s strong Viking heritage. Even better, it is handmade in small batches, SLS & Paraben free and vegan friendly. It also comes in a recyclable PET bottle with an easy peel label.
The Shetland Soap Company work alongside people with learning disabilities or autism to produce a range of exclusive handmade soap and skincare products inspired by the beautiful Shetland Islands. They believe that everyone regardless of disability should have the opportunity to work. Given the right conditions, everyone has the potential to contribute to society and in doing so will learn to value themselves and be valued by others. They help people reach their potential by giving opportunities to learn in a supportive work environment free from stigma and discrimination
9. Handwoven Toiletry Bag by Garvald Edinburgh
I chose this handwoven toiletry bag by Garvald Maker, Pam Craig as it really caught my eye and because I think it would appeal equally to ladies or gents. Made out of merino wool and leather, it has been woven in a check design on a 4 shaft table loom and comes in two sizes. I think it looks like great quality and is one of the nicest toiletry bags I've seen.
Garvald Edinburgh is a Scottish Charity offering creative opportunities and support for over 230 people with learning disabilities both in their own buildings and in community settings. Their community events throughout the year regularly bring together people from across Garvald and the wider community.
10. Stag Kilt Pin from Silver Stag of Scotland
What better way to set off a kilt than with a silver stag kilt pin featuring a saltire design - could you get any more Scottish than that? To complete the set, they have cufflinks to match and ladies aren't left out as the design is also available as a brooch.
Silver Stag was set up to provide employment opportunities for those in Scotland who have been affected by social or economic difficulties. This may include young people who have experience of homelessness, disability or other social or economic isolation. Silver Stag also trades to support a charity, Stand International, which supports and empowers those with fewer opportunities than here in Scotland including those in need in Belarus, Ukraine, Romania and Ghana.
11. Shopper Bag from Kinlochlovin’
We all know that plastic shopping bags should be a thing of the past which means reusable bags are the way forward. This is one from Kinlochlovin' will be appreciated by Scotland lovers all over as it features some of the country's most iconic landscapes. I'm thinking this would be a great gift to send to Scotland fans abroad as it is lightweight and easy to post.
Kinlochlovin’ is a Social Enterprise and charity which was set up in 2015 to support young people to participate in enhancing activities promoting health and wellbeing, social inclusion and social justice. They aim to provide free access to both creative workshops on a weekly basis as well as life experiences and opportunities. By engaging with Kinlochlovin’, young people will be supported in their development of enterprise, self-sufficiency and independence. This will enable them to become effective contributors in their own community.
12. Tartan Pants from Sassy Lassy Lingerie
These caught my eye and made me smile. Surely every Scottish lassie should own a pair of tartan pants?! You will need to order these quickly though as they are limited edition, made using GOTS certified cotton jersey fabric sourced with the environment in mind. They are also made to order ensuring they are the perfect fit, I'm off to order mine!
Sassy Lassy is a zero waste company, which is always working to find creative ways to reuse/ recycle their scraps and other waste. They have a focus on saving textiles from landfill and supporting people living in poverty.
13. Textile Craft Kits from Coorie Creative
Coorie Creative have a whole range of textile craft kits to choose from. If you know someone that likes to try out new creative hobbies there is sure to be something they will like from weaving to knitting a pair of fair isle mitts. For unique Scottish designs there are kits to make an Edinburgh Skyline Hat/Cowl and a Forth Bridges Hat.
Coorie Creative CIC is an independent yarn, knitting, crochet, felting and weaving studio based in Stirling, Central Scotland. As a social enterprise, they help trauma survivors through therapeutic crafts, such as weaving.
14. Craft Kits from Dundee Design Project
The craft kits from Dundee Design Project make great stocking fillers and are an ideal introduction for anyone that is new to crafting. Each kits contain everything needed including full instructions, pins, needle, thread and buttons etc. Make a range of items including reversible hats, Tweed brooches, Christmas decorations and Jewellery.
Dundee Design Project C.I.C. is an award winning social enterprise established in 2019 to showcase and sell the work of talented local artists, writers and makers. Because their ethos is to recycle and reuse as much as possible, their craft kits are all made up from donated or salvaged materials, as are much of our craft items.
15. Make Your Own Candle Kit from Mecoco
Although the directory has lots of lovely ready made candles to give as gifts, this candle making kit is a nice alternative for anyone that enjoys the creative process of handmaking things. The kit contains everything you need to make a candle in a large tin, with seven scents to choose from and a choice of eight colours.
Mecoco is a social enterprise which makes and sells beautiful candles and melts. They believe that everyone, regardless of their disability can make a meaningful contribution and has the right to experience the workplace in their own community should they wish to. They offer experience to individuals regardless of their level of ability and adapt equipment, processes and even their products to make the job as accessible as possible. They also welcome pupils from both local mainstream and additional support schools for work experience every week.
Hopefully this has given you some ideas for unusual Christmas gifts this year and you will also have the satisfaction of knowing that your pennies will be going towards good causes. Don't forget to check out the Buy Social Scotland gift directory for lots more ideas, you can even search businesses by region to find out what social enterprises are in your area.
Happy Christmas Shopping!
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