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It’s the time of the year where we look out for smaller or bigger presents for our loved ones. For a couple of years now, I discuss with my parents every time whether we buy presents or not. I think most of the time we actually ended up buying something for each other as it’s simply a nice gesture and somehow tradition (just like decorating the christmas tree together.). So for this year, I decided to give a bit more thought and concentrate on buying something that is sustainable or sends a message, like raising awareness to food waste or fair working conditions. So here are my personal christmas gift suggestions for you. Let me know what you think or what else you would put on the list.


1. Invite your partner for dinner MealSaver

Photo: Gründerszene

Price: depending on meal/food

MealSaver is a young social startup that wants to raise awareness of the amount of food that is wasted because of overproduction in the gastronomy sector. Around 14. million portions are not eaten, which means a lot of eatable food is thrown away for nothing. For that reason, MealSaver developed an app which allows you to order food near the closing time of the gastronomy. It’s a win-win situation for both sides: the gastronomy can sell what they usually would need to throw away and the customer can buy something for a fair price and help prevent food waste.

The app works quite simple: Once you installed the MealSaver app (Android + IOS), you can see which food is offered in your neighbourhood. You select the food you want and agree on a pick-up time and order it. You can pay with credit card or PayPal. Once payment done, you can pick up your food. A similar concept and a bit more international is Too Good To Go.

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2. Fruchtpapier Dörrwerk

Photo: Dörrwerk

Price: From €12,00

Support the current crowdfunding campaign from Dörrwerk and get fruit paper as a reward. Dörrwerk is a social enterprise that manufactures snacks from surplus fruit and vegetables. The idea is to make use of fruit and vegetables that is because of their appearance and size not suitable for the commercial trade. Annually, we generate over 15 mio. tons of food waste; half of it comes from fruit and vegetables. Dörrwerk buys the surplus products directly from the farmer or wholesaler and processes it into dry snacks.

The crowdfunding campaign runs until the 18.12.2016. Dörrwerk promises that the ordered products will arrive in time for christmas. If you not sure about buying online, then you can also buy from their trade partners in Germany and Austria.

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3. Besser leben ohne Plastik (e-book), Anneliese Bunk Nadine Schubert

10 Sustainable gift ideas for x-mas - whatamission.com

Price: €12,95

This is a German book with practical tips and advise on how to avoid plastic in everyday life. It’s in German, but I’m sure there are similar books available in English. It is available as printed version and e-book by the Oekom, a Grman based sustainable publisher. Another publishing house where 75% of profits are being reinvested into social and environmental programs is Buch7.de.



4. FAIRreisen – Das Handbuch für alle, die umweltbewusst unterwegs sein wollen (e-book) Frank Herrmann

10 Sustainable gift ideas for x-mas - whatamission.com

Price: 19,95

This German book serves as a guidebook for fair and sustainable travel. Inform yourself about the effects of the travel industry and find contacts, tips and ideas for a fair and more sustainable holiday. It is available as printed version and e-book.


5. Reuseable cups ZeroHero

Price: €20,00

ZeroHero plans to open the first package-free supermarket in Nürnberg, Germany. The concept of a packaging-free supermarket is replicated all over Germany since the first of its kind – Original Unverpackt – opened it’s doors in Berlin back in September 2014. The reusable cup is just one example of their rewards. Check the crowdfunding page for more inspiration. By the way, there is also a crowdfunding campaign running for the first package-free supermarket in Frankfurt.

The crowdfunding campaign runs until the 03.01.2017. You will get your reward in Spring 2017.

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6. Saffron from Afghanistan Conflict Food

Photo: Conflict Food

Price: €24,00 for 1g / Afghanistan-Box

Conflict Food is a Berlin based social enterprise that trades with small-scale farmers of the conflict regions in the world and bring the best traditional aagricultural products to your table, while strengthening local structures and offering a peaceful future. With every product comes a brochure about the country, conflict and the people living there.  You can find more about them in the interview with The Changer.

In their online shop you can buy a €20 voucher, 1 or 2 saffron in a soft bag or 1,2 and 4 g saffron in a hard box (Afghanistan-Box). On their website, you can find saffron recipe inspirations.

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7. Kochbuch (in a box) – Das wahrscheinlich nachhaltigste Kochbuch der Welt Feierabendglück

Photo: Feierabendglück

Price: €27,90

Kochbuch (in a box) is a box full of seasonal and vegetarian recipes with bio-products. In the box you can find 52 nicely designed recipe cards and links to cooking instruction videos. For the recipes you simply need five herbs: curry, nutmeg, paprika powder, thyme and cinnamon. If you cook with 100% bio products, then each dish costs max. €3,50 per person. For each product sold, you help grow the bio cultivation area in Germany by 1m² as it goes into supporting a bio cooperative.

If you order before the 20.12.2016, then Feierabendglück guarantees you a delivery before christmas. The good thing is, that there is also always the opportunity to buy a voucher to self-print.

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8. A beekeeping beginner’s course Heartbeat Uganda

Price: €195.00

Heartbeat Uganda is a project of Earthbeat Foundation, which promotes a long-term change towards a fair and sustainable gold business. With the money from the crowdfunding campain they enable about 80 miners in Uganda to become bee-keepers through professional trainings from a local apiary-organisation.

What did you ever want to know about bees and honey? Can bees be kept in the city? Is there such thing as organic honey? And what exactly does the bees’ waggle dance mean? Join Heartbeat Honey at an exclusive beekeeping beginner’s session (5 hours) in the south of Berlin in spring 2017.

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9. Fairphone 2

Price: €530

The Fairphone 2 is a smartphone dedicated to creating positive social change. Fairphone is sourcing conflict-free minerals and Fairtrade gold, improving working conditions at the factory and recycling electronic waste. They focus on: long-lasting design, fair materials, good working conditions and reuse/recycling approach. Since April 2015, Fairphone is a B Corp-certified social enterprise.

The fairphone is a modular phone, which means spare parts make it easy for anyone to repair.  In addition to features like a 5-inch full HD screen and Android operating system, you’ll find convenient extras like two SIM slots, expandable memory and a replaceable battery.

You can preorder the fairphone 2 on their website or via Fairmondo, a sustainable online marketplace. It will be delivered by the end of January 2017.

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10. Quality time with your loved ones / homemade gifts


Bake some cookies with friends/family. Do some arts & craft and create decorations for the house. Create a personalised/photo calendar for your friends/partner/family. Write a poem for someone. Plant a fruit tree in the garden. Go ice-skating with your friends. Stop postponing things you always wanted to do with your loved ones. Do them now. Even though we live in a war free zone (at least here in Europe), the future is promised to no one. Live your life.