It's the same procedure as every year: Jesus' birthday is less than two weeks away and the stress of being a Christmas procrastinator is becoming real.
While Christmas gifts have become a thing of the past in our family, the tradition has remained with our friends. And let's be honest: gifting can be such a treat, if it comes from the heart and provides something meaningful. Too often, though, it results in a desperate rush to buy things that neither we nor our loved ones really need.
This is why we created an alternative last minute gift guide with creative and practical ideas brought to life by small businesses.
We wouldn't be designing travel gear, if we didn't have a passion for travel ourselves. So obviously, we had to start this guide off with a little getaway idea.
'Unplanned' organises high-quality, handmade surprise trips to special destinations in Europe. The destination is not revealed to the travelers until right before departure. How does this work? Simply complete a short online questionnaire choosing the type of travel experience you are after, length of your vacation, dates, mode of transportation and the place of your departure. The small dedicated team in Munich and Berlin will then be busy arranging everything from transport, lodging to individual travel tips. All you need to do: head to the airport or train station and open your envelope. Thanks to a cooperation with atmosphair.de Unplanned offsets all CO2 emissions generated by transport to the destination.
Order your Unplanned voucher here (Minimum Value: €15)
WIN A EUR 50 VOUCHER:
Drop us an email at email@example.com with the subject line: Unplanned Voucher Competition to be in the draw for a €50 voucher towards an Unplanned booking. The winner will be announced Thursday, Dec 19th.
For those, who prefer to stay in full control of their travel itineraries, we highly recommend gifting tickets to the Berlin Travel Festival for some inspiration for an upcoming holiday.
The three day event at Arena Kreuzberg, held this year under the theme "Where is Paradise", is targeted at adventurous travelers, who want to experience travel from new perspectives and be inspired. Now in its third year, the festival hosts innovative brands, selected organisations and travel experts, who exchange ideas with visitors and present new ways of traveling. Early Bird Ticket Prices are still available until the end of December.
Two Day Ticket (Sat. and Sun.): €20 (Early Bird)Get your tickets here.
Surf's up all year round! Sounds too good to be true? Berlin's first indoor surfing arena 'Wellenwerk' opened its doors to the public this November. Suitable for both beginners and surf pros, this artificial standing wave can be individually adapted to the needs of the surfer. With a height of up to 1.6 meters it also provides a playground for seasoned wave riders. Wellenwerk, founded by seven friends from Berlin, uses CO2 neutral green energy from hydroelectric power plants. The wave energy is being reused through an innovative energy recovery system that heats and cools their premises.
60 min surf session for beginners (incl. Surfboard, Wetsuit and Coach): €41.90
Gifting a notorious over-packer? Our Compression Packing Cubes may be just what you're looking for. Made from 100% recycled PET bottles, these pouches help you organise stuff, keep things neat in your bag and make it easy to unpack. Top and bottom pockets separate clean from dirty clothes and a compression zipper keeps your stuff tight and compact. The Cubes come in a small and large size, ideal for socks, undies and T-Shirts.
Small Compression Cube: €16, Large Compression Cube: €20Shop here.
A gift for Yoga lovers? We've got something for you! The lovely friends and founders of @hejhej_mats, Anna & Sophie, designed yoga mats that not only look uniquely beautiful, but are also made of recycled foam cut offs and are completely recyclable at the end of their life span. 'Cradle to cradle'-circularity at its best! hejhej Mats are made in Germany and shipped in a climate-neutral manner. The two founders also recently launched a matching mat bag. Both must haves for Yogis.
Yoga Mat: €129, Bag: €89Shop here.
We immediately fell in love with this UK based, father-daughter-run organic cosmetics brand. Richard Austin has worked with Organics since the 1970’s, while his daughter Bessie has a background in design and advertising – no wonder the packaging is a piece of art in itself. Not only do Austin Austin products have the most addictive scents, they are also certified Organic by the Soil Association and COSMOS. The products are produced in the East of England and never tested on animals. All products are vegan (except the body cream) and do not contain any GM ingredients, SLS, silicones, parabens, mineral oils, artificial colours or fragrances. The bottles are manufactured from 100% recycled material and are fully recyclable and packaged in paper from FSC accredited sustainably managed forests.
Palmarosa Vetiver Hand Cream: €18Shop here (shipping from the UK, Christmas Cut off Date for Germany: Dec 16th) or at Freshlabels Backpack Store, Rosenthaler Str. 50, Berlin.
Maybe not the sexiest present under the Christmas tree, but surely the most powerful one (we use it ourselves!). This magical anti-odorant leaves armpits fresh for 3-7 days, without using any of the nasty ingredients aka aluminium, parabens, petrochemicals or any other chemicals, salts or perfumes. All of this, served in a bioplastic tube made from sugarcane - what more could you want in a gift?
Nuud Starter Pack: €12.95
Is your friend heading off to a tropical destination? Lucky for them! On RE-NT Revolution they can now order their matching resort wardrobe without having to spend a fortune. The key? It's renting! The new Berlin company behind CEO Robina von Stein has set up a women's clothing rental site that lets you borrow anything from a designer's coat to the summer basics. The principle is straightforward: for a subscription fee of € 50 a month, the customer can choose 3 items from the shop – including shipment, insurance and cleaning – and change them for 3 new items in the following months. Sharing is very caring!
Subscription: €50 per month
The staple of the Christmas presents: the knitted beanie. This reversible version and its matching scarf by R-EH were made from 100% Alpaca wool in Peru.
The Berlin-based label subtly refers to the Bauhaus aesthetic and principles – representing durability, high quality and functionality in clothing, accessories and interior design. Founder and Central Saint Martin's graduate Eliza Helmerich designs classic and singular pieces outside the framework of seasonal collections and fast-moving trends.
All R.EH products follow fair and transparent manufacturing standards in cooperation with smaller family businesses in Germany and Peru.
Beanie: €54, Scarf: €135Shop here
The White Label Project is a new online shopping site for design items (fashion accessories, interior design, bags and jewelry) that are sustainably crafted by artisans in developing countries. Their unique design is a result from matching traditional artisanship and techniques, sustainable local materials with a new generation of design entrepreneurs with an international and conscious mindset. The concept was developed by two friends: Ann-Kathrin Zotz, a former UN worker, who promoted sustainability in international value chains in developing countries and Caroline Foerster, who has a background in designing digital and physical services and brands for consumer goods, NGOs and tech companies.
Gift Card: from €30
If you're gifting a true "Digital Nomad", you might want to check out this ultra fashionable, super warm vest with integrated 15" laptop sleeve from ARYS Berlin. The Pro-Power Pack's Ecodown® isolation is 100% made of recycled plastic bottles. The vest is waterproof, dirt repellent, breathable, light weight, PFC-free, made from Italian fabric in the EU...have we convinced you yet? Oh and it's currently on sale as well! If the vest isn't exactly what you're looking for, you should still check out this super cool brand: ARYS combines outdoor gear functionality with cutting-edge and minimalist fashion, all made in Europe.
Unisex Vest: now 180.00
Available online here or in their Berlin Stores (Torstr. 138, Kollwitzstraße 51)
©: melisaminca.com, @raetilly.shoots
Slovakian designer, blogger and Sustainable Development graduate Melisa Mincova founded her fashion label in Berlin in early 2018, specialising in upcycling, custom tailoring and ethical production. Her unique, one-of-a-kind pieces from upcycled, repurposed or reworked second hand materials are not only super cool, eccentric and affordable, but also lovingly handcrafted by the designer in her Berlin studio. ‘System Recovery’ is what she calls it – sourcing materials like pillow cases, curtains, and table cloths from second hand stores around Berlin, Prag and Bratislava. Every design is an original and with her custom collection the designer also offers made-to-order pieces.
Without our favourite Berlin Fashion Label HundHund, this list would not be complete. Our good friends and founders Rohan and Isabel design minimalistic, timeless and detail-oriented pieces made from premium natural materials and new eco-textiles, such as Tencel and Micromodal. HundHund collections are manufactured solely by small factories in Europe with fabrics sourced from the best European mills. HundHund follows the concept of "radical price transparency": On the website customers can find a detailed price breakdown of each garment, from the fabric cost to marketing expenditure, so you know exactly what you are paying for. Transparency is also at the core of their Berlin studio concept. It works as an office, store and showroom space in one, so customers can get a real insight into how the brand works.
We are in love with their new collection of knitwear, in particular the super warm Alek Sweater. It would look so good under the Christmas tree!
Note: The dog is not for sale! <3
Alek Sweater: €129Shop here or at the HundHund Studio Shop: Böttgerstraße 16, 13357 Berlin