I am an unabashed ambassador for Christmas. I recognise that it is a difficult time for many, that there are many festivals to be celebrated this winter season and that consumerism has largely taken over… but I don’t care, I still love it. I do, however, think that we could all do more to return to a season of giving. Giving a gift and seeing someone’s face light up is one of the most magical times of the year. So, how can we dodge a capitalist Christmas and find a better way of spoiling our loved ones?
Nothing says ‘I love you’ quite like a homemade present can. However, creative you may, or may not be, use this Christmas as an opportunity to make something unique for your friends and family. It’s so much more special to spend time, rather than money, on a gift and to personalise it to each individual. Use sustainable and recycled resources as much as you can to shape the perfect Christmas present.
Give to charity
Whether it’s a donation in someone’s name, an anonymous present or one of Oxfam’s Christmas gift cards, this is one of the best ways to give this Christmas. For many reading this article, there is a reality that we all have so much, and shopping can become about what we want, rather than need. If you’re buying for someone who has it all, why not spend your money supporting people in need instead?
Charity shops are a treasure trove of amazing presents. Why buy new and waste resources when you have access to such quality gifts at such affordable prices? Charity shops are particularly fantastic for books, candles (don’t ask me why) and children’s gifts. Children’s toys are extortionate and, as much as I adore my family, I just can’t afford most of what I would love to give them. Give me a half hour browsing charity shops though and I’ll have found the perfect present for under a fiver.
Buy from local businesses
Big business don’t get excited when you order from them. No one jumps up and shrieks and smiles and does a celebration dance in their room. Local businesses need all the support they can get, so spread a little festive cheer and shop locally. It’s better for the environment and what better way to celebrate Christmas than to invest locally?
Second hand stores
Some of my favourite presents have come from second hand stores, especially bookshops. There’s something magical about getting something old. Something that’s been loved and treasured by someone else and now passed on to you. One of my favourite gifts is a beautiful edition of a children’s story book with the most gorgeous children’s illustrations. I’d so much rather have something you can no longer get than something mass produced that half of my friendship group will soon own.
It’s so exciting to see the number of sustainable shops that are popping up on our highstreets and online. Explore your options for where to get sustainable gifts this year and vote with your wallet about the future you’d like businesses to invest in. For some of our top picks check our The Ethical Wardrobe’s Masterlist of places to buy this festive season.
Choose from charities shops
Yes, as well as charity shops there are charities shops! Confused? Let me explain. Charity shops sell second hand things that I would 100% recommend checking out, but many charities also have shops attached to them. A personal favourite is Amnesty International which has so many amazing gifts to choose from. Unique presents with a donation to charity? Yes please!
This is perhaps the most controversial one but why not consider recycling presents between your friends? This is perhaps easiest done with books or jewellery. There is a social taboo around recycling gifts but passing books and other treats amongst friends ensures that the perfect present can be loved time and again.
Ask what they’d like
Perhaps the simplest and best way to ensure your gift is valued is to ask what your loved one would like. If you ask first you can be sure that your gift will be treasured through the years. Chances are, they probably don’t want another gift set of shower gel, but there may be something small that they’ll really value through the years.
Buy from your friend’s businesses
Does it sometimes feel like everyone’s starting a business these days? I don’t care, support them! Your friends work really hard to launch new projects and it’s scary to put themselves out there. The best present you can possibly give them is to support their business and buy something for another friend to grow the circle of support.
So, before hitting the high street this year, think about where you’re spending your money, what you’re spending it on and who you’re spending it for.
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