Here we are in December and I have finally started Christmas Shopping! I started last Saturday by heading into town and buying some gifts in small businesses as it was Small Business Saturday. My first and favourite port of call is our local Fairtrade Shop. If you have one I recommend you visit – there is a wide range of gifts there – jewellery, bags, scarves, kids toys – as well as tasty goodies like….. chocolate!
Why Christmas Presents?
Why do we give presents at Christmas? For me it’s to show my friends and loved ones that I care about them. I don’t want to buy something that will end up in landfill because they don’t really like it and I don’t want to go against my own principles in what I will buy and where I will buy it from. Home made gifts are extra special – especially if they are made by children – as they show a commitment of time and effort into the gift. People treasure hand knitted scarves, home cooked sweets and artistic creations when they know they’ve been made with love – there’s a lot more to them than the basic ingredients.
If you are buying, here are a few ideas from businesses that I have bought from in the past and loved. Hopefully they will appeal to your friends and family too.
Undies and Accessories
Pants and socks are always a ‘groan’ present but we all need them. Last year several of my friends received fairtrade knickers from Kerala Crafts which I bought from Fair and Fabulous. I bought some for myself too and am very happy with them! I added a pair of socks each – there are lots of lovely designs from Thought which you can buy online or in Fairtrade shops.
Take an attractive box or basket and you can easily put together a hamper full of their favourites. Last year I created one from Zaytoun Palestinian goodies such as dates, olive oil and Za’atar for my Mum who is very fond of them. You can order one of these already made up from Ethical Shop this year.
Bags and Purses
We all use bags on a day to day basis and if we have lovely ones then we can use them again and again and avoid using plastic ones. My favourite bag company is What Daisy Did who use leather offcuts and other fabrics to make their beautiful purses and bags. I now have a large collection of their products from the Carnival range!
At Christmas we usually have lots of odds and ends of food left over to store in the fridge and out comes the clingfilm. Not only is this wasteful but wouldn’t it be better not to wrap our food in plastic? I’ve discovered beeswax food wraps this year from BeeBeeWraps and <spoiler alert> lots of my friends will be receiving them too! Other super useful eco-gifts are metal or bamboo straws from Anything But Plastic – they even come with their own little brush so you can clean them!
I’d be missing a trick if I didn’t remind you to take a look at our large selection of scarves, adult shirts and children’s clothing at wheredoesitcomefrom.co.uk. This year we are also offering a gift wrap service and some Christmas boxes to make things easier for you – simply select your gift and choose to have it wrapped and we’ll get it posted off for you. We can post worldwide (although some of the recommended posting dates have already gone by eeek!).
Still Need Ideas?
If I really can’t find inspiration then I’ll be heading to some of the websites that offer curated selections of gifts. My favourites are Fairmondo and Ethical.Market. You can also check out some of the charitable sites/brochures such as Traidcraft and Amnesty International which have a large choice too.
Another areas of waste at Christmas is in the wrapping paper. Last year I invested in some re-useable wrapping from WragWrap – it even has a crinkly sound! I’m looking forward to getting it back again this year…..
I do hope these ideas help you when you are shopping for ethical Christmas gifts! Whatever you make or buy, do have a wonderful Christmas.