Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Have Yourself a Very Ethical Christmas

A talks us through Christmas shopping and how to do it with just a touch more heart. 

Christmas is quite possibly my favourite time of year; I get to spend quality time with the people I love most in all the world, as well as enjoying good food, good wine, and best of all - I get to give everyone presents!  Pondering over, shopping for, searching for, making, and wrapping presents is one of my favourite things to do.

This Christmas I'm trying to buy as many of my gifts as ethically as possible. With time on short supply and multiple brightly coloured shops and signs scrabbling for my attention, the temptation is to hit Selfridges or Westfield hard, but I plan to at least make some people and earth-friendly choices along the way.

Here are my suggestions for making your Christmas shopping that little bit more ethical.

Shop Eco
There are myriad companies providing us with easy eco gifting choices, and the choice gets bigger and better every year.  Choosing products with eco credentials means you are making the least impact on the environment as possible.

M&J Luxury ethical candles
Luxurious and eco-friendly, these make beautiful giftfs.

M&J Candles are the ideal Christmas gift; a little touch of luxury, these are a R~A~J~E favourite.  Made with 100% rainforest safe soya wax, housed in 100% recycled glass, and packaged in beautiful FSC and World Land Trust certified boxes, you can rest safe in the knowledge these are earth-friendly gifts.

Whole Foods UK

Delight your friends with unexpected organic gifts.

Another R~A~J~E favourite; Whole Foods, is the perfect place to find an eco-friendly gift for the foodie in your life.  With a raft of giftable edibles, you'll be spoilt for choice here.  In fact, if you do find yourself stumped, you can always plump for the Whole Foods Holiday Gift Card.  If you don't have Whole Foods in the vicinity, do not fret, shops such as Waitrose and Marks and Spencer are ever so reliable for good quality product, and have decent ranges of organic food.

Shop Local
A great way to get a unique and extra special gift is to shop local.  Take a walk up your local high street, maybe even venture down a couple of side roads and discover what's on offer right on your doorstep.  You'll definitely be spared the embarrassment of giving the same gift, and you'll be supporting a small business and investing in your local economy at the same time.

Shop Vintage

Charity Shopping

Guarantee a unique present by shopping vintage.

One of my favourite activities ever is traipsing around charity shops and vintage boutiques; you never know what you're going to find, and it always feels like discovering a secret, or uncovering buried treasure when you find something!  This also happens to be a wonderfully sustainable way to buy gifts.  There are multiple tiny treasures to be found in your local charity shop, and often at really affordable prices, and as for vintage boutiques, they seem to be two-a-penny here in London, so get shopping!  Great charity shop and vintage gifts include cookery books, home-wares, jewellery, art, books, and accessories.

Shop Indie 
For those of you who like to do your Christmas shopping from the comfort of your own home, there is a wealth of online destinations to satisfy your ethical gifting demands.
Etsy’s Christmas gift guide.

 Not on the High Street 
The handy gift guide at Not on the High Street.

Websites such as Etsy, Not on the High Street, and The Ethical Superstore are the perfect places to start.  Etsy and Not on the High Street are online marketplaces where you can find products from hundreds of small companies and craftspeople all neatly curated and easy to shop.  The Ethical Superstore stocks a range of products from clothes to home-wares from a variety of ethical brands, and has very helpfully compiled a Christmas Gift Guide.  To make your shopping even easier, both Etsy and Not on the High Street have super-handy gift guides too!

Shop Fair
It is a pleasure to be able to shop with companies who you know are giving their employees a fair deal; who are actively seeking to have a positive impact on our world and people’s lives.  Happily some of these companies produce some very covetable Christmas gifts too.

Lush Cosmetics

Find perfect Christmas gifts at Lush.

Some of our R~A~J~E favourites are Zatchels, American Apparel and Lush.  Zatchels make astoundingly high-quality leather bags here in the UK, Americal Apparel do achingly trendy cotton basics and more, made in their sweatshop-free factory in LA, and Lush hand-make their cosmetics using fresh, organic and earth-friendly ingredients.

I hope that’s gone some way to helping you have a very merry and ethical Christmas.  Let me know if you have any top-tips for ethical shopping.

Happy shopping and merry Christmas!

A x

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