Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Life: Christmas Gets Ethical

E and A share their top tips for a more sustainable Christmas.

Last year I shared my thoughts on how to buy more ethically in this season of wanton consumerism. In the space of a year, we've learnt a lot more about living sustainably, so E and I have put together some of the ways we'll be practising what we preach this Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas, and I love shopping, as well as buying presents for people and wrapping them, so this is in no way an anti-Christmas (or anti-buying presents) piece!

Buy Local
Food is a very important topic in my family, and our Christmas menu is already shaping up to be quite the feast. Rather delightfully, we are sourcing our suckling pig from an auntie who happens to rear pigs, our goose from a family friend, and our cut of venison from our local butchers. Buying our meat this way means we know exactly where it's come from, and can be sure it's had a happy life, was well-treated, and it's earned zero air miles on it's way to us.

Buy Less, Buy Better

At Christmas, it is quite tempting to Just. Buy. Everything. The shops are so enticing, the lights are so sparkly,... Over the last few years, I've been trying to employ this policy of buy less, buy better, from savouring really good quality chocolate, to buying clothes much more occasionally and selectively, and I'm applying the same rule to presents too. A tiny box of Charbonnel et Walker truffles is way more special than ten bars of Galaxy.

Buy What They'll Love

This may sound obvious, but a gift that someone will use loads, or treasure forever is a sustainable buy. For some people it's easy, you spend so much time with them, you know them inside out, buying for them is easier than buying for yourself. For some people it's less obvious. I have resorted to pretty blatant questioning when I'm really struggling for ideas..."so, what are you hoping for this Christmas?"

Home Made Gifts

Christmas is always difficult when you're really strapped for cash. This is when you can spend that other of most precious commodities on people, time. Even if you are not naturally craft-inclined, here are some ideas for creating really special gifts on a budget.

Alcohol always goes down well at Christmas. These infused vodkas by My Baking Addiction make for the most adorable little gifts. 

Get your sewing machine out and perhaps make a small novelty cushion. This tutorial from Jones Design Company takes you step by step from old jumper to natty cushion in no time.

Independent Stores

Shopping independent is great - supporting small businesses and individuals at the same time as receiving expert and personal customer service. 

Forest London is rich pickings for stylish, authentic gifts, including these Earl of East candles, which are made in London and smell delightful.

Vintage Stores

Vintage is the gift that keeps on giving. Not only is it recycling, but it also is usually much cheaper than a new item, much better quality, and sometimes even comes with a story. Homes and Antiques have helpfully compiled a list of the best antiques stores across the country.

Happy shopping!

E & A x

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