It’s that time of year again. Christmas ad campaigns are getting into full swing and we are bombarded by images of easy, relatively cheap gifts letting us quickly tick off our ‘to buy’ list.
But do we really feel ‘good’ when we buy like this? Gifting was never meant to be an exercise in box ticking, it’s lovely when done right and with thought. In fact, giving is absolutely as good as receiving (still talking about gifting....).
This year more than ever we are thinking about how we can gift more ethically. However, so many ethical gift ideas just aren’t achievable due to pressures on time, money and availability. You know you want to do the right thing but you end up feeling bad because you aren’t perfect (you are BTW).
These are some ideas you may have already heard:
Brilliant, but not always achievable, ethical shopping guidelines……(and why you may not be able to achieve them)
Shop Local 'I would love to but I’m always at work when my local shops are open. Saturday’s are filled with kids parties, swimming lessons & washing.'
Shop Second-hand 'Scouring charity shops takes time, I have to go to two nativities, make an angel costume, make a donkey costume, mastermind Christmas dinner, go to work Christmas party, recover from party etc etc etc…'.
Buy Ethical, Fair & Sustainable 'My budget doesn’t stretch to the high-end products on offer. I don’t have the time to search in lots of different stores to tick off everything my list'
Make it Yourself 'Have you ever tried making truffles with a toddler? Need I say more?'
So….. You head to a department store, shop on Amazon or panic buy lottery tickets from a petrol station late on Christmas eve (my husband…)
Unfortunately all of the above involve more time or more money (or both) than you have. But don’t despair!
Read my guide to achievable Good Gifting and feel good this Christmas!
Brilliant, ACHIEVABLE ethical shopping guidelines…...
- Get organised (sorry!) - There is nothing like a last minute dash to the Boots 3 for 2 aisle to make you feel like you have failed. If you can keep your eyes & mind open throughout the year you are bound to spot perfect gifts. I spotted a set of beautiful antique spoons for less than £15 in a local shop’s window as I was passing on an errand. Perfect for my bezzie.
- Ask advice - Before you buy every Paw Patrol character for your child’s stocking remember children are fickle little monkeys. Chase & Marshall et al. could literally be last years news by January. Instead ask parents with older children what gifts their children still play with years later. We had a total win with advice from our beautiful local toyshop Toyville (I called ahead & went with recommendations to save time). Squirrels Go Nuts Game keeps the extended brood of kids happy when the adults need a little us (pub!) time.
- Shop by Cause - Think about a cause or subject that is particularly close to your or the person you are buying for’s heart. Make life easy and shop by cause at Frankly with brands grouped by People, Wildlife & Planet.
The story is a big part of the gift, setting your gift apart from the ordinary. With every item purchased from Frankly you will receive a beautiful thank you card, explaining the story behind the product.
- Give a surprise - Experiences are a great gift but are often expensive. I pray yearly for a weekend spa break but for some reason it hasn’t happened yet!! Think out of the box & and create a surprise instead. Call ahead & pay for a haircut, order a bottle of wine to be on the table when they are out for dinner, throw a surprise pamper evening. The unexpected adds so much value & will leave you both feeling amazing!
- Kids like experiences too! But they do they like something to open! This year we are giving our 6 year old a horse riding lesson. We will wrap up a book about horses, a pony magazine & make her a certificate so she has something to open.
A controversial one from a born & bred retailer…… But do you REALLY need to buy a gift? Talk to your friends & family, maybe agree to only buy for the children or do a Secret Santa. Chances are you are all feeling the same. Buy less & you have more time to buy better (& more money to spend on food & drink!)
- Look for gifts that also make a difference to the producer or to a charity. While ethically produced clothing is often much more expensive than its mass produced counterparts many small producers are making fair, sustainable jewellery & gifts for high street prices. Fair prices can be paid as there isn’t big corporate structures to support.
- Frankly takes the guess-work out of ethical shopping. All the brands in store make a difference in some way. As Frankly isn’t a market-place your gifts will arrive in one package, saving delivery miles & packaging!
If you are still struggling here are some top picks for this Christmas!
For your mum: Lavender & Orange Candle - Self Care Co. - £25 This totally natural, divinely scented aromatherapy candle will help your mum to slow down & look after her self for once. Plus 10% of profits go to metal health charities.
For your dad: A notoriously difficult one... If your dad is anything like mine, he's got to the stage that if he wants something he will just buy it himself! Create a hamper of all the naughty treats he won't buy himself. For mine I will be going with fizzy sweets, cheese puffs, bombay mix &, because he is actually 72 & not 12, a bottle of nice gin. Definitely no waste here!
For your sister: Hammam Towel - Ebbflow Cornwall - £32 Multi-use is the way to go if you want consume less & these towels are amazingly versatile. Scarf, throw, shawl, picnic blanket and of course a towel! I couldn't be without mine!
For your husband: Gorillas T-Shirt - Arthouse Unlimited - £22.50 Designed by residents of this amazing charity. 100% of Arthouse Unlimited profits go straight back into supporting adults with learning difficulties.
For your grandparents: Kushboo Soaps - £6.50 - Beautiful, natural soaps with heaps of skin loving benefits. The best bit? For every single soap sold Kushboo donate another across three charities - homeless charity Nightsafe, Emmeline's pantry women’s refuge and a food bank local to the brand in Clitheroe, Lancashire. Buy three (donate three!) and get them in beautiful, free gift box.
For your work Secret Santa: No matter how many times you request that the gift you receive is £10 going to charity, you are bound to end up with something utterly useless... (remember the scene in The Office where Gareth get the the Action Man?!). Break the mold & feel good about your gift with a Recycled Leather Coin Purse - Soruka - £10. Made in India by fairly paid, independent artisans, these beautiful purses are made from the off-cuts from the leather industry.