When you’re standing in line, sweaty and anxious in an overheated shop, and the lights are too bright and the tunes too jingly, it’s easy to forget that Christmas has anything to do with generosity.
But help is at hand (if you have one to spare amidst all the chaos). There’s no reason for Christmas to be a joyless march to the cash register. Here are 10 gift ideas for UK shoppers that can make a lasting impact on your loved ones and the world:
Encouraging shoppers to “expect more from your wardrobe”, Birdsong operates by the mantra, “No photoshop, no sweatshop.” All their clothing and accessories are ethically manufactured, sourced from women’s organisations and charities who receive the bulk of the revenue from sales. And it gets better. Birdsong promises “to never digitally alter our models appearances, and to represent more women than mainstream brands” — putting honesty and diversity at the heart of their DNA.
When it comes to ethical clothing, Patagonia is pretty evergreen. Since its launch in 1973, it has remained committed to making durable outdoor clothing and protecting the wild and beautiful places to wear them in. At least 1% of Patagonia’s sales go to environmental projects around the world, and on Black Friday, the company donated 100% of its profit to organisations fighting climate change around the world. Their "fundraiser for the earth" generated $10 million USD worth of sales, beating their target five times over.
Another year, another pair of socks for the drawer of that miscellaneous family member. Liven things up this time with a pair, or even a box of Jollie’s. For every pair bought, Jollie’s gives a pair to a homeless person. But the goodness doesn’t stop there — Jollie’s also provides employment opportunities for people transitioning out of homelessness, making each pair of socks go further than the back of a cupboard.
Food and Drink
Approximately one third of all food produced never makes it to our plates. If that leaves you in a pickle, look no further than Rubies in the Rubble which make delicious relishes out of edible food destined for landfill. Rescuing food deemed too ugly for our eyes, their tried and tested recipes include: Pear, Fig & Port, Spicy Tomato, and Pink Onion & Chilli. To date, they have saved 600,000 fruits and vegetables, and 102 tonnes of CO2 emissions — the equivalent of 560,000 miles driven. If that’s still not enough to convince you to enjoy their “condiments of the season” this Christmas, check out their heartwarming recipes.
Read More: 32 Tips for Reducing Food Waste Every Day
For Sustainable Wines, “Drinking responsibly” is about more than just volume. Its mission is to bring sustainable, organic, biodynamic and natural wine producers to a UK market. With prices in their Christmas sale ranging between £10 and £100, their wine list is a source of liquid joy that won’t leave the world hungover, whatever your budget.
Launched in 2012 from one man’s kitchen, Pact delivers coffee from all over the world directly to your door. Through Direct Trade, they cut out the middleman to create a direct link between coffee farmers and your morning brew. This year, for every Christmas gift sold, they’ll donate 35p to Shelter, helping to support people facing homelessness or bad housing conditions.
Plants and Homeware
Most famous for its world class botanical garden in Cornwall housing plants from all over the planet, the Eden Project’s online shop is a virtual rainforest of ethical goods. From high quality plants to whimsical bug houses, it’s the perfect source of natural delights.
If you’re the kind of person that wants a one-stop shop for all your Christmas shopping, check out Natural Collection. It’s like an ethical Amazon, making it easy to find fairly sourced products all year round. As well as cataloguing a broad range of fair trade, organic and eco-friendly products, Natural Collection works to minimise its carbon footprint and make all its packaging as environmental-friendly as possible.
A Little Bit of Everything
Traidcraft’s mission is to fight poverty through trade. Not only do they source fairtrade products from over 30 countries, they support some of the world’s most marginalised communities, providing skills and business training to help them earn the best price. Traidcraft also uses this expertise to campaign for better trade policies, creating the structural change that can lift people out of poverty. Where do you come in? Check out their online shop which sells everything from Christmas decorations to jazz up your party, to washing-up detergent to clean up afterwards.
Don’t worry. This isn’t a trick. The shop does exist outside of your own head, but all the gifts require a little bit of imagination to work. Centred on promoting “mindful living,” the Dept. Store for the Mind’s product range encourages self-care and self-discovery. It’s probably not one for the cynics out there, but many of us need a lift now and again to get through the winter months. Around 2 million people in the UK experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, a form of depression associated with a particular season. So if the pressure to maintain Christmas joy leaves you or a loved one feeling less than cheery, browse through their innovate range of mindful products. Organised by collection as well as by mood, there’s something wonderful in stock for every state of mind.