It’s mid-November and the shops are full of Christmas stuff and, I’m sorry, but I’m not excited. As usual, I’m getting stressed about what to get for everyone, AND depressed about what a big waste it all is. All that new stuff we have to buy, knowing that many of the gifts we give will not be needed or wanted, and will inevitably end up in land fill.
I’m not claiming to be a squeaky-clean green – I drive cars and go on planes, and I buy stuff I need (and some stuff I don’t need), but Christmas is the one time of year when we all feel obliged to buy so many things that have been made using resources the earth is running out of, for people who don’t need any more stuff.
But there is a way to change this – if we buy sustainable gifts…
I hope with this blog to prove that sustainability can be stylish as well as good for the planet. The most obvious sources for sustainable presents are second-hand shops, antique shops and charity shops. These sell treasures that are already made, that are no longer needed by their previous owners, so they are the perfect recycled gifts. Just search google to find the best options near to where you live or work.
There are now many companies making cool products for people who want to be stylish without causing harm.
EcoAlf make beautiful bags from recycled fishing nets and plastic bottles. The fabric is pleasingly luxurious to touch, but strong too.
Loopy Ewes make beautiful sustainable textile products for the home that can be traced from design through production, right back to the flock of sheep that graze the Cotswolds countryside.
A well-established online shop for sustainable and fair-trade fashion. You will find a large range of gift ideas from clothing and accessories to jewellery and nightwear. Each product has a story about where it’s made and who by. And prices are surprisingly reasonable.
Patagonia is an established outdoor clothing brand whose mission is to make the best products using business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis
Cotton is the most damaging textile to the environment and we in the west buy loads of it. Organic cotton is vastly more sustainable than standard cotton, uses much less water and no pesticides. So if you can possibly buy organic instead, you are making a big difference.
John Lewis sell quite a few organic cotton products including t-shirts, underwear, baby clothes and bed linen.
Abalon Porcelain black and grey Candle, organic lavender + ecosoya wax, £50.See other options on the website.
Oxfam’s online shop not only sells second-hand donations, many of which would make good presents, but they also partner with sustainable suppliers who put people before profit, and produce quality products with the emphasis on small-scale production and sustainable materials. So you get the added bonus of not only buying sustainable gifts, but your money is going to charity too!
Not all the products mentioned here are 100% sustainable, but it is the top priority of the companies that make them, so they are a lot MORE sustainable than most. The money we spend on sustainable products is an investment that will support these companies that are trying to reduce environmental damage.
And that’s a lovely gift to give everyone this Christmas.