It’s Deceeeembeeeer! Which means it’s time for sleigh bells on the radio, battling with miles of wrapping paper, throwing baubles at a tree and trawling the shops to find gifts for people you think are nice. Cool!
Christmas shopping can be a pain in the butt – unless you’ve seen something and immediately thought “wow, so-and-so would really like that!” you can end up buying a lot of disposable junk and mass-produced odds and sods that are only fun for five minutes.
If you’re in the mood to buy your loved ones things that make a difference this year, here are a few ideas for places to shop that offer great Christmas gifts with a satisfying sideline in doing good.
The Big Issue Online Shop
Jewellery – clothing – toys
There’s a lot of cool stuff available to buy online from the brains behind The Big Issue, a name you are probably most familiar with as the magazine / enterprise that helps people around the world to get out of poverty and social exclusion.
Rather than hitting up the high street for jewellery, kids toys, clothing and accessories, shop online with Big Issue knowing the money you spend is going to help those in need – rather than going to another chain store.
I’m a big fan of the bags and purses made from recycled Elephant Brand packaging, but the reasonably-priced jewellery and snuggly organic sweaters are wicked choices too. Check out “Social Echo” on each listing to see where your spend goes.
House Of Kind
beauty -Accessories -Homewares
If you’re looking to indulge someone’s “me time” with fancy bath salts, scented candles and the like this year, House of Kind can supply you with products made in a sustainable, eco-friendly way that are also fully vegan and cruelty-free.
There are beautiful cushions handmade in India by craftspeople who are paid a proper wage, tote bags raising money for the breast cancer charity CoppaFeel, travel bags made by a women’s social enterprise in London and all the gorgeous jewellery and accessories you’d expect of a site like this. Lots of lovely stuff, lots of good vibes.
Oxfam Online Shop
Clothing – Books – Music – food
Charity shopping can be hit and miss, particularly when you’re looking to buy for other people. In comes the Oxfam online store – no rifling through rails of naff jumpers and dusty shoes, just easy filtering and picks of the best in secondhand and new donated goods.
Oxfam work to alleviate poverty in communities the world over, and as well as making donations you can shop to your heart’s content knowing the cash you spend is going to make a difference. Alongside charitable gifts like donating a goat to a family in need and contributing to a child’s education , you can shop online for the best of their vintage clothing stash, fair trade foods, great reads and records, homewares, beauty products … the list goes on.
A little of everything
At Ethical Superstore you can filter your search by vegan, FSC-certified, fair trade and recycled goods, as well as picking out things for all budgets with their selections of gifts under £10, gifts under £20 and so on.
There’s everything from beauty gift sets to gardening tools, and the hand-powered Scalextric-style racing set is particularly nifty if you’ve got little ones to satisfy and want to stay away from toys that require endless AA batteries.
Food – fashion – homewares
Better known for their dedication to fighting human rights violations and abuses around the world, Amnesty International are another good cause with an online store full of potential Christmas gift ideas.
Like Ethical Superstore, you can narrow your search down to gifts in a certain price bracket, and there’s plenty in every section. Satisfy your dad’s request for socks with some soft and sustainable bamboo knits, and your green-fingered mum with a cute bug hotel for the garden – complete with wildflower seeds.
Protect The Planet
SuPer cool Eco gIfts / homeware
So many cool things, made out of stuff you didn’t know could even be made into other stuff. Wallets that used to be tyres, cuff links that used to be circuit boards – as well as loads of bamboo desk accessories and eco-friendly everything, these guys do a mean line in awesome recycled products.
I’m awarding a bonus point for having a ‘gifts under £5’ section – perfect for tight budgets and secret santas.
If you’ve got money to burn, the luxe bags made from recycled fire hoses are awesome – although possibly more of a gift you might like for yourself than one for someone on your list…
As ever, there are all sorts of other places that might be worth a look-in, whether it’s for gifts that help a charity or eco-friendly odds and ends. If you’ve got any can’t-miss suggestions, please do put them in the comments below!