Have Yourself a Conscious Little Christmas

Christmas is a time for family arguments and tears over Christmas adverts. 

Sequin overload and trousers that don’t do up anymore. 

It’s a time for celebration, Celebrations and jubilation, but more often than not it turns into a treadmill of buying, buying, buying - oh wait and a bit more buying. 

It’s a time of year that most small businesses work up to and the period when they make most of their sales.

Christmas is a time that can make or break a small business, yet on the other hand it is also a time of excess, waste and unwanted gifts. 

Britons will use an estimated 300 million plastic straws and cups at Christmas parties this year* and wasted Christmas packaging could actually wrap around the Big Ben 260,000 times**.

So this Christmas as we edge into madness season I am making three pledges for my first ever conscious Christmas…. feel free to jump on the band wagon (sleigh)…

Deadstock General Store

Deadstock General Store

1) Only buy what I can afford / what they actually need. 

This is a big one, because I think this is the one that we most easily forget. Work out an actual budget that you’re able to spend and then stick to it. This Christmas I’ve put a £30 limit on each person, meaning by the time I’ve factored in new in-laws, parents, siblings, nephews and friends, I’m already at £570, which post-wedding is defintely a figure I am going to have to ‘wingardium leviosa' out of thin air.

I will also have to refrain myself (most probably with another magic spell) from the inevitable ‘other Christmas bits’ usual inevitability. Chocolates, tree decorations, obligatory John Lewis latest craze for the mantelpiece, not to mention petrol for ‘driving home for Christmas’, booze and gift wrap - and I’m pushing up into the realms of ‘money I can’t afford’ status.

With stats from an American study finding that 60% of Americans receive unwanted gifts during the holiday season, your hard-earned cash may even be ending up in the ‘clutter pile’.

So I’m setting myself an overall Christmas budget (including mini Snickers and reindeer cuteness) to make sure that I don’t accidentally spend more money than I did on my own honeymoon. And/or end up giving any unloved, impulse purchases. I don’t actually think my mum needs a mug saying ‘Let’s Fuck this Shit Up’ simply because it was in the sale at Asda. She already has about 50 mugs. For one person.

Just. No.

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2) Use brown paper not wrapping paper.

This is a big one cos I totally did not know that most wrapping paper is not recyclable. Even harder is the fact that in Sainos on the weekend the ONLY wrapping paper there was non-plain so really this one is harder than you think. Go get yourself a batch of this lovely, natural brown stuff here and BONUS you can reuse it for bday. Cos we all know that wrapping up your dad’s bday present with Christmas Elves really screams that YOU FORGOT.

3) Buy Independent.

The BIG ONE and the one that most excites me.

If you are going to part with your cash, in a way that maybe cripples you for the next three months, then at the very least try your best to pass it over to a small business that has put blood, sweat and tears into creating a product they are incredibly passionate about. There are so many amazing makers in the UK. Take the time (even if just in the next few minutes) to learn about that, bookmark them and hopefully - buy from them.

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Organic Tee by Birdsong £56

OK, maybe I’m biased. But this fried egg tee by Birdsong is bloody beaut. It’s also handpainted in the UK by Mohila, a group of migrant mothers based in Tower Hamlets, London.

They are paid a living wage for the work they do under Birdsong’s promise of no sweatshops, no photoshop and fashion industry standards that are fairer for women.

Get yours at birdsong.london

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I’m Fine Screen Print by JOLT £10

JOLT is the homeware and lifestyle brand of Designs in Mind; a working studio where adults living with mental health challenges work as a team on experimental, ambitious and high quality art and design work.

Their prints, textiles and other homewares not only look good but together your purchase helps improve the lives of those living with mental health difficulties.

Their Christmas campaign this year is encouraging people to #BuySocial this Christmas. Use #GoodEgg to join the community.

But this print at thisisjolt.co.uk

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Chocolate is a sweet, sweet gift from the gods. Four day whipped and churned peanut butter, this bar is made in a little town on the Eastern side of Lithuania. Chocolate Naive is sexy, sassy and cute and guaranteed not to go to waste.

See also their orange and liquorice flavour and tahini flavour.

7 euros at chocolatenaive.com

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Spacemasks £15 for 5

Two days ago I commenced my journey on the sleep mask revolution. Life-changing is not a term I use lightly, but after decades of waking up feeling like a zombie, I have twice woken up feeling like fresh, lamb in the two nights I have worn a sleepmask. Coincidence, I think it is not.

The space mask is the holy grail of sleep masks. Infused with jasmine these babies heat up upon skin contact and send you off to “Interstellar Relaxation.”

Get yours at spacemasks.com

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Christmas Spice Eco-Soy Social Candle £15

Because even the meanest Scrooge can’t resist a Christmas candle. This one is made by our favourites Know the Origin.

A UK-based company that stands for honest brands, fair workers standards and environmental care and commitment, their clothes have long been an affordable and stylish way to step out. This new candle signals a very exciting flirtation with homewares.

Get this spice, spice baby at knowtheorigin.com

If you’re really just here for the gift guide, then don’t worry because it’s not all over just yet.

Head on over to our Alternative Christmas Gift Guide: The Extended Edit for a second helping of independent and meaningful Christmas presents that won’t break the bank or bore your pals.

More still if the concept of gifts in general isn’t tickling your pickle, why not get your hands dirty and make your Christmas presents and cards this year.

Tune in for our how-to with Paper Hawk on Yolklore or get a ticket to our candle-making or terrarium workshop in November / December in Manchester.

But as with all Christmas tales, this one’s moral - (or challenge) is to see if you can shop 100% independent / non-waste this Crimbo.

Or failing that 90 % / 80% / 70% ….. small, conscious biz this year.

Just four classical composers (Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Tchaikovsky) wrote almost all the music played by modern orchestras***.

Let’s do our bit for modern retail and make sure that the majority of our Christmas purchases are not bought from just four super large retailers.

See you at the (online) check-out.


*Sky News 2016

**House Beautiful 2017

*** 12 Rules for Life - Jordan Peterson