“Do your research. Read labels. Buy less. Buy local. And support brands that care.”
Christmas is coming, we’re in the countdown stage and already some enthusiastic neighbors have excessive neon lights and decorations blinding you from their sitting room windows. ‘Tis the season to be jolly (although slightly annoying).
Christmas is less than 4 weeks away and it’s easy to get caught up in all the festivities and forget what this time of year is really about. Buying new and buying replaceable, fast-fashion, plastic covered throwaways is all too common, and can’t be good for us or our planet. Why is everyone trying to sell us something? You can’t even turn on the TV without each advert now forcing Christmas propaganda down your throat.
This time of year is about family, friends and being grateful for what you have in your life! Yes yes, you should be grateful for this everyday of every year, but it’s easy to forget – and Christmas should remind you of all the abundance you already have 🙂
Love is a gift that never stops giving, I think we should spread a bit more of that around this year. Go and spend the afternoon with a grandparent, help your parents around the house or cook a meal for friends. Time is the most valuable thing you can give to those around you and kindness is so important – a smile to a stranger during this festive period could really impact someone who’s extremely lonely. A little goes a long way!
So I’m saying you shouldn’t HAVE to show your appreciation through gifts. However, if you want to and if you have the means to, of course you can give to the ones that you love – who doesn’t like giving and receiving presents!?
I just think we shouldn’t be excessive, really think about gifts this year. Say no to single use plastic, instead of filling a stocking full of throwaway toys, why not select a few high quality items that will last and be loved and used again and again. This throwaway culture is easy to get sucked into, but our pockets, our houses and the planet could really do without it.
Here’s a few little tips for working towards a more ethical Christmas!
- Shop Local & Support Local Business
Shopping on your own highstreet is a good way to support local businesses and bring money to the community around you. You’ll often find that it’s these businesses that do really need the money and support to continue. That extra few quid you could have spent whilst scrolling endlessly on Amazon would be much more appreciated by the family run gift shop on the corner. These businesses should receive the support of their communities and it’s often here that you’ll find the most unique gifts, one of a kind treasures that no one else will have. On top of that, knowing exactly where your product has come from and who the money is helping is a very liberating feeling! In this day and age it seems we have less and less say, but as the consumers we can choose to make a decision about who we support every single time we spend. Made with love, and given with love.
- Support Events in the Community
From Christmas markets to art and craft bazaars there is always something going on in your community at this time of year. This is another great way to support local business as many attend the markets and you can see a range of different local produce. These sort of events bring people from the community together and are a fun way to make new friends and learn about people you wouldn’t otherwise socialise with. Supporting these events mean they can continue to stick around, and for some people, especially older generations, this could be their only socialising event of the month!
These few images are from the Cruelty Free Christmas Fair in Narberth over the weekend. Vegan food stalls that were unbelievably good, local arts and crafts businesses and even indian head massage and reiki treatments! Some of the businesses (and my absolute faves) included Got No Beef, Hey Vegan and Ice Green – all vegan (obvs) and soooo tasty. That’s the best burger I’ve ever eaten, EVER, even including the ones I used to eat when I ate meat. I’m not lying. Click the links to see what events these businesses are attending next and try for yourself! (Also that ice cream is covered in toffee sauce and chocolate honeycomb pieces…I’m done).
Fairs and markets are some of my favourite places to try cheap tasty vegan food or pick up unique handmade gifts, whilst learning about and supporting new local businesses.
- Try to go #plasticfree
The war on plastic has really come a long way in the past 12 months, and springing up all over the place are plastic free shops and supermarkets! The first plastic free supermarket aisle opened in London this month and even here in Pembs we have plastic free businesses starting up! “Happy Planet Green Store” in Narberth and “The Little Pantry” in Tenby are two zero waste shops supplied with organic local vegetables, plastic free products & foods, refill stations and even sustainable gifts such as reusable bottles, bamboo toothbrushes and natural beauty products! Why not try some stocking fillers that aren’t covered in plastic? Or use local produce for the family meal? Even buying metal straws for your drinks over the holidays is such an easy switch to make.
- Give to Charity
Christmas is a good time to get rid of all the old things that you have lying around and taking up clutter, to make way for the new. What better way to do this than to have a clear out before the big day and instead of chucking away once loved items, give to your local charity shop! You could even have a browse yourself and pick up beautiful once loved items whilst giving money to a charitable cause – it’s a win win. I’m always surprised by what can be found for second hand if you have a good look!
- Buy from Ethical Brands
There are plenty of brands that are doing good things in the fashion and beauty world and these should be paid attention to. I will hold my hands up and say that I have been guilty of buying into fast fashion and supporting massive brands that treat their workers poorly, or aren’t sustainable in the slightest. Sometimes it’s a quick fix and it’s easy to ignore where these products are coming from and where your money is going. However, even just being mindful of this is a good start. Wearth London is an eco-friendly company and ethical online marketplace which partners with independent UK brands that care about the environment.
Colin Leslie Eyewear is an ethical eyewear range, Elvis & Kresse is a social enterprise making sustainable luxury accessories with 50% of the profits donated to charities as well as renewable energy projects. Even Etsy is a good way to support small businesses that have their heart and mind in the right place! Just try to give it a thought when you’re making your christmas list or buying for friends and family.
- Try a Meat Free Christmas!
Although I’m inevitably going to get some eyerolls from people reading this, it’s undeniable that one of the leading causes of global warming is animal agriculture and eating less meat has a massively positive impact on your own health, the environment and of course the animals. The most ethical thing you can do this Christmas is cut down your meat and dairy consumption. It honestly isn’t that hard, there are so many amazing vegan alternatives to your favourite foods and when you find the right ones they taste just as good and feel 10000000 times better because guess what, no animals were harmed in the making (!!)
Some of my all time favourites at Christmas are Booja Booja Chocolate, Free From Mince Pies, This Selection Box, Lazy Day Foods Treats, Vio-Life Cheese Board, Dairy Free Advent Calendar, ‘OM’ Chocolate (can you tell I like chocolate) and the infamous Nut Roast (although my mum makes THE BEST nut roast in the world) – All of these can be found in high street shops like Tesco, Sainsburys and Holland & Barrett (apart from mums nut roast I’m afraid), even Aldi do tonnes of Vegan options and alternatives now too.
It’s super super easy and tasty I PROMISE YOU. But don’t take my word for it, give it a go and see how much better you feel.
Here are some links to my favourite online vegan marketplaces & shops:
Christmas is a time of joy and to be happy spending time with people you love. It’s also an easy time of year for comparison and seasonal blues. Don’t worry about what anyone else has that you may not, or how much money that family spent or even worrying about not buying everything local or buying products with more plastic than you’d have liked. No body is perfect, but as I’ve said, a little goes a long way – give yourself a pat on the back for making small changes and having the loving friends and family that you do 🙂
IT’S NEARLY CHRISTMAS AND I’M EXCITED ALREADY !!!