It is that time of the year where we over consume delicious food to remarkable gifts and luxurious dressing. This festive season begin to choose ethically sustainable alternatives, which will enable you to be a conscious consumer. Ensuring that you have a reduced negative impact to the environment, and to the people making the product. Here are several ideas to help you take conscious decisions whilst purchasing this Christmas.
We don’t realise how polluting and unethical festive decorations are. There are people across the world, making these small ornamental Christmas decorations all year round with intoxicating dyes and most likely in harmful conditions. Why not start making harmless decorations yourself, but also start supporting small businesses that cater this. We made our Christmas wreath from found plants and essentials in our garden, and dried oranges that had been in the fruit basket for a while.
Instead of buying wrapping paper for the presents, buy alternative recycled paper and print onto it. To avoid paper altogether, use scarves either from second hand stores or found at home, also scrap fabric can be used to wrap the presents. Finish the present by tying a bow from ribbons, strips of scrap fabric or from yarn; this reduces the use of plastic ribbon tapes.
Similarly, create your Christmas cards, which is a great chance for you to let your creativity flow. This year I have painted and stitched into recycled card paper; making each design in the card relevant to the people I am sending the card to.
Instead of buying all the gifts, start planning early and create a selection of presents. This will make the gift more personal and truly unique, but also a fantastic way to save a couple of pennies. If you have unwanted textiles, create purses, tote bags, book covers or a plant holder, the ideas are endless!
Always attempt to purchase from local, smaller brands but also brands that have strong ethical statements. This way you know whom you are supporting when purchasing gifts. I have aimed to purchase most of the gifts with a conscious mind; ethical cosmetics and jewellery, hand woven plant baskets supporting an organisation in Africa, carved wooden cheese boards and cheese supporting smaller businesses, and hand crafted ceramic candle holder filled with natural soy wax and essential oils that are hand poured.
Purchase thoughtfully; do not get anything you would not use. We are endlessly receiving gifts that we do not really need and never end up using, be considerate when you are choosing gifts for others. Take time to get a gift that will be appreciated; if you are having difficulty thinking of something then ask them what they want. Perhaps, this year we need to be forthcoming with unwanted gifts received, either by informing them that you don’t need the gift and swap for a gift card.
The next few weeks our diaries will be filled with parties and brunches to attend. Do you really need a new outfit for most of these events? Instead, attempt to exchange some of the clothes with your housemates, friends or family members. The likely chance is that you will be with different social groups; nobody will know you borrowed that shirt from your friend.
Alternatively, look out for fashion items at vintage, charity or second hand shops, here you will acquire great, unique finds at a lower cost. If you are skilled at sewing or know someone who is, try making a few original clothing items. My housemate bought a few metres of beautiful velvet, and made herself a dress for her Christmas party.
I hope you still have time to take some of these conscious ideas into consideration this Christmas. Share with us how you get on, and what ideas you have used!