I'm going to start off by saying I LOVE CHRISTMAS, I always have and I always will. So, I am not going to sit here and be a bah humbug and tell you to not give into consumerism this Christmas but yet how to refrain from traditional gifts, and discover some eco and socially friendly alternatives. Consumerism penetrates the holiday season each and every year, however buying gifts and practicing social change don't have to be mutually exclusive activities.
Alternative Christmas Gift Ideas:
Plants: Gifts that grow are a creative sustainable approach that make for a special gift during the holiday season. I chose to purchase some seeds from Sow n Sow at The Big Design Market this weekend. Your family and friends can plant them and watch them grow over time, a little piece of you in their house or garden. Natural soaps: Soaps made with pure plant oils that have the same natural properties as our skin are a thoughtful gift this Christmas, especially now it is summer. The Australian Natural Soap Company bring you fresh, ethical, handmade soap that is palm oil free, detergent free, paraben free, cruelty free & vegan. The Australian Natural Soap Company also donate towards The Orangutan Project - very cute!
Shop locally: By shopping locally you are supporting creatives and entrepreneurs in your area, this keeps skills local, encourages fine art and leads the way to a more sustainable future. There are many clothing companies that produce socially friendly garments such as B Goods Label, Vege Threads, Mono-Log and APOM. I also recently purchased some candles from AACUTE, they have the most amazing scented soy wood wick candles that come in different sizes and make for perfect christmas gifts. Photo frames, scrapbooks & letters: There is nothing better than giving a gift that is hand made. This year I sent my grandma back in England a recent photo of me in a photo frame along with a hand written letter. It really adds a personal touch and this is the kind of gift I think parents and grandparents would appreciate the most. Experiences: It's often nice for someone to experience something they have always wanted to do rather than gifting them with a tangible product that they don't really need or want. Have a think, what has your friend, brother, girlfriend talked about doing recently...do that!
Shopping online or at the market:
Based in Melbourne? Here is a list of markets featuring handmade, locally made, ethically made, fair trade and creative designs by some of Melbourne’s most talented emerging and established makers. Discover original Christmas gifts for family and friends:You can also shop online for vintage, hand made and locally produced products. I'm not talking about eBay; which would pull up 200,000 items under the search 'vintage t-shirt'. Here are a few other websites that are leading the way as home made, socially and environmentally friendly online marketplaces:
I still have a number of people yet to purchase for this Christmas, coming from a split family with two mums, two dads, six siblings, four nieces and a nephew - phew! So, if you have any other Christmas shopping ideas I would love to hear them. I hope you have a lovely Christmas celebrating with loved ones, I will be blogging and posting throughout the holidays so stay tuned. Merry Christmas.