Over the last few years I’ve become known among my friends and colleagues as a bit of an eco-warrior. It’s been gradual, and largely due to this blog, but it’s definitely sticking – I was dubbed ‘eco-queen’ by a colleague last week, and that’s in a company whose sole purpose is to help people buy better.
This all sounds great (if a bit embarrassing at times), but it probably means I’m a nightmare to get gifts for. So here’s my challenge:
How do you convince your friends to buy you ethical gifts?
Fortunately, I get to run workshops sometimes and I set this as a challenge to 30-odd people this summer. At least two of the groups suggested some kind of wish list which you could give to your friends, to help point them in the direction of what you need but also of ethical brands you like. It was such a great idea, I’m stealing it (and suggest you do the same… or if you’re lazy, and like the sound of what’s here, you can just refer your friends to mine).
Disclaimer: if you are getting a gift from me this Christmas, it will probably be listed here somewhere. I apologise for the spoilers, but it would be crazy not to take my own advice.
My ethical (eco, conscious…) gift wish list
1. Anything from Aerende
Everything in this store is made in a way that supports a social cause. Read the story behind each on their makers page, admire those beautiful wooden spatulas (note: I already own a chopping board, thankyouverymuch, but oo look at that clothes horse).
2. Luxury pants
I’ve talked about these guys before, but honestly, no special occasion is too special for these beautiful pants from oncemore. Handmade in a workshop in Paris from silk fabric off-cuts. Hello.
3. The kitchen sink (courtesy of ethicalsuperstore)
My husband and I have been battling over the washing up recently. He does most of it, but I refuse to let him buy normal sponges (they’re headed straight for landfill). After a few failed attempts (cloths: washable but too soft, fabric pads: fell apart and landfill anyway…) we settled on this loofah sponge. Works wonders and can be composted at the end of its life. And this coconut scrubber is amazing! Who knew coconut could do so much. Pair with some ecover washing up liquid and you’ve made yourself a lovely little bundle for your food-loving friends.
4. A little piggy
Perfect for your animal-loving friend who lives in rented accommodation, this little piggy really takes up no space. An old friend bought this for me last year – you’re effectively donating the cost of a gift to Oxfam to support someone out there who needs a real, live pig a lot more than you need a cute pig ornament. And who wouldn’t cheer up at the sight of this poverty-busting pig? (NB. You do get a card, so there is something to hand over on the day. I recommend perfecting your pig-drawing skills to personalise it a little.)
5. Anything edible from Cafe Direct or Divine
These two brands go above and beyond Fairtrade: both are part-owned by the cocoa or coffee growers. And you wouldn’t underpay yourself now, would you. If you’re not one to shop online, you can find these in any Oxfam or Waitrose, and some of the larger Sainsbury’s too. (My fav coffee is the Machu Picchu, ground or bean.)
6. Something sparkly from Anuka
This jeweller makes her lovely pieces in Chester, UK, and sources her gold and silver through Fairmined-certified mines, ensuring everyone is treated fairly throughout. I happen to work with her, but honestly, go see how pretty her pieces are.
7. Second-hand treasures
For some reason, it’s not really socially acceptable to gift second-hand goods. Please consider this my permission (and encouragement) to get me something second hand, for this Christmas and forever. Charity shops are amazing treasure troves, or you could head to a vintage store if that’s more your thing. Or even find something wonderful in your house which you know I would love. Tip: find a charity shop in a posh area for fancier goods…
8. A poem or a picture
Growing up, when asked what he wanted for Christmas, Dad would often reply “just write me a poem, or draw me a picture”. I’m not sure we really understood why, but we did often do just that: and now Dad has some lovely (and some slightly less-well executed) cards which span the years, showing my tentative poetry skills and my sister’s growing artistic talent. The results might not have always been incredible, but we put time and effort into his cards: and that’s part of the beauty. So if there’s enough love in it, a card is plenty.
What are you asking for for Christmas? Can you give your friends a bit of help in sourcing those gifts for you?