Monday 30 December 2019

Hope You Had Time............... consider all this when you were rushing around doing 101 things at once before Christmas!!

 I found this after reading one of Elaine's wonderful rants on her Random Jottings Blog

This is from a website for a magazine telling us the latest way we should have shopped for a perfect Christmas for the planet................If only we were all perfect!

1.Are you gifting smart?

Before you start to panic-buy Christmas presents, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do they actually need this item?
  • Is this item going to enhance their life in some way?
  • Could I give a non-material gift, such as a voucher for a special experience day?
You should also consider whether you could find a similar item in a charity shop or second hand. It is important to cherish what is already in existence rather than always seeking something new

2.What is it made from?

Finding truly sustainable materials can be a bit of a minefield. But, there are some great planet-friendly ones out there. Try and avoid plastic where you can, unless you are able to find products using recycled plastics or bioplastics (made from cornstarch). Other options for an eco-friendly present include products that are made from recycled ocean plastic, organic cotton, upcycled materials, Tencel and ECONYL.
If you want to gift food items, look for products with locally-sourced ingredients (ideally organic). Avoiding products containing palm oil and artificial additives is another way to make a food more of an eco-friendly Christmas gift.
For beauty products, you can use the app Think Dirty. You simply scan the barcode of the product and it will provide you information on the product, including its ingredients. The app also suggests ‘cleaner’ alternatives, a simple way to gift more sustainably

3.How was it created?

Once you have considered what the product is made from, it is also important to look into how the product was made. Products which have been handmade or created using a simple manufacturing process will require less energy. This results in less CO2 being emitted during the process, especially when compared to multi-stage intensive factory production.

4.Who are you buying from?

When buying Christmas gifts, consider who you are buying from. It’s best to go for independent, sustainable brands who are committed to the cause, rather than high-street companies who are mass-producing their products.

5.Where was the product made or grown?

Transporting a product, whether that is via air, road or sea, will contribute to its carbon footprint. It is best to consider whether you can get products that are locally made. Not only is this good for the environment, it will also benefit the local economy.

6.Who made the product?

When shopping in a sustainable and ethical way, it is always important to consider who actually made the product you are buying. Look for the Fairtrade certification to be sure that the producers and creators were paid a fair price. For fashion brands, it is also possible to use the app Good on You, which gives an overall brand rating, as well as a break down of its labour, environment and animal ratings and information on why the brand has received those ratings


7.Will the product last?

If the item is single-use or looks like it will have a short life span, this is a big blow to its sustainable credentials. It’s better to spend a little more on an item that will remain in good condition for years to come.

8.Is it recyclable?

Consider whether the item may end up in landfill, or whether the materials are all recyclable. For more information on what materials are recyclable, see the following website

9.Where do the product’s profits end up?

Supporting local producers, independent brands or social enterprises is a great way to maximise the positive impact of your purchase. You can choose a product made by a company where the profits are used to support a worthwhile cause, or a product made by a local company which will help boost the local economy.

10.Where are you shopping?

Where possible, you want to cut out as many middle-men as possible to ensure your money goes directly to the producer. That ties in with the above as the more profit the producer gets, the bigger positive impact your purchase can have. If you shop online, go straight to the producer’s website, rather than shopping on Amazon.

11. What certifications does the company have?

Looking out for official certifications and awards is one of the easiest ways to gain confidence in the item you are buying. Any badges should be listed on the company website or the product itself. The following guide can help with what certifications you should be looking for:,gb
You should also look out for companies employing carbon offsetting schemes to minimise their environmental impact. For example, many companies like Buyagift are partnered with Cool Earth to offset four times the amount of carbon produced by their day to day operations and their experiences.

12.How will you wrap the gift?

Choose items with minimal packaging, and make sure that any packaging is recyclable. When you are in store, could you ask the shop assistant not to wrap the gift? In some shops, such as Lush, there is the option to have items wrapped in fabric. This can be reused in numerous ways, such as scarves, hair ties, or even tied into bags. When it comes to wrapping the presents yourself, could you use a reusable gift bag that the recipient could re-gift, or even old newspaper? Remember, sellotape and other sticky tapes are made from plastic. So, consider using a plastic-free version such as paper tape or ribbons that can be reused

Well, I'm just so glad I didn't read that Before Christmas!

Seriously though,  I do agree with lots of the points made but listing 12 things to make you feel guilty about buying a present is probably not the way to go about changing peoples Christmas shopping habits.

Back Tomorrow


  1. 13 (and most importantly). will the recipient like it?!!!

    talk about taking the fun out of Christmas!

  2. I agree Sue. Making people feel guilty isn't helpful. Yes, we should all be trying to alter our habits to be less wasteful, more sustainable etc. But many of us are working to a tight budget and the "hand crafted artisan gift from the independent shop" is a dream, not a reality. The article doesn't seem to mention giving with love, and thoughtfulness for the recipients as well as for the planet. Rosie's doll is plastic, from a high street chain. But it is durable, washable and will be played with for a long time. And judging by the past few days, she will treasure it. We do the best we can with the resources we have!

  3. I bought my brother a pair of socks and his wife a pair of winter tights. They were both very pleased with their gifts. I wrapped them in brown paper as I didn't have any Christmas paper. They gave me a jigsaw. I was very pleased. Christmas is about friendship and love and exchange of small gifts and all the rest is just hype and irrelevant.

  4. Life isn't long enough for all that! Nor are pockets!
    OK, so I see what they're getting at but . . .

  5. I just give money to my family and then they can find their own happiness..

    1. Snap ... me too. With love and best wishes and the instruction to use it on whatever they want to use it on.

  6. It's a double edge sword. Doing the best for the planet but at the same time sucking all the fun out of Christmas. I'm more for cutting out the hype and expense, taking it back to family time together smothered in fun, and also not losing sight of the real meaning of Christmas.

  7. My giddy aunt, you gave me a start there! I wondered whether I had been writing things in my sleep - but no, not guilty, it wasn't me. Another Elaine. Doubtless they are all very worthy points, but I lost the will to live before I reached the end of the list.

  8. Although this is very commendable to have these thoughts over EVERY purchase I don't think there are many people who have the time or inclination to weigh-up any of those points, before happily ticking another purchase off their long list of recipients.

    I hate shopping for anything and don't know about anyone else, but when I went shopping to buy Christmas presents, I just wanted to get it over and done with as quickly as possible as there were more important and equally pressing jobs to get done at home for Christmas, especially when going out to work.

    As I said in a comment on one of Elaine's rants, 'I wonder if these people practice what they preach'? Somehow I doubt it!

  9. I've read the article a couple of times and I can't see a problem with it. I don't have the budget to buy from artisan producers and always take into account all the ethical aspects of a gift, but I do want to learn how I might do better next time.

    Christmas is about thinking of others and considering who produced as well as who is going to consume my gift falls under that I think.

  10. Buying presents can be a bit of a minefield! One year I bought my friends shares in a goat, to be given to a family somewhere by Oxfam. That seemed to tick all the green sustainable boxes.

  11. That's just what you need to ramp up the stress of gift shopping, whilst trying to be good, often you can't put your ethics on others, expecially if they are children, who these days know what they want.

  12. Oh blimey, I only read the titles, if I'd seen that before Christmas and read it all the shops would have been shut and nobody would have got anything - mission accomplished probably! While I'm all for being more aware I'm fed up to the back teeth of people preaching about what we should all be doing. It's getting right on my pips lately. People don't seem to be happy unless they're taking the fun out of everything these days. xx

  13. I like you Sue I do agree with a lot of it but reading it makes me glad I gave all my grand childred money!

  14. If I managed to read that list and follow the ideas, I probably would have more of a problem buying a gift than I already have. I do follow the do they need it and will they like it rule.

    Glad we give our sons cash.

    God bless.

  15. Wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry.

  16. I didn't manage to read the entire list even. How crazy! Gifts should demonstrate love. End of my list.


  17. Oh dear! Too much thought at Christmas time would stress me out. I go for an agreement to not do presents but spend time with people you love. Young children have so much plastic these days.

  18. We did buy more considered purchases this year - no plastic toys for the grandchildren at the request of my daughter (she is the environmental co-ordinator at her place of work - so I have very little option but to be green as far as I can!). I made some of my gifts and also gave flower arrangements which will compost. I am sure I haven't fulfilled all the criteria on your list but the point is we all work towards it - maybe just one gift this year that fits the bill - if we all just bought one sustainable gift then it would have a big impact across the whole country. It really needs to be something the manufacturers take on board though too and not make things in plastic in the first place or find better packaging methods - they are available (Neal's Yard use sustainable packaging) but many companies are just ignoring it presently until they are forced by public opinion to change.
    Being green would never take the fun out of my Christmas - I had fun as a child in the 50's before plastic items were so widely available.

  19. I try to improve year on year, but will always be a work in progress. I have to make compromises sometimes with work/life and budgetary constraints. Arilx

  20. I do think about presents, but not to the extent of this list! We buy a lot of presents, which I’m quite happy doing, but if I adhered to this list, I’d have to start now! I am hoping to make more presents to give next year, but time isn’t always on my side.

  21. Yikes. I'm another one who has to pick and choose. I try my best, but with a limited budget and other considerations I have to pick and choose my battles. As long as I am improving I consider it to be a bonus


  22. I do the same as KristenM for my grandchildren. This year they got Buzzing Bees, Sports Equipment and Baby Chicks from Plan Canada to send to children overseas. Their parents got similar gifts and were all quite happy with the idea.

  23. We're all at the point where we don't really need anything so 90% of the gifts we gave were gift cards. Lots of them were for restaurants and others to stores that catered to things the recipient is interested in. I find that is much better than buying things that you think a person would like only to find later that they didn't like it or use it and it is at the back of a cupboard at their house never to be seen again.