Holiday gifts – a guide to conscious shopping

This post has been revised on Dec 2022

Jumping on the bandwagon of the holiday gift guide, I want to give my contribution this year. I know it’s a tough year for everyone and we’ve been all living the post covid trauma and astronomical prices due to inflation and ongoing war in Ukraine. Plus, my frustration with consumerism is known, so don’t expect sensational gift ideas here. This intended more of a guide for conscious and meaningful shopping and DOES NOT contain affiliate links, all views, photos, and unpopular opinions are my own.

First of all, if you do intend to shop at all, by all means support a local/independent brand but please plan in advance to avoid disappointments. Small business owners aren’t Amazon so they can’t provide next day deliveries, or you can’t expect them to provide last minute deals. It takes time to handmake, pack and ship items and, very wisely, many small businesses close their shops in mid Dec to avoid the shopping mania and delays with postage.

Small business owners aren’t Amazon, they can’t provide last minute assistance!

My own
Cardiff Castle

I’m all for buying from local and independent brands, supporting ethical practises that respect the environment and the people who produce the items. But I also understand that handmade, personalised and ethical items can be quite expensive. If they’re out of your budget or you don’t want to give a special item to work colleagues or that family member you just talk to because it’s family, then there’s no need to feel forced to shop local or ethical. This goes with every gift idea by the way, you don’t have to buy design or pricy stuff if you don’t have the capacity for it at the moment or for fear to disappoint friends!

Don’t try to impress anyone! Going bankrupt to please others won’t benefit anyone!

My own

The top gift choice for me is food, trust me that no one will be disappointed by receiving a nice dessert, pie or locally produced cheese and wine. It is affordable, can easily be purchased at the grocery store and you can be 100% sure that won’t end up straight in the trash bin.

There is also the option of booking a table for 2 in a nice restaurant or bar, gifting a food or wine tasting in person or as a virtual experience. Plus, within the theme of food you can opt for cooking classes either in person or as virtual experience. Gift voucher anyone?? What about give someone a voucher and let them decide what to do with that amount of money? Food voucher, holiday voucher, make-up, clothing, the limit is the sky!

On to my personal choices

If you want to make a meaningful gift while supporting women in science, the 2023 women in science calendar from Reinvented Magazine is what you need. My friends at Reinvented are back with the STEM princesses calendar for the second year. They’re trying to provide female role models in science for teens. To purchase the calendar, support their cause and more women joining the science club at the cost of $20, check this link.

Following the idea of gifting subscriptions, I would suggest giving someone a few month access to Scribd. Scribd is an app which offers unlimited access to e-books and audiobooks. Their subscription package is pretty awesome and a lot more convenient than Amazon or Kindle. It only costs 8£/m, alternatively you can go for scribd lite (4£/m) with limited access to e-books and audiobooks. Just to point out what a great deal they offer, Audible only offer 1 book a month for 7£. The idea of gifting a subscription can be extended to anything, a magazine, food boxes, etc. If you like to keep your hair tight in a nice ponytail as I do, my friend Natalie just launched a subscription box for her handmade scrunchies. Honestly, they are so elegant and well-made that you wouldn’t tell the difference from a designer one.

If you want to keep traditional and give personal care products, The body shop is a new brand to watch out. I was introduced to it by my friend Roxie who was invited to open a new branch in Bromley. Then, I went myself to the one in Canterbury and I immediately fell in love. All body care products are ethically produced and they smell lovely. My personal recommendations are the Japanese blossom lotion and the British rose body butter. Their smell is glorious. I feel like this brand will match Lush in popularity very shortly!

Last but not least, if nothing on the list above convinced you and you want to impress your friends with something unusual, you can buy them an entry ticket for a museum, gallery, exhibition or for the theatre. If it’s beyond your budget, a movie ticket will do too. Imagine visiting an old Castle in Wales! How cool is that?

Personally speaking, I told my friend not to buy me anything. I had a rough year this year and the best gift I could have got was my friends picking up the phone when I needed them the most. The rest is all a lot of BS. Byeeee

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