Holiday gifts – a guide to conscious shopping

Jumping on the bandwagon of the Holiday gift guide, I want to give my contribution this year. I’ve already expressed by frustration with consumerism, so don’t expect sensational gift ideas here. This is more of a guide for conscious and meaningful shopping. To know more about conscious shopping please check one of my old articles. This guide DOES NOT contain affiliate link, all views, photos, and unpopular opinions are my own.

First of all, if you intend do shop and support a local/independent brand, 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 make, 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
Stunning Canterbury

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 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 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’re looking for a meaningful gift that will make an impact on someone else life while also helping women-owned small businesses, then the Reinvented Magazine is what you’re looking for. For folks outside the USA, there’s the option of gifting a digital version because shipping can be quite expensive. Reinvnted even produced a women in STEM inspired calendar this year. Both calendar and magazine costs around $20. $20 is also the price of the annual magazine subscription. FORREAL? Yes

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 Dover Castle or Canterbury Cathedral as a Christmas gift! How cool is that?

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