Given the events of this year, there has never been a more important time to shop ethically and to make a positive impact with our pound.
Of course, the number one thing you can do to support your community is to shop local and independent. Yes, Amazon makes it easy to do all your festive shopping in less than an hour (and we’re all guilty of the odd last-minute purchase!), but there’s not much joy in the process. If you are reluctant to visit a thronging High Street in the middle of a global pandemic (and who could blame you), you will find most independent businesses offer online shopping. Knowing the money you spend goes directly to the business owner and their family is one way to warm your soul this winter.
You might also want to go further and buy presents from companies that give back to people in need (of which there are many more this year).
Below are a few suggestions of ethical festive gift options and independent retailers with online shopping for the whole family.
We have seen increased use of food banks and soup kitchens across the UK during the pandemic. In line with its waste not, want not attitude, Riverford Organic has partnered with FoodCycle, a registered charity which combines surplus food, volunteers and spare kitchen spaces to create nutritious three-course meals served for free in a warm and welcoming environment to vulnerable people at risk of food poverty and loneliness. Why not support a sustainable, ethical and employee-led independent business by gifting a seasonal box or two?
Alighieri Glimmer of Light Necklace
Rosh Mahtani launched Alighieri in 2014. A collection of jewellery inspired by Dante Alighieri’s ‘Divine Comedy’; each piece corresponds to one of the poet’s 100 poems and is crafted by hand in the six streets surrounding the London studio. To commemorate Refuge’s 50th anniversary in 2021, five beautiful pieces of jewellery are being created. The first, Glimmer of Light, is now available for pre-order. 100% of the profits from each necklace sold will be donated to Refuge.
Peter Pan Deluxe Edition
This year has made us all appreciate how important good health is as well as being together at home with our families. But for some children, being able to enjoy a family Christmas away from hospital is simply not possible. The Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity has partnered with MinaLima, the award-winning design studio behind the graphics for the Harry Potter films, to create a special edition of the classic tale of Peter Pan. All profits go to Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity to benefit children from across the UK.
Loving Earth’s Oceans is an eco-friendly home subscription box service launched by 16 year old Lysander Bickham. Leo’s Box aims to make it easy and affordable to live sustainably and reduce our impact on the planet. All boxes are made with recycled cardboard and products in all boxes are plastic and chemical free. You can gift a monthly subscription or a one-off Home or Beauty box. For every box purchased, Leo’s Box plants a tree and makes a donation to Plastic Oceans.
Home at Ten Peach Gin
Sis4ters Distillery has created a delicious peach gin to enjoy with friends and family this Christmas. Hospitality has been one of the hardest sectors hit by the economic effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, for every bottle sold £2 will be donated to ‘So Let’s Talk’, a charity supporting mental health for those working in the hospitality industry.
Fenton’s Notes on Love
Fenton has produced a beautiful book of essays entitled Notes on Love. The modern heirlooms founder states:
“We believe strongly that all love is created equal and should be celebrated equally. Sadly, this is a fight that is still ongoing. We hope this book will be uplifting, thought-provoking and reframe the way people view love, marriage and commitment.”
100% of the profits from each book sold will be donated to various charities, including Black Minds Matter, The Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT), Women’s Aid, Coram Beanstalk, and IKWRO.
As a book buying alternative to Amazon, Hive.co.uk supports hundreds of independent high street retailers and bookshops.
You can give the gift of a gift. Choose Love is the world’s first store that sells real products for refugees. Every purchase goes towards an item or service delivered through 135+ projects across the world.
Run by a collective of designers and craftsmen, Luna & Curious sells an assortment of homewares, clothing, toys, and curios.
A personal favourite of mine and a popular lifestyle store in London’s buzzing Brixton area, Diverse Gifts specialises in work by local artists and designers, as well as unique, handcrafted products.
There has never been a more important time for us to come together and think about the wider community, or to put it in a festive way, ‘friends we haven’t met yet’. By purchasing a gift for someone you love that gives back in some way, the meaning of your present increases ten-fold.
And that’s something to celebrate.
Melvyna Mumunie is an Employment Lawyer at BDBF. She is involved in leading BDBF’s CSR strategy and always looks for ways to give back to the community. In her spare time she is a volunteer adviser at Lawyers in the Soup Kitchen.
BDBF are employment law specialists in the insurance, academic, medical, legal, and financial services sectors. Contact us on 020 3828 0350 for employment law advice.