Buying a better Christmas

Christmas is the biggest money-making season for businesses and corporations. As soon as the autumnal pumpkins are away, supermarkets start rolling out the festive lights. Advent calendars hit the centre stage with the greatest variety I’ve ever seen. Mariah Carey now serenades you as you do your weekly shop.

There’s Christmas cushion covers, Christmas plant pots, Christmas crockery, and don’t forget the all-important Christmas jumpers! You’re expected to Christmas-ify your whole home… and all before you’ve even bought any gifts.

As Christians, we know this isn’t what Christmas is really about. But it’s hard not to get wrapped up in all the bells, ribbon and tinsel this season throws at us. Sadly, this approach to Christmas can leave creation feeling battered and bruised. Gifts come wrapped in packaging that pollutes our planet, and Christmas jumpers are crafted by overworked and underpaid people. 

So what can we do to make sure that we’re honouring the creation Jesus came to redeem in the way that we celebrate this Christmas?

Don’t buy decorations you won’t want next year.

I love decorating the house and getting festive. Still, the reality is that Christmas decorations are only up for a month, two if you’re crazy! 

We can help by not buying things that:

  1. you don’t have space to store until next year,
  2. they are too cheap to last past Boxing Day
  3. or are part of a trend that won’t make it to 2022. 

So let’s not commit to the Christmas cushion cover and go all out with the garlands unless you will use them again next year. At which point, hopefully, you won’t need to buy more decorations!

Be intentional with your gifts.

It can be so easy to buy a generic Christmas present when you’re unsure what to get someone. So many shops sell ‘stocking fillers’ – the cheap, slightly useless (but kind of fun) presents that you’ll use a couple times before deciding it’s not worth keeping. I know it might be funny on the day, but is the laugh worth it sitting in a landfill for decades? 

If you’re not sure what to get someone, ask! Or choose amore ethical and environmentally friendly options. You could buy a membership or subscription*, plants, an experience, or home-baked goods!

Where to shop?

One of the first options is shopping secondhand. Just because it’s a gift, it doesn’t mean it needs to be brand new. This doesn’t work for all products but you can find good quality (and cheaper) Christmas decorations, books, board games, electronics and furniture. Try Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace for this. 

If you can’t find what you’re looking for secondhand, check out some of my favourite ethical and sustainable brands here. Most of these are more expensive than your high street brands. The reality is gifts will cost more when materials are sourced sustainably and workers are paid a fair wage. 

If you aren’t convinced yet, why not try Secret Santa this year? You can each buy for a different person in your family or group of friends to make it cheaper. That way, you don’t need to take out a small loan to ethically shop this Christmas!

*depends on the subscription

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