OPINION: Each year I tell myself “this is the year I will keep my Christmas consumption minimal”.
I diligently put together a tidy little spreadsheet detailing the limits of my excess, and then equally diligently, put it out of my mind as I gradually slide into overdraft.
Paranoid musings like “I can’t just get my mum a book can I? She looked after our child all year! or “Do you give preschool teachers presents? Only if you don’t want your child to be neglected next year!” eventually snowball into a Christmas list that makes Santa look lazy.
Despite all of this, I know that this kind of consumption is terrible. It is killing our planet and making corporations who don’t care about us richer.
So, with all of this in mind, how do partially neurotic people-pleasers like myself make sure their inevitable Christmas spending spree has as little negative impact as possible?
Well, intentionally choosing your presents from social enterprises is a good place to start.
Here are five great socially driven present options that might assuage your consumer guilt this Christmas:
27seconds wine — Selling wine able to be ordered by the case or the bottle, this awesome little online vino company sends all of its profits to combat human trafficking through NGOs such as Hagar. Every 27 seconds somebody is trafficked into slavery, your purchase can help make this stop.
Pathway reusable coffee cups — The name might not be snappy but these styley reusable coffee cups minimize environmental waste and generate funds for Pathway Charitable Group, an NGO that helps people make a fresh start with prison reintegration, accommodation and employment.
Kilmarnock Enterprises — This amazing social enterprise sells beautiful wooden toys, children’s furniture and more. As well as creating lovely products, Kilmarnock provides enriching paid work for adults with a range of abilities and equips people with the skills they need to transition into open employment.
Trade Aid — With so many trendy homewares, toys, books and furniture options Trade Aid can really be a one stop shop for everyone in the family. When you shop here you know that your purchase makes producers’ lives better and offers new economic opportunities to people who need them.
Smiles Gifts with World Vision — If someone has everything, buy something for someone who doesn’t! Choose a chicken, a goat or a pig, give someone the chance to start a new business or fund new access health care. All will have a positive impact on this world we all share.
So don’t be guilty this Christmas, be intentional. Check out what some of these great businesses have to offer and buy presents that will benefit you and the world around you. Your purchasing choices can make a difference.
Jo Taylor-de Vocht works for Pathway, a charity that helps prisoners reintegrate into society.