Ethical giving at Christmas

Present giving is an integral part of Christmas celebrations: the vision of rosy-cheeked children with beaming faces as they survey a wealth of carefully wrapped presents beneath a towering tree, blazing with lights, is one that many people feel epitomises the festive season. Whilst giving is a generous and thoughtful thing to do which can bring enormous pleasure to both giver and receiver, for a growing number of families, there is a feeling that gifting should be done in an ethical manner. Read on to discover our ideas for ensuring that your presents aren’t just delightful things to own, but also embody the virtues of generosity, personal responsibility and caring for our planet which are as much part of Christmas as the pudding and rum punch! 

Just don’t!

We are lucky enough to live in a country where most people are able to afford life’s necessities, as well as having a little extra over for the odd treat or two. This means that in many cases, gifts may not actually be used of welcomed by the recipient. In an age of over-consumption where many people are working towards minimizing their possessions, gifting them more may just cause aggravation and lead to wastage. Check with friends and family members in advance to see whether they would welcome a present: if not, then agree to mutually not gift, or buy a charitable gift, as detailed below.

Charitable giving

Although many people may not welcome gifted “tat”, a considerable number would value the opportunity to help others less fortunate. Instead of traditional present-buying, a growing number of individuals are choosing to gift to charity. Such gifts can range from a straight-forward donation of cash or kind (remember foodbanks, church groups and similar organisations are always on the lookout for donations) through to more intriguing gifting such as funding a goat for a farmer in the developing world, or adopting a creature from a rescue centre. 

Second-hand giving

Not only does second-hand giving enable you to snap up a bargain, it also reduces landfill and can often enable givers to discover rare, unusual delights to gift! Used books, board games, crockery or even clothing can be transformed into useful, appreciated presents. Ask in advance for present suggestions from friends and family, then get shopping! As well as charity shops and online auction sites, Freegle, jumble sales, boot fairs and auctions are also great places to acquire some top-grade used items to gift.

Up-cycled gifts

If you are handy with a few basic tools, or enjoy sewing, there are literally thousands of different gifts which can be created by upcycling an existing item. From giving old clothes a makeover through to creating furniture from newspapers, artisan knitteds with a few scraps of wool or a stunning collage from items destined for the bin, it’s amazing what can be achieved with a little creativity and persistence. Take a look at https://www.pinterest.co.uk/ for inspiration!

Give time!

We all lead such busy lives, that finding time to spend with people we care about can be a challenge! Yet time is one of the most important gifts we can give. Show you care by committing to spend time with someone: whether that’s scheduling in a coffee with someone who doesn’t get a lot of visitors, agreeing that Saturdays will be family time rather than “jobs day” or decide to gift your community through an hour or so of voluntary work.

Although there is still a place for conventional gifting as part of the festive celebrations, hopefully we have provided you with some ideas to broaden your present repertoire,  including a few ethical options which can add a refreshing dimension to your Christmas giving.