How to shop ethically for yourself and others this Christmas

Well, we’re almost in that month of hectic festivities and holiday silliness again. That’s right, it may seem a little early to call it just yet, but by the end of this week we’ll be within the month of Christmas, be it good or bad news to you.

Whatever your feelings are towards the holiday, it’s important to take a moment to consider how to celebrate Christmas responsibly by choosing ethical ways to celebrate. Here are a number of ways you can do just that.

Christmas is the almighty period of consumption, and this doesn’t fare too well for an environment already struggling to deal with the excess waste from consumer goods.

Get creative with your gifts and decorations. Not everything under the Christmas tree has to be sealed in a fresh plastic container, which will be discarded after opening. Try putting together some DIY food or drink mixtures like homemade jam or even some homebrew beer!

Subscriptions or donations to ethical causes and charities like wildlife rescues or the purchase of carbon-sequestering trees are also a thoughtful and unique gift to buy for a friend. Let’s be honest, they’d probably much rather see the environment in better shape than receive yet another pair of Topshop socks with pictures of flamingoes drinking cocktails on them.

Dried and twisted orange peels make for neat aerial decorations as well as baked ginger-bread people which can easily be consumed. If you haven’t got a tree, you could challenge yourself to making one from completely natural items. Who needs a tree when you could find a gnarly tree branch to hang all your ethically sourced or created decorations from!?

A big thing to consider this year if you’re planning on purchasing clothes for a friend is where the clothes have come from, who made them, and what they were paid to make the clothes. Some larger retail companies like Big W are known to pay below a sustainable working wage to factory workers in 3rd world countries, like Bangladesh who work unbelievably long hours just to remain above levels of extreme poverty. These workers are often forced to leave school at a young age to work long days in a cramped sweatshop just to make ends meet.

Thankfully, Oxfam has got together a list of which clothing companies are naughty and nice in accordance with their payment to the producers of their products, which can be reviewed via their website.

Christmas is a time of sharing and caring for others. Why not show how much you care for the planet you live on as well as the others you share it with in distant places, by shopping and conducting your festivities in ethical and sustainable ways.