While many people claim not to want presents feeling they have enough and others feel it hard to justify asking for more “stuff” I have to say I love both the buying and the giving and, yes, the getting, so perhaps the answer lies in buying presents that won’t add to the landfill overload (see earlier post on eco wrapping etc). So I have put together a collection of items that, while they all come from environmentally friendly or sustainable sources are also just so darn lovely that they make the perfect presents and look no guilt. I’ll take one of each please. And don’t forget these are just ideas – at the very least they may introduce you to new shops.
And don’t forget you can always fill a bowl, add a book, throw in some fabulous coffee or tea or music or magazine subscription if you feel an idea seems a little bit random on its own. So a cushion may seem like an odd gift to some but add the book, the mug and the hot chocolate and suddenly you are giving the gift of me-time. And who doesn’t want that?
So this cushion above is from Collective Stories, which works with traditional craftsmen from around the world helping local communities. Sometimes there are “happy mistakes” where the dye is the wrong colour or there is a weaving error so to ensure the artisan is still paid, they are sold as gorgeous one-offs with a discount.
I love anything with a pomegranate motif and so I find I am including these lovely soap bars on my Christmas list. This particular one is good for reducing oiliness and acne as it contains the antioxidant and astringent properties of pomegranate juice and the anti-ageing and anti-microbial properties of red wine. It also has the Dictamnus for its astringent and soothing substances, and an exotic blend of essential oils. There are other varieties available. A great teenage stocking filler and you could add a lovely soap dish too. As an aside – my student 20yo son is increasingly asking for lovely toiletries as presents as his student budget doesn’t extend to lovely shampoo and soap etc so if you are struggling for older boys this might be a good place to start.
As someone who leaves every umbrella and refillable cup wherever I do it has become an expensive habit to maintain. And often I find I don’t want to drink out of the bamboo, plastic, glass cups when I’m at home – where at least I won’t lose them. Unless they end up in the 18yo’s room, but that’s another story. Anyway, then I found this wooden wakecup and it’s just rather lovely. It’s £20 and made from beech. Pictured is the elephant’s trunk handle and there is also one with two holes for fingers, which I like more but this was the better picture. Yes I am that person. I think we have hit the one for me one for you part of the shopping.
A spot of lighting now and this is a lamp with a cork based sourced in Portugal. It comes with a three metre long fabric cable and I have just spotted that it won’t come in time for Christmas. But I’m going to leave it here because a)some of us have husbands with birthdays in January and a second dose of inspiration can be too much to hope for and b) Nove is a store that is dedicated to the beauty of cork, which is sustainable and eco-friendly and it’s a small business so it will always find a place on these pages. And, while I’m telling you about it: NOVE translates from the Portuguese language as nine; the harvest of cork trees can only be carried out every nine years, this is after its first harvest when the tree is 25 years old. Each cork oak tree commonly lives more than 200 years, so a tree can only be harvested about eighteen times in its lifetime.
Moving into the kitchen now as I’ve always had a thing for chopping boards. I use them as serving platters and also as decoration as they will always bring a bit of warmth propped up against the wall in a room full of cold hard surfaces. These are handmade in Bristol by Konk Furniture and I love the finger hole which turns them into a sort of artist’s palette. Again this is more of a furniture store but one that it might be useful to know.
This rather gorgeous abstract rug is made from recycled cotton and is plastic free. It measures 120cm by 180cm and there are lots of other designs and sizes on the Ian Snow site. It also conforms to the Sedex audit which includes: equal opportunities, takes measures to avoid environmental degradation, observes the law regarding working hours and fair pay.
Back to trays and these lovely circular brass ones make great candle holders as well as anything else holders/coasters. The Small Home works with small socially responsible craftspeople and producers and has curated a lovely collection of homewares and womens’ accessories. It all makes for a lovely browse.
Lastly, this rather lovely recycled glass bowl from Form. Cue end note about when life gives you lemons etc, which, given the last two years might mean that there is a lot of lemonade in the world. Perhaps you can fill it with biscuits or small cakes or almost anything you fancy so you are not handing over a random empty bowl. Because it doesn’t matter what you spend it really is, absolutely, the thought behind it that counts.