Fighting through crowds at department stores, standing in long queues and spending unnecessary amounts of money on non-essential gifts kind of kills our festive buzz; not to mention dealing with the ultimate Christmas conundrum of what on Earth to buy for our families.
We want to make our loved ones feel special but often struggle to find gifts that do this. With the abundance of cheap consumer goods and easy internet shopping, our friends and family tend to already have everything they need. This means that come December, the question ‘What do you want for Christmas?’ is met with a blank stare. Nobody needs anything, so everybody ends up buying token gifts like food hampers; or things that are incredibly impractical, like novelty Santa socks or a cushion shaped like a candy-cane. Now don’t get us wrong, the Santa socks and candy-cane cushion will be enjoyed for about five minutes after the recipient opens them, but by Boxing Day, they’ll inevitably end up in the bin or junk-drawer.
So let’s make this Christmas a thoughtful one. Instead of spending our hard-earned cash on stuff our loved ones don’t really need, let’s spend it on something meaningful that will have a positive impact on the world. Not only will you save time and money and feel better about putting some good back into the world, you’ll also avoid the shopping centre crowds – and wouldn’t that be a Christmas miracle.
Here are our five favourite ethical Christmas gift ideas.
1. CHOOSE LOVE Shop. Run by charity organisation, Help Refugees, this online shop has loads of great gifts to buy for those less fortunate. You can buy emergency blankets, clothes and warm socks for refugees spending this Christmas on the road. And what’s better, you can buy them on behalf of your loved ones. For those in London and New York, they’ll also have pop-up stores this year.
2. Dalit Candles. Not only does this organisation make stunning candles, all the profits go towards supporting the Dalits – the most impoverished and underprivileged community in all of India. The candle operation is run by Life Association, a registered charity who for the past 20 years have been building and managing schools in India.
3. Kiva. Get your family to pool together all the money they would spend on gifts, and provide a valuable loan instead. Kiva loans money to people in underprivileged countries, so they can use it to set up local businesses, generate steady income for themselves and their families and lift themselves out of poverty. Once the they’re financially stable, they pay it back. Kiva has a 96 per cent pay back rate from all the loans they distribute, so their system really works, and makes a very heart-warming Christmas gift for you and your family.
4. TOMS. TOMS lives by a one-for-one motto – for every pair of TOMS shoes you buy, they donate a pair of shoes to impoverished children so they can safely walk to school. They also sell sunglasses, with each purchase providing sight-saving surgery, prescription glasses or medical treatment; and TOMS Bags, where purchases provide training for skilled birth attendants and the vital materials needed to help a woman safely give birth.
5. Make memories. We think the best way to spend Christmas is by spending time with our family while doing some good at the same time. So why not organise a time for your family to volunteer together at a local charity on Christmas Day? You’ll get to hang out together and give some much-needed help to those less fortunate.
For more ideas, take a look at our very own indiGO Ethical Gifts shopping page.
And for more ways you can give back to the world – not just at Christmas, but always – check out our indiGO Volunteers opportunities.