Earlier this month I chatted a bit about having an eco-conscious Christmas & sustainable gift buying. I wanted to build on that with a bit about my goal for keeping my Christmas shopping as local as possible, and how it has gone this year!
*I live in a lovely market town with many super-cute independent shops. Not everyone is as fortunate to have so much on their doorstep, so this really is for the people who are able to shop locally! Everyone & their situations are different, and I’d never want to make anyone feel bad for not shopping locally this Christmas. So – as always – if you’re able to implement what I’m chatting about into your life, please do! But if you aren’t able to, then don’t feel like I’m preachin’ (’cause I ain’t!).*
Christmas Shopping Locally – How did it go?
So, y’all know I love shopping locally & using independent companies as much as possible. And with so much literally outside my front door, I thought it’d be a sin to not make the most of it this year!
I made a pact with myself that I would only shop in my highstreet shops this year (or as much as possible), and do you know what? I’ve done pretty bloomin’ well. All the gifts I’ve bought for my parents & brothers (apart from one little thing for my youngest brother) I bought in Tavistock. My other brother will be especially pleased about that as he’s very eco-conscious. I’ve also bought everything for our friends (and children of friends!) in Tavistock as well – yay!
Where I fell down was with presents for Euan – why are men so hard to buy for?! The shops we have in Tavistock are wonderful, but they do lack a bit when it comes to Euan’s taste. However, his entire stocking are gifts from shops on my highstreet, and I’d say 40% of his presents. That’s pretty good, right?!
The Importance of Shopping Locally
So why is it actually important to shop locally? There are many reasons, but these are the ones which resonate the most for me.
Firstly, the environment. In the grand scheme of things, Christmas shopping locally won’t make a huge impact on the crisis. But every little helps! Items in highstreet shops are already there. They have already been shipped, so you’re not adding to your carbon footprint by having things delivered! And if – like me – you live within walking distance of shops, that’s even better! No need to drive to get your Christmas shopping done.
Secondly, supporting local businesses. This is done by both shopping in their stores and shopping along the highstreet, even if that’s a chain. How? Well, a highstreet only thrives if it’s desirable. It’s only desirable if it has a wide range of shops, and shops that people have heard of. If we don’t shop in our highstreets (chains, independents, or otherwise) then shops will close – including the big ones! Highstreet chains are equally as important as independent shops, because without the chains you wouldn’t have the footfall for the independent shops!
In turn, that also means more jobs for the town. The more shops we have, the more employment there is. The more employment, the more people stay living here. The more people living here, the more money gets spent in the town… and so on. You get the picture anyway!
Lastly… It’s fun! And festive. Nothing gets me in the mood for Christmas more than a stroll down a christmassy highstreet, popping in & out of shops, and eventually stopping for a coffee (or maybe even something stronger…!).
Let me know if you did any local Christmas shopping this year! What is your favourite thing to do to get you in the festive mood?!
If you’re needing a bit of festive inspo to help get you in the mood, check out some of my previous posts…
First & foremost, Happy December! The Festive month is upon us and I can’t wait to get stuck in to all things Christmas. Have you decorated your house yet? I think we are doing it tomorrow! I have lots of festive content planned throughout December… But, I wanted to kick-start the month with some eco-conscious and sustainability at Christmas posts. Nothing drastic, just little changes you can make/things to be aware of whilst you are planning your celebrations & buying your presents.
In the UK alone, around 8 million Christmas trees are bought each year. That is potentially a lot of waste. On the flip side, artificial trees (whilst they last longer) are made of mostly plastic, and use a lot of energy to manufacture. So is there a right or wrong?
Honestly? Not really. But there are a few things you can do to be a bit more eco-conscious with your tree this year. Firstly, if you have an artificial tree, look after it best you can. Make it last as long as possible. Fix any broken bits and spruce it up rather than just tossing it to one side & buying a new one.
If – like me – you love a real Christmas tree, then try to buy it from a local supplier. In the West-Country we are lucky enough to have many independent places selling trees grown on their own land. Or – if you have the space – you could even grow one (bit late now, but worth thinking about). Of course, not everyone is lucky enough to be surrounded by local tree-growers. But if you are then please do!
You can also look out for trees with FSC certification. And make sure you recycle your tree come January!
This is two-part. Firstly, wrapping your gifts & reusing your cards. Secondly the gifts themselves (which I will come onto in a different blog post later…).
Last year (in the spirit of being eco-conscious) I ditched the very tempting Christmas wrapping paper. Instead, wrapped all my presents in brown paper & string. Most ‘normal’ wrapping papers cannot be recycled, whereas brown paper can. Plus, if you’re savvy you can find brown paper that has already been recycled – win win! Doing this also allows you to get creative with gorgeous ribbons & extras (but remember to keep hold of them for reusing next year too!).
Another point about gifts… Don’t buy for the sake of buying. And if you have to buy, maybe try consumable products instead. Everyone always ends up with presents each year that they are never going to use. These presents either get left in a cupboard or thrown away. If you feel like you have to send someone a gift, but don’t know what they like, go for chocolates/cheeses/wines/hampers/sauces etc etc – things they can eat! That way we can cut down the mass-production of pointless and unused gifts. And if you can get away with not buying too many gifts, or perhaps donating to a cause instead, then do that. The less we buy, the less is produced, which in turn reduces our carbon footprint massively (and the footprint of the world!).
Personally, I love sending & receiving Christmas cards but I know they are not the most eco-friendly of items. Most people throw away their Christmas cards (1.5 billion in the UK alone each year – wowza), which is of course a huge waste. Instead, why not keep them in a box for the year and use the fronts of them as gift tags for next year? My granny used to do this and I think it’s a great way to reuse beautiful cards!
Alternatively, you could always send e-cards (which I think is the direction we’ll end up going in), and there’s always the option of getting creative & making your own (using recycled materials, obvs). Or – of course – not send any at all (but I don’t like this idea much – I’m a sap for tradition!).
General Eco-Conscious Awareness
At the end of the day, the best thing you can do it to just be aware of having an eco-conscious Christmas. When it comes to your food shop, buy locally as much as you can (especially your meat!), which not only cuts your carbon footprint but also supports local businesses at this expensive time of year. Be aware of where your items are coming from/being made etc, and maybe think twice about buying them if they have been shipped from the other side of the world.
Christmas is such a hectic time of year, but it’s also a time when we experience the most waste. So if everyone could do just a small thing to try and help reduce the waste/carbon footprint and be a bit more (yep, you guessed it) eco-conscious, we could make a huge difference!
*All pics in this post are from previous years… I haven’t decorated my house just yet!!*
Next up, I’ll be chatting about some sustainable gift ideas, so keep your eyes peeled for that! You can also find some more sustainability content & other Christmas content in the posts below…