Your guide to shopping sustainably this Christmas

December 1, 2021

Shopping with a conscience at Christmas

If you avoided that canny American export – Black Friday – well done you… and you’re keen to keep your budgets in check this silly season – but you are in the market for some thoughtful gifts, then here’s our guide to shopping with a conscience:

For the house proud

If they’re into their homes (and let’s face it, who isn’t?) unique pieces that aren’t mass produced or widely available are true gems that they can enjoy forever. Whether that’s from an independent maker and creator, or you’ve snaffled-out a second-hand gem that’s ‘so them’. Where to source room-enriching, conversation starters? For homewares, there’s real treasure to be found shopping vintage and second hand and it doesn’t get much more sustainable than that.


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Beautiful home inspiration and gift ideas at Amuse la Bouche.

If you’re a bit of a magpie, Londoners can check out the infamous Battersea Boot Sale, on every Sunday from a very sociable 1.30, admission £1 – or pay a fiver and be let in at 12pm with the other gem-seekers. Layering-up is essential. If you’re time poor, fantastic Instagram businesses like @theantikstore and @luckygirlvintage have done the sourcing for you.

Have you stepped foot into a Mary’s Living and Giving Shop of late? These boutique-style charity stores across the UK give all proceeds to Save the Children charity. They also have an online store – all products are sourced from independent, ethical producers with 100% of profits going towards children’s futures.

For new pieces, the just-launched Glassette by stylish home-maker, Laura Jackson has every style-aficionada a-gog. Serving up an expert curation of ethical, artisanal pieces from across the country, you’ll find glorious gift ideas from under £20.


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Drool-worthy gifting from Glassette

If you like shopping IRL, do nip into the divine vintage emporium Mason & Painter on Colombia Road or the Mrs Robinson Shop, Dulwich for curated collections that will spark joy.

And have you visited Akojo Market yet? This leading UK platform specialises in handmade homeware, accessories and fashion from independent African designers, that showcase stunning craftsmanship, drawing on centuries of tradition and techniques. Excitingly they’ve previously set up shop at The Lab E20, check out the latest pop-up shops and creative workshops.


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New throw – who dis?
From homewares to fashion and accessories, kid’s gifts and wellness ideas, check out Akojo Market.

When in Manchester, hot-foot-it to Object Style, Beech Road, Chorlton for handmade pottery, art and plants alongside organic skincare, handcrafted jewellery and slow fashion sourced close to home.

A coffee-lover’s dream come true, £95, Object Style

And don’t forget, Etsy, to get your mitts on brilliant works by budding artists, like Margo McDaid Art and Love Is Wise. We’re also a big fan of these personalised architectural prints designed by Ellen Manterfield an East Village resident – a unique way of capturing your loved one’s favourite landmarks.

To Be Present Art Print, £39.54, by Love Is Wise available on Etsy.

For book lovers

Books are always a thoughtful gift: Persephone Books, The Open Book, Gays the Word and Brick Lane Bookshop are just a few of the quaint book emporiums London has to offer. Lose yourself for the afternoon and pick up some meaningful gifts while you’re at it. For a thoughtful keepsake for little-ones, check out imaginative personalised books from Letterfest.


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Books are always a good idea.

For those who also find joy in writing things down, see SNAP on Roman Road in Bow, East London, with its laugh out loud cards and thoughtful note-cards , alongside hand-poured candles and cute gift-ables from local makers. And then there’s Marby and Elm on Exmouth Market, with bespoke stationary and fun trinkets.

In Manchester, find artful books, magazines and prints that make for quirky home accents at Magma, in the Northern Quarter.

Let’s Have Fun Again print, £75 at Marby and Elm

And do go online to check out Wrap Magazine celebrating ‘contemporary creativity’ with a gorgeous collection of notebooks, homewares and keepsakes that anyone would be delighted to receive.

For the fashion forward

Many of the newest and coolest fashion rental platforms – including HURR and My Wardrobe HQ – now sell vouchers, so why not give your fashionista friends/family the gift of updating their wardrobes in the most sustainable way?

For something to open, look to Chillie London founded by fashion editors/stylists/retail queens Natalie Hartman & Lydia McNeil. The duo recently launched second-hand and vintage fashion emporium, paving the way for a more sustainable and stylish future. Having styled the likes of Taylor Swift, Naomi Campbell and Alexa Chung they have an eye for real gem – and they’ve curated an online shop for women and men.

Riley Studio creates gender free fashion from organic and waste materials as well as a network of innovative mills. The timeless designs are made to appease the conscious consumers. Understandably, it’s not cheap, a pair of recycled cashmere socks will set you ack £50, but boy what a treat for the toots!

While Sirplus will keep style-conscious gents buzzed with a divine offering of separates – and with every order they plant a tree.


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Style overload at Sirplus – and with every order a tree is planted.

Or if it’s a bit of sparkle you’re after, check out Beaches and Cream, this small Manchester based business run by Gabrielle Ball serves up divine, unique accessories that offer escapism from as little as £18.


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THE perfect party earrings, at Beaches and Cream.

For the senses

To give the gift of scent, see the all-natural, organic fragrances by Haoma – who also sell a myriad of delectable, conscious and vegan friendly beauty gifts.

HAOMA Pure Eau de Parfum, available in five scents, £45.

And if you can’t treat your tastebuds at Christmas-time, then what is life? Shower gluttonous gourmets with delectable, squeal-inducing treats, and from as little as £4. Chocolate and Love curate almost too pretty to eat gift-boxes of Fairtrade, organic decadence. While at Borough Box you can order food-and-drink gift packages from the very best local producers.


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Find something for even the fussiest flexitarian in your life at Borough Box

Support small when it comes to wine-gifting, check out the impassioned Alessandro’s wine shop Bon Vino, Bermondsey. Or a tasting at Passione Vino in Shoreditch is well worth the outing. For our Mancunian clan, don’t let the festive season pass without a visit to Salut Wines with their decadent festive hampers starting from £49. And the kewl resident wine shop Kerb, for organic wines that taste de-lish but that’ll also look exquisite on you/your hosts party table.


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Online, check out Shop Cuvee for a glorious selection of natural wines and some unique gift ideas, like the Chin-Chin and Rejig puzzle pack for that person in your life who loves wine… and puzzles (£42). Or the Mulled wine festive combo that comes with a Shop Cuvee flask – to keep forever.  If you’re not already on the Shop Cuvee site… they also stock Neal’s Yard cheese. NOM.

For the little ones

For the kiddie-winks in your life, treats to keep them cosy or help them learn are always winners. Forget unsightly plastic toys, Soren’s House offers chic Scandi-paraphernalia while Cissy Wears is ‘a concept store for modern families’.


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You’ll be spoilt for choice at Cissy Wears.

Emma Bunton’s, Kit & Kin is not so much a small business but the celebrity mother and ex Spice Girl has used her ‘platform’ to ensure that with every Kit & Kin sale that she, in partnership with the World Land Trust, works to protect the rainforest and nature.

And there you have it!

Before you shop-on, it’s advisable to write a concise list of the people that you want to gift this year and a realistic budget next to their names. Then channel ninja-willpower, do your damnedest to stick to it – and don’t get caught up in the ruffles, glitter and hype.

Remember, Christmas isn’t about extravagance and keeping up the Jones’. It’s a break. Let’s all take stock – and take care of each other.

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