Tips for a greener, more thoughtful Christmas

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Buy local

Spending money with a small business keeps more money in your local economy. Research by local authorities in the UK has shown that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business, 63p stays in the local economy. This compares to 40p in every £1 spent with larger businesses.

Buy fresh

Why not try a Farmers Market or local farm shop rather than the supermarket this year? You’ll be buying direct from the producer and you can be assured that you’ll know exactly where your food has come from. Plus the added bonus is you’ll reduce food miles and get better quality, better tasting food.

Buy less

Some gifts fill a practical need and need to be bought new. But many gifts are really gestures of thoughtfulness. You can give more while spending less by giving a little thought to what the recipient would really appreciate. So be organised, buy when you see the perfect gift and avoid last-minute gifts.

Simplify your gift list

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a gift list that’s just too long, then why not try a ‘Secret Santa for all the adults in your family? Put all the names in a hat and choose one each. Agree a spending limit so no-one feels they have to go overboard with a fabulous gift for the person whose name they chose. Your gift list for the adults in your family has just been shortened to one. You can now focus on a special gift for the person whose name you picked, without the difficulty and expense of finding just the right gift for everyone.

Look for locally made gifts

Many gifts in today’s marketplace come from halfway around the world, and the impact of transportation contributes significantly to greenhouse emissions and global warming. Local craft fairs and artisan shops are a good source for gifts that come without the added costs of transportation. Gifts made locally often have a story which goes with the gift, since the maker and the origin of the gift are known.

Choose gifts made from recycled sources

Lots of small businesses have developed great products using recycled materials. Supporting these businesses helps reduce the waste stream while promoting the concept of making best use of available materials.

Give ‘battery-free’ gifts

About 40% of all battery sales occur during the holiday season. Discarded batteries are an environmental hazard. Even rechargeable batteries find their way into the waste stream eventually.

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