Christmas shopping, the last few years, always felt chaotic : endless list of presents to buy, overcrowded shops, lunch breaks used to find the perfect item… only to give up and select something generic, having run out of energy. 2020 changed everything – some, for the best. Gifts will, without a doubt, be more thoughtful. Not only because they might be the closest a hug we can give our loved ones. We have rediscovered, these last 9 months, that where we bought, the way we bought mattered. And so we have embraced shopping locally, developed a love for small businesses… Buying smart, you see, is not necessarily finding a good deal. Buying smart should be making a friend smile AND make the world a little better. Here are 5 ideas to get you started:
Funky socks by Jollie’s
It all started with volunteering at a local homeless centre and chatting to those, sadly, used to sleeping rough. Turns out clothes – not food – are the most under donated item to shelters. A dry pair of shoes, a warm sweater, when you’re on the street in all kind of weather, can be a luxurious item… And so Jollie’s was created: a company more interested in helping than making profit. The idea? For each pair of cool, organic cotton socks sold, another will be given to someone in need. Wear a pair, Share a pair.
Even better – Jollie’s will recycle your old socks. Just pop them in the pre-paid order provided in your order and send them to the company. Some will be reused, others will be repurposed into valuable industrial textiles. Socks that go the extra mile indeed…
Green G&Ts with Cooper King’s herb gin
Being one of three distilleries in the country to fully run on green energy was already impressive enough. Cooper King considered every step of their process: vacuum stills to reduce energy and water use, super sustainable packaging (recycled cardboard, biodegradable potato starch pellets, paper tamper proof seals), lightweight glass bottles… Even their spent botanicals are sent to a local bakery to be upcycled into bread and pastry glaze!
The gin itself is a real gem. Think fresh basil, beautifully balanced with fragrant lemongrass and aromatic clove. A lovely twist to G&Ts and martinis… You will be happy to know that for each bottle sold, King Cooper arranges for 1 square metre of native English broadleaf woodland to be planted. Guilt free treat for yourself, a gift that goes the extra mile to any gin lover out there.
Trendy sweaters from The Waste Yarn Project
Having previously worked as head of knitwear for luxury ready-to-wear houses Kenzo, Burberry and Pringle of Scotland, Siri Johansen has noticed factories ended up with left over yarn from old productions: a patchwork of colours and materials, impossible for them to reuse. She came up with an idea: designing one-of-a-kind jumpers, each using a different combination of yarn and colours determined by chance. The knitter spins the wheel for every panel, which directs her to a colour group and the technical info for the yarn to use. Talk about unique pieces indeed!
While we automatically turn to the news every morning, it rarely is the most cheerful way to start the day… Positive News is the first media to focus on what is going right. As heart warming is the fact this is a co-operative owned by readers and journalists, with any surplus reinvested in journalism. In a nutshell: refreshing approach that fills you with hope!
Positive News publishes daily online as well as quarterly in print (January, April, July and October). Getting a subscription for a loved one? This includes a free copy of the current issue as well as gift certificate, which can be sent to you (to wrap and give yourself) or directly to the person of your choice. Nothing beats making your favourite person in the world keep smiling.
Vivobarefoot vegan (and super comfy) trainers
Would you have guessed that these running shoes, by Vivo, actually are eco-friendly? It all comes down to a mix of cleverly designed materials… Trust me, this will bring quite a wow factor to any discussion.
Let’s start with the mesh, made from Sorona, a 37% plant-based fabric. Also adopted was Susterra Propanediol, which corn-based polymers mean petroleum is non longer required. Then there’s the sole (45% natural rubber) and insole (derived from an algae-based alternative to synthetics). The future is already here and it’s green, my friend.
Why does it matter? Well, over 24 billion pairs are produced a year, each with petrochemical materials that outlast their use by 1000’s of years. And 90% of these shoes are likely to end up in landfill… Changing the way you buy shoes will make a difference to the planet.
Hence the brand’s recently launched ReVivo recommerce program: worn and returned Vivo footwear are revived, reconditioned and made available to purchase, extending their life and drastically reducing the number in the rubbish pile. Brilliant.