Duncan Thorp explains how we can avoid rampant materialism this Christmas by sourcing gifts from Scotland's thriving social enterprises
It’s that time of year again...
Scotland’s high streets and online retailers are busy with people frantically gift shopping for parents, children and friends. But what if you want to do something a bit different this festive season? What alternatives are there?
When we buy gifts for family and friends we can choose ethical marketplaces instead of Amazon or the big department stores.
The new shopsocialscotland.com website has some great ideas for gifts from Scotland’s brilliant social enterprises. Take a look and share the weblink to the new shopping website using #PresentsWithPurpose.
In Scotland there are ethical shops in your neighbourhood too. You could visit the Shetland Soap Company for skincare products or Glasgow Wood Recycling for recycled and upcycled goods.
There’s Grassmarket Tartans that helps homeless people, Loch Arthur Cafe and Farm Shop for quality, organic food, The Experience for electric go-carting and Bike for Good for great second-hand bikes.
Want a new iPhone? Buy a Fairphone instead. Gin or beer? Buy a bottle of Ginerosity or a Brewgooder lager.
Check out the Big Issue Shop, Traidcraft, Ethical Superstore and One World Shop too - some of the increasing number of places for sustainable goods, with a mix of ethical, environmentally-friendly and social enterprise gifts. Other directories of co-operatives and local social enterprises are available online.
Why not take a break from the usual frenzy this year?
Choosing where you spend your money and where you shop can bring about lasting, positive social change. By shopping at a social enterprise money is kept circulating in the local community, benefitting a wide range of excluded people and our natural environment.
You can influence those around you, family, colleagues and friends and this can have a ripple effect too. Ethical Consumer Magazine helps people make better shopping choices - compare high street retailers on a range of criteria and find some of the ethical alternatives now. Join Ethical Living Scotland for free too.
There are many small, individual shopping decisions that can have a big impact. Consumer choices that are not only affordable and easy to do but choices that can make the world a much better place. As consumers we can strongly influence big business and ensure that governments put people and planet first.
Of course it’s important to manage our finances at this time of year too, find your local credit union to see what’s on offer in terms of savings, loans and debt management advice.
The festive season should be a time of celebration and people coming together with friends, family and colleagues. Too often it’s about material wealth, anxiety and stress. Why not take a break from the usual frenzy this year? Shop better, shop ethical and enjoy the holiday.
Check out shopsocialscotland
Duncan Thorp is policy and communications manager at Social Enterprise Scotland