December 23, 2013, by Helen Whitehead
Advent calendar #23: My Sustainable [and early] Christmas
Sarah Speight writes: I think I get more and more concerned about consumer excess every Christmas. I’ve always been someone who prefers ‘useful’ presents myself and now I’ve extended this to my friends and family. If I am buying rather than making or growing (I’m not as advanced down this path as Mike Clifford, Advent calendar #5: A handmade Christmas), I will choose practical items that I know will not be wasted. A good tip for buying for older relatives is to take them shopping. I will help my mother to prune old and worn clothes from her wardrobe and we will ‘shwop’ these in Marks and Spencer (who will then pass them on to Oxfam for resale or recycling as appropriate).
The ‘shwopping’ scheme is part of M & S’s Plan A – something we look at in the MOOC. You can find out all about it here: http://www.marksandspencer.com/Shwop.
As for my husband and myself, we stopped buying each other presents a few years ago. What we do now is to ‘treat’ ourselves occasionally to a special event – a concert or a meal. We’re finding that the memories thus generated give us lasting pleasure. And it also means that Christmas often comes early! (AC Milan v.Fiorentina in July, Leonard Cohen at the LG Arena in Birmingham in October).