Well, it’s been a strange year… 2020, since I last wrote my thoughts on a Sustainable Christmas. And following suit, Christmas here in the UK will be strange too – social distancing, isolating, who to visit, who not to. So we need to make sure that what we have left is the best we can make it! For me, Christmas will be a smaller, sporadic affair but we will get round to see as much family as possible in some capacity or other! Which brings me onto my gift ideas this year.
The rise and rise of Amazon was inevitable during lockdown – so convenient, Christmas shopping can be completed on the sofa in an evening – done! Not doubt there will be some sustainable options on here but I’m going to bring you some gift ideas from other parts of the internet… plus some you can make yourself!
My ideals in the search for To-Buy gifts are:
- supporting small businesses
- finding ethical and eco-friendly crafters
- highlighting secondhand marketplaces
- quality not quantity
- keeping an eye on costs – Christmas shouldn’t need to stretch
*Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with any of the companies here – I just love the products!!
For the feminine adults in my life (without being gender-specific):
*Gorgeous plastic-free make-up from Love The Planet – UK based with gift sets of beautiful eyeshadow shades and more. I use their foundation which is lovely.
*Statement earrings to die for from Trend Tonic – cork earrings that are lightweight, vegan and stunning. She has guides to find the perfect pair to suit all face shapes and colourings. Can see lots of these in my shopping basket!!
*For the sewists amongst you, anything from reuseable make-up rounds, sleep masks or anything with personalised embroidery – I love the idea of upcycling some napkins or a RTW jumper with something meaningful.
*For the bakers – literally anything homemade with sugar and I’m happy!! Add Christmas spices and I yours!! hahaha…. Gingerbread is great as it lasts for a long time so can be made a few days in advance and some quick icing can look super effective (something the kids can help with too?!) I make a Scandinavian gingerbread ring each year for those who don’t like a traditional Christmas pudding/cake but this can be deconstructed and posted this year. For extra sustainable brownie points (ooh brownies…) , try to pick up your dry baking ingredients and spices from refill shops – I think my local shop SeaChange is doing a christmas cake baking pack! Yum. I’m doing mini baked in baked bean tin christmas cakes for some hampers.
*Best of the rest: Hampers are a great idea and we can get really imaginative e.g. “Me time” hamper with DIY reed diffuser, a good book or puzzle, refill tea with a tea pod and a DIY “Do not disturb” sign as a bit of fun!
For the masculine adults in my life:
*Community Clothing – literally anything from here – social enterprise bringing sustainable manufacturing to deprived areas of the UK. Classic and quality socks, t-shirts and jumpers, jackets if your budget allows.
*Vintage clothing – I’ve got my eye on some awesome retro gaming jumpers, geeky Christmas jumpers, classic bow-ties and accessories
*Safety razor – sleek, reusable and plastic-free. tick, tick, tick.
*Bow ties are geek chic and can be made relatively simply.
*DIY apron – yes, it will be cool and ‘manly’, I promise. I like the Japanese cross over aprons with some pockets in a sturdy denim or linen.
*Hampers with local craft beer or gin, cheese and local chutneys
For the older kids:
Always a tricky category!
* Classic vintage sportswear on Depop and Ebay. Teenagers and young adults can be tricky so vintage designer brands can be a good shout with good eco-credentials!
*2020 has difficult for young people so to have something to look forward to can be give a big moral boast to those in lockdown… An experience for when the world opens up – cinema vouchers, skateboard lesson, tickets to a theatre show or exhibition, indoor climbing sessions or outdoor sporting activities.
For the Little Ones:
For me, the key here is quality and not quantity. I’ve seen my own children become some overwhelmed with the number of presents that we have had to spread them across a few days. I like the old adage:
Something you want,
Something you need,
Something to wear &
Something to read
For little kids you can’t beat secondhand or a bit of re-gifting. This is where some careful charity shop (online only at the moment – sad times), Facebook Marketplace and eBay can be perfect for grabbing a secondhand bargain. For my own children, I have looked for quality (mostly wooden) toys and have picked up some fantastic items – rocking horse, skittles, play kitchen and you can’t go wrong with a train track! (You can usually resell on once they have grown out of them… don’t forget the resell value!!)
*Christmas sacks or stockings – something they can use every year
*Personalised bunting for their bedroom
*Dressing up! Let your imagination run wild – dragon tails, fairy wings, crowns and capes
I hope that helps with some ideas or at least gets the creative juices flowing with some big-brand alternatives! Check out my previous post for more sustainable Christmas ideas on eco wrapping and decorations. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!!
All the jeans in my wardrobe are low-rise, skinny jeans circa 2010 (i.e. pre-children) and are just not the right shape for me any more. Making my own jeans seemed a daunting prospect… until lockdown happen and anything that I could do at home that was a bit of a challenge seemed like a bloody good distraction technique. This is one of the many reasons I love sewing – it is my escape.
The Morgan Jeans from Closet Core Patterns (formally Closet Case Patterns) had been on my wish-list for a while from a design point of view. They are mid-rise boyfriend fit jeans with a button-fly. I decided to make a wearable toile first so I found the largest men’s jeans available in charity shop. The men’s jeans available were larger and made of thick, non-stretch denim (most of the women’s jeans there were stretch denim).
I didn’t take into account how much extra fabric I would need due to the curve required on the waistband pieces for my female shape so I had to raid the fabric stash for some extra denim! They cost me the grand sum of £1 to make.
I unpicked all the belt loops, pockets, top stitching and seams to salvage as much as possible out of the original jeans as possible. I love how you can see discolouration of the original pocket placement on the back. For the top-stitching thread, I just used some I had left over from a previous project.
It does say to size up in the pattern if you don’t want them slim fit. I cut a straight size 10 based on my hip measurements and made some dart adjustments of around 3cm in the yoke fit at the waist. Stupidly, I didn’t interface the waistband, which probably wouldn’t have been a problem but for the substitute denim here being much thinner.
The instructions were clear to sew and I was glad I could just use my standard sewing machine with denim needles.
I am definitely planning to make another, smarter, pair with some dark organic denim perhaps a size smaller for a slimmer fit.
These jeans are a more causal fit than I am used to but I really like them and I’m pleased with the 90’s feel of them. Rolled up with winter boots and my vintage Jaeger coat and lots of layers is my plan for this season :).