It’s that festive time of year again,Christmas! The annual stress of what to buy for everyone is steadily creeping up on us. The malls will soon overflow with frantic last-minute Christmas shoppers, Michael Bublé will be blasting from every corner, and the SALE signs will consistently lure consumers like moths to a flame.

I think everyone’s been guilty of buying WAY too much over Christmas time, myself included! Shops do a brilliant job at enticing us with their glittering Christmas trees, loud music, and shelves full to the brim of colourful goodies. But let’s just take a step back for a moment. We’ve all had a difficult year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I think it’s safe to say we’re excited to get back to the shops (Aucklanders, I hear you!). However, I would encourage you this Christmas to consume consciously and responsibly.

This year, I have decided to take up this challenge. I choose to only buy Christmas gifts that are meaningful and make a difference.


These are some of my tips to becoming a conscious Christmas shopper:

1. Where do you start looking? Yes, smaller businesses may be harder to find because, well, they’re small. However, word-of-mouth is extremely powerful. Ask your family and friends about the local businesses they know of. There is also a multitude of local Instagram business accounts selling creative, handcrafted, unique goodies.

MicrosoftTeams-image-(2).pngSmall businesses have done it tough through these lockdowns, support local this Christmas.

2. Think about what you’re buying. Tearfund’s partner, Loyal, sells quality, fair trade goods made by artisans around the world. Their beautiful products are handcrafted by economically disadvantaged producers in low to mid-income countries. By purchasing gifts from Loyal, you can make a difference for people trapped in the cycle of poverty. Not only that, all profits go to one of three charities, including Tearfund. It's a win, win.

MicrosoftTeams-image-(3).pngJoanne and Michael Simpson, the founding trustees of Loyal.

3. Want to save some money and get creative? Have a crack at some DIY gifts this year.
My personal favourite is baking jars, where I measure all the dry ingredients for a baked good, for example, cookies, and put them in a beautifully wrapped jar. All the gift receiver has to do is add the wet ingredients, pop them in the oven and voila!


MicrosoftTeams-image-(4).pngGet crafty and create something meaningful.

4. Stuck for ideas? Why not give something a little different this year. Tearfund’s Gift for Life has a range of gifts from just $10. Pick a gift from the website, and we’ll send you a card to give to your friend or loved one for Christmas, telling them what you have bought on their behalf for someone in need overseas. It could be anything from giving a Nepalese family a chicken to providing Lebanese refugees with a Covid-19 hygiene kit. You can spread joy to your loved ones this Christmas and someone in need at the same time. This is one of the most meaningful gifts you can give and is my personal favourite.

MicrosoftTeams-image-(5).pngGive your loved ones a Gift for Life card, it's a gift that honours them and helps a family living in poverty.

Our small, local Kiwi businesses need our help. They have been hit extremely hard with economic losses due to our most recent lockdown. Throughout this festive season of spending, why not challenge yourself to shop from locally owned businesses this year? Personally, I’d rather purchase meaningful and ethically made products from smaller businesses that need financial support rather than be sucked into spending at wealthy corporations in exchange for needless stuff. Choosing to shop at local and independent services over the big names can make a huge difference, especially when a lot of people make this decision.

Merry Christmas, and let's be conscious Christmas shoppers together!

 

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Every year without fail, we're asked a bunch of honest, raw and sometimes downright hilarious questions about Gift for Life — our catalogue filled with unique and meaningful gifts that can be purchased for someone in the developing world. But there’s one question that comes up repeatedly. Do we actually send goats from New Zealand to families overseas? Read on to find out!

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