The pandemic has changed a lot of people’s shopping habits with more and more people choosing to shop online. The convenience is undeniable but shopping online isn’t great for local economies and the environmental impact of ordering an item from a warehouse a long way away, to be delivered by a van, in a box and other unnecessary packaging, adds up.
A good alternative is to shop local, keeping more money in our local economy and reducing the amount of packaging. So with the help of some other Transitioners I’ve put a list of local options together below.
But first, how about considering some zero waste gifts for some of your friends and family?
Zero Waste Gifts: Alternatives to Stuff
Sometimes it’s worth considering some alternatives to “stuff”. Here are a few things I’ve done over the years to try and reduce the environmental impact of a gift:
- Make a “Time Voucher” – This is a really good one for busy parents or people who need a hand with something and are short on time. For parents you can design a “night out at the cinema” voucher or “an evening out with whoever you choose” voucher and offer to babysit. I’ve loved giving (and receiving) this one! Or you could gift “an afternoon gardening”, whatever you think the recipient would value and appreciate.
- Agree a present amnesty – Most people reach a point in life where they have everything they need! The sock draw is full and they’ve run out of room for more scented candles! You could try agreeing to have a year off with some close friends and family members. It’s a bit of a leap to raise the idea, but every amnesty I’ve agreed has stuck.
- Support a cause – There are loads of ethical ways to spend your festive pounds. You can adopt endangered animals or twin a friend’s toilet for example.
- Buy a course – There are lots of interesting courses that can be bought as gifts. I’ve been given a couple of courses at the Sustainability Centre which were very relaxing and rewarding and Southampton City Art Gallery run some interesting courses as well. Lots of clubs (like Southampton Archery Club) offer beginners vouchers as well, a great zero waste gift that supports a local group – a win win!
- Tickets to a gig/play/show – There are some amazing venues around Southampton (I won’t single one out), and all of them have had a really tough time during the pandemic. Buying tickets to an event later in the year are a great zero waste gift that supports local venues.
So, back to physical stuff gifts, you could try making something. Depending on your skills and inclination this could be something edible like cake, jam or cookies, or something sewn or crafted. Most people appreciate something you have put time and effort into.
For gifts you would prefer to buy, here are some great local businesses you could try:
Bitter Virtue (Inner Avenue)
Tucked away on Cambridge Road, the Bitter Virtue stock a wide of range of delicious beers and ales, if you’re looking for a gift that can be slurped.
Bitterne Park Stores (Bitterne Park)
Opened this year, Bitterne Park Stores is a gem of a place that stock lots of delicious edible gifts as well as arts and crafts in their arts and craft corner. You can find them on Bitterne Park Triangle.
Christine’s Art House (Romsey)
Amazing handmade items at very good prices, and the house itself is a work of art. It’s a short walk from Romsey train station, near Waitrose.
Darn it n Stitch (Bitterne Park)
Lots of fabrics and craft kits for any craft lovers. You can find them on Bitterne Park Triangle.
Lemon and Jinja (Romsey)
Both a shop and a cafe. You can order online if you can’t make the trip.
Made In Here (online, but very local!)
They’re online (madeinhere.co.uk), but they’re awesome! Focused on providing good, locally sourced and ethical goodies.
October Books (Portswood)
You’ll always find something for a friend or family member in October Books. Whether it’s an interesting read or some delicious fair trade munchies, treat yourself to a browse next time you’re in Portswood.
RiceUp (Town Centre)
Ethical, fair trade, organic, and vegan goodies with festive gifts of both the edible and non-edible kind. If you need any groceries they also have their amazing plastic-free refill stations.
Shop Equality (Eastleigh)
All sorts here. Fair trade gifts, chocolate, and cards etc.
Let us know what’s missing
Get in touch if you have any recommendations or if you’re listed and you don’t think the write up does you justice! Thanks!