In my last few posts I mentioned that we’re planning on living a bit more simply and sustainably, starting with Christmas this year. I find it baffling that people spend hundreds and hundreds of pounds on credit cards, getting in to debt to buy things that will then be broken (planned obsolescence) or out of favour because it’s been upgraded by a newer model (perceived obsolescence) in just a few months. We’re giving handmade (mostly by, err, others!), vintage and thrifted gifts, decorating with last years ornaments and bringing nature inside with branches, leaves, berries and fir tree oddments, heading off to our local nature reserve for a festive nature trail, tractor ride and a visit to Santa, baking gingerbread and heading to our local Christmas market in Winchester. Simple, fun and memorable.
Sticking with the theme of thrifted and vintage gifts, the Salvation Army (one of my favourite charity shops!) is running the #MyCharityChallenge, which began by challenging fifteen bloggers to spend £15 in their local charity shop, and then share their findings. I was lucky enough to be involved, and found some great Christmas presents for friends and family, from brand new books to craft supplies for those handmade gifts (which, let’s be honest, will probably be ready around New Year….). Long term readers will know from previous posts that I’m the biggest advocate of charity shopping, and every time I visit, I find myself wondering why people don’t check there first when buying things – in their research, the Salvation Army found that a whopping TWO THIRDS of people will never buy clothes or gifts from a charity shop at Christmas time. Two thirds! I find it utterly unfathomable, but their loss is my gain….
I’d already cleared out quite a few clothes and toys that the kiddos either didn’t use or couldn’t fit into anymore; I tend to divide our unwanted things up into a few different piles – some for friends, some for charity shops, and the slightly tattier things (you know, those t-shirts with the permanent chocolate stain, the jeans with the torn knee) go to the textile recycling bin by our local park. I think it’s really important to give to charity shops at this time of year, as well as buy from them; so many families can’t afford to buy brand new toys or clothes for children, or even clothe themselves, so every little really does help.
I was incredibly pleased with my finds; Daisy is going to be the proud owner of this amazing red cord vintage Ladybird shirt (which I suspect is a boys shirt, but whatever!), and Ben will be introduced to the delights of The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me, which is beautifully illustrated by Quentin Blake (ahhhh, childhood!). Although both Mary Berry and Jamie Oliver both look pretty happy to be perched on my table, they’re going to be wrapped up and given to my Mum, and the cross-stitch aida will be made into little embroidered hoops like the ones in this post. Quite symbolically, I also found a copy of The Beginners Guide to Changing the World; although I was determined not to buy for myself, this just seemed to leap into my arms by accident. I’m really looking forward to thumbing through it in the evenings, huddled on the sofa with some mulled wine and Christmas biscuits. Lovely!
If you want to join in this Christmas (and I really, really urge you to – you can save money AND make a difference; spending just £19 in a charity shop could provide a family in need with a Christmas box), head to the Tots100 page for more details, and get involved in the great charity shopping Twitter party tonight between 8 and 9pm – follow @tots100 and @sa_shops on Twitter, and check out the #MyCharityChallenge hashtag for tips, questions and answers and photos of lovely thrifts. See you there!