Lower deck shop floorYou may have noticed that the shops are gearing up for their annual Christmas push. Lots of people will be spending lots of money in a very short period of time. For the retail industry it’s like Christmas has come early, which, in a way, it has. This kind of consumerism, however, is not kind to the environment or your pocket and let’s face it, it’s not much fun is it? I mean, who enjoys conventional Christmas shopping? Surely there must be another way? Well, there is!

Every year my family partake in what has been creatively dubbed the ‘Charity Shop Xmas Challenge’. The Objective? All gifts bought must come from a charity shop. It’s that simple. There is a set price limit (£5 per gift is a good top-limit, but how you set that is up to you) and it requires you to shop a little more creatively. In my family, my mom gives a prize-present for the best (most funny, perfect or unique) gift given. When she let slip that this year’s prize was going to be a goat, I dimly asked “Ooh, could we have chickens instead? Free free-range eggs!”. It turns out that she meant a goat to be given to an African family, which is much more in keeping with the spirit of giving. So I throw down the gauntlet to all of you: get together with your family and friends to take the ‘Charity Shop Xmas Challenge’. And hey, if your granny doesn’t like your gift, it can go straight back to the Charity shop! It’s the ultimate recycled (and recyclable) Christmas.

In addition, you can have lots of fun with eco-friendly ways of wrapping your gifts. A pair of laddered tights can become ribbon and an old newspaper makes lovely wrapping material when stamped, drawn on or painted with a pretty, festive design. It doesn’t matter if the wrapping doesn’t sit flush or isn’t immaculately folded; you can really get creative with wrapping presents this way and your household clutter will be getting a final hurrah. Whatever you do this Christmas, have fun, get creative and enjoy the time with family and friends!