The Season of Giving: Christmas Charity Tips
The festive season is the perfect time of year for giving – that answers the when, but what about the where? There are countless organisations across Scotland that sell sustainable products and donate all proceeds to charity. Here's some of our favourites
Despite the fact that Christmas now seems to revolve around them, the big Black Friday sales don’t really do much to help the people most in need. With all the international shipping, unnecessary packaging, and reduced footfall across the high street, our local communities, and the world at large, can be worse off after a December spending spree.
The good news is there are organisations across Scotland making the perfect products for your wishlist. The environmental and community benefits of these enterprises are just a bonus to buying their already attractive merchandise. Check these recommendations for a truly sustainable secret Santa – and if you’ve still got a little something left over, there're always local charities depending on your donations this time of year.
For your high-fashion friends, consider shopping at Remode Collective, an upcycling group based in Edinburgh. Their chic line of handbags and backpacks are made from repurposed upholstery fabric. The mission of Remode Collective is to combat wasteful practices in the textile industry with these long-lasting accessories, in addition to workshops on sewing, embroidery, dressmaking and design, so that everyone has the opportunity to be less wasteful with their winterwear.
Shopping for a vintage buff? SHRUB is an Edinburgh cooperative best known for their Zero Waste Hub at 22 Bread St, where you can drop off your unwanted clothing and pick up some new, preloved threads. R:evolve in Cambuslang offers vintage, designer and second-hand clothing, as well as handmade gifts in macrame, crochet, and even stained glass, sourced from volunteers and local artists with an environmentally conscious work ethic. All their income goes to keeping their clothes bank and swap shop available to the local community.
For the trend-savvy in your friend group, look up S’wheat, the Scottish startup offering plant-material reusable water bottles (which happen to be the official water bottle of the Aston Martin F1 team). Not only is this a great product, but each purchase results in the planting of a trackable tree to tackle deforestation.
If a special someone’s in need of a new laptop, the Edinburgh Remakery should be your first port of call. These experts take in disused hardware, repair and resell, championing the circular economy not just by cutting down on e-waste, but by offering workshops and community clubs for those interested in keeping their goods running as long as possible. If you can’t find the gadget you’re looking for in-store, then it’s still worthwhile bringing in your own kit for repairs, to save on buying new. On top of all that, you can donate money to their Tech Gifting Projects and training schemes.
And maybe there’s someone in your life who's an annual pain to shop for (like your dad, for a totally random example). Wood Shop (shopwood.co.uk) is an Aberdeenshire-based organisation that appropriates an average of 1,500 tonnes of wood waste each year from other businesses. After grading and cleaning this waste, which mostly comes from packaging, Wood Shop sometimes passes this resource on to other contractors, but often remanufactures it into the products you can find on their website. If you’re interested in bespoke furniture, their coffee tables and bar stools all have a real rustic finish, while smaller, more affordable items – like planters, bottle holders, and guitar racks – make excellent gifts.
This is more of an unusual one, but if you’re buying period products for others or yourself, consider Hey Girls, a Musselburgh enterprise offering zero waste reusables and period pants, with one hundred percent of profits going to tackling period poverty across the UK.
If you’re still in a generous mood, there are myriad nonprofits around Scotland that could use your help. The Edinburgh Food Project has an online map of drop-off points, as well as a list of the products they need the most. Also fighting food scarcity in Edinburgh is Empty Kitchens Full Hearts, and you can find their donation page on their website. There are also some community-based Glasgow institutions always in need of funding, such as the Glasgow Autonomous Centre, Ubuntu Women’s Shelter, and Glasgow Women’s Library.
And with the sustainability workshops that a lot of these places offer, you might feel empowered to make a gift this year. Look to Facebook groups like The Meadows Share or Glasgow Southside Sharing Community and you might find someone giving up the perfect resources for nothing. Check your local council website for info on how to environmentally dispose of your Christmas tree, and enjoy the New Year knowing your gifts are putting smiles on more than one face.