Top Tips For A More Mindful Christmas

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The festive period can be a lot to deal with, the excess of consumption and constant social interaction may have us running for the hills, so I’ve written a wee blog about how best to deal with all that December brings! But first let me introduce myself – I’m Eilidh McLaughlin - zero waste coordinator at Locavore and lover of the planet and all things ethical, sustainable and environmental. Here are my top tips for how to have a more mindful festive period! If you like this blog please follow me on Instagram (@nadurtha_).

1. Buy experiences not things

We all have so much stuff! When I’m thinking of a pressie, instead of buying more things, I try to gift experiences that I know the person will love, or that we can enjoy together. Instead of hoarding junk we’ll make memories! Some ideas include: a voucher for an activity they love (yoga, nudge nudge), book a trip or a night away somewhere, or try something new altogether – maybe a Sourdough making workshop or even learn how to make a Terrarium!

2. Support Charities and Local Business

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Govanhill (and the rest of the Southside) is thriving with small businesses! Buy less, support local, and think ethically. Why not give the gift of vegetables or flowers (see Locavore’s Christmas Gift section here). I usually shop in the local charity shops for stocking filler pressies: the Oxfam record and bookshop on Victoria Road is a gem, particularly when looking for obscure Scottish football related books for my father in law!

3. Invest in Stuff that Will Last

Use the opportunity to invest in an ethical product or brand that care about their impact on the planet. What a great excuse to buy (or ask for) that really expensive Patagonia jacket you've always wanted. Not only can you return it to be repaired when it breaks, it's made from recycled materials AND, they’ve just donated the extra $10m they made (due to Donald Trump’s corporate tax cut) to fight climate change! Can you tell what I want for Christmas?

4. Be Conscious of Waste

Think about all the waste that is created during Christmas; wrapping, food, and packaging from all the new gifts can really mount up. I reuse newspaper and magazines or old wrapping paper to wrap my presents and try really hard to buy things that don’t have loads of packaging (another benefit of charity shop/second hand buys). I’ve previously donated unwanted but perfectly good cooked food to some of Glasgow’s night shelters but check with them first. Or what about doing a food bank whip round (food and/or money) before sitting down to eat on Christmas Day? A lovely way to be thankful for what you have and donate to a good cause!

5. Self Care and Awareness of Festive Excess

It's a busy old time - excessive drinking, eating and socialising can leave us feeling a bit overinflated and burnt out! Allow time for yourself and some self care: drink lots of water, eat something other than chocolate (!), do yoga, or have a bath with some nice smellies…try to switch off. 

6. Think about Where Your Food Comes From

Supermarkets hold a 97% share in the grocery market and their control over the supply chain means large monoculture farms increase in size and smaller independent farms struggle to survive. This means the price of products is tightly controlled and puts jobs at risk. They have a negative impact on the environment through transport emissions, packaging and waste. Support your local independent food retailer (farm, market, shop) and use your buying power to vote for positive change!

7. Make Use of Time Off

Travel, explore and spend time with your loved ones! Read or learn about a topic you love, finish that book that's been on your bedside table for most of the year. Practice meditation, get outside, cook something new, nourish yourself! You’ll feel super smug and productive when you do ☺

8. Reuse Your Unwanted Pressies

Got a jumper your granny gave you that just isn't quite you? It's OK to donate it to charity or regift it to someone it would suit better! I reckon there’s a bit of stigma around this but why waste a perfectly good gift (plus everybody’s done it at least once before haven’t they)?!

9. Take Action

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I’ve recently gotten involved in a new campaign (hello Extinction Rebellion) that highlights the urgency with which we need to act to fight climate change and to save the planet and humanity. Why not make it your new year’s resolution to join us and take action

10. Read Positive News

For when it all gets a bit much (no matter what time of year it is) Positive News is a great place to lose yourself! Or, why not listen to some positive environmental podcasts - Triodos have rated their top ten here.


Laura Barton