A Yougov survey found that more than half of UK adults get at least one unwanted gift at Christmas. If the £740 million we illadvisedly spent on these was given to Send a Cow, the charity that commissioned the research, it could support 22 million impoverished families by giving each one a goat.
This seems just the “feel good” factor Clare described, so I go to the charity’s website (sendacow.org) and buy my husband a kid, envisaging his profound gratitude upon realising it is not human and will be raised in someone else’s home.
Next on the list: my mother. I contact Alice Guy, whose East Sussex family have been living plastic-free for nearly two years. She points me to a new and growing generation of responsible online shops.
The Future Kept (thefuturekept.com), for example, sells achingly cool gifts for adults that are ethical and – alleluia – mailed in plastic-free packaging. Nor are they alone. Archie’s Boutique (archiesboutique.com) – purveyors of gifts for children and families – has also moved on from plastic packaging.
Fortnum & Mason, meanwhile, is focusing on something a little stronger. Its spirit of the month is an organic rose gin called Tinkture (£45, fortnumandmason.com). Its glass apothecary bottle has been beautifully designed, encouraging its reuse. “We want to clean up booze,” says Tinkture’s founder, Hannah Lamiroy.
It proves easy to find stylish plastic-free gifts for adults. Babies and toddlers too are a cinch – wooden stacking toys abound. My teenage niece will be thrilled with her present from Lush, whose fizzing bath products are now largely packed in paper and fabric.
With my eight-year-old, however, I hit a wall. Loath either to abandon my challenge or disappoint him on Christmas morning, I call Carrie Cort. She, her husband, and her 10-yearold son Adam were named Britain’s Greenest Family last year. What will be under the tree for Adam?
“He really wants Nerf guns,” says Cort. “He knows I won’t buy new plastic, but I will give it a second life if we find it second-hand somewhere.” Sorted.