Wrapping and unwrapping presents is an important part of Christmas for most of us, but it can also be quite a wasteful time with tonnes of discarded Christmas paper committed to landfill. Here are just a few eco friendly alternatives for wrapping your Christmas gifts this year with the added bonus that they will look extra special too.
1. Vintage scarves wrap
The great thing about using vintage scarves to wrap Christmas presents is that you are actually giving 2 gifts in 1. A lovely scarf can either be worn or reused again next year for wrapping more Christmas gifts. You can either tie the scarves to hold them in place or tie with a pretty ribbon. You can find a great selection of vintage scarves in the Oxfam Online Shop.
2. Old magazines or old road map wrap
For fashionista friends, old fashion magazines can make great wrapping paper for smaller gifts. Pick out the pages full of colourful photographs for a bright look or for a monochrome look, choose pages that are mainly black and white and finish it off with a bright red or gold ribbon.
Personalise plain old brown paper with stamps and create a 100% unique wrapping paper.
For maximum sustainability, you can make your own stamps using potatoes. Plus it’s a great way to get the kids involved.
Organic? fair trade? Vegan? Shopping for everyday items in a way that’s kind to people and planet can be a minefield.
Introducing our ethically-sourced range, Sourced by Oxfam, which can help you tackle the war on plastic and have a more sustainable lifestyle.
1. Save turtles with a tote
An estimated 12.7 million tonnes of single use plastic ends up in our oceans every year. We might not use plastic bags as much as we used to, but it’s still easy to accumulate loads of them at home. Instead, grab a few reusable bags you’ll love so much you never hit the shops without one.
This turtletastic tote has been designed by Arthouse Unlimited – a social enterprise that supports artists living with learning and physical difficulties in Surrey.
You can get your fins on one for £7.99 on our online shop
2. Say it with a sari
When it comes to upcycling, it’s amazing what a sari can be turned in to – and the people it can support. From earrings and bags to bunting and throws – each product is unique and they make very special gifts. All have been sourced from India through suppliers who work with disadvantaged communities – providing people with valuable skills, work and healthcare. Browse the collection.
3. Create less waste with cool cups
The average lifespan of a single-use coffee cup is 13 minutes. And as they usually have a plastic coating, they’re rarely recyclable. So reusable takeaway cups have arrived and are here to stay. We’re stocked up with loads of different designs to suit every single style – including this one featuring one of William Morris’ designs.
4. Do good with a Dopper
Dopper bottles are on a social mission. They want us all to fill up their bottles with tap water instead of buying single-use plastic bottles, destined for our oceans. The ones in our range are especially great for drinking on the go or taking to picnics, with a built in removeable cup as well as a screw top lid. And to help rectify some of the plastic damage already done – Dopper donates 5% of its turnover to the Dopper Foundation to reduce plastic pollution and provide clean water where people need it most. Buy yours here.
5. Bee cling film free
Plastic can be hard to avoid. When creators Carly and Fran started trying to live as plastic free as possible, the one item they struggled to replace was cling film. So with a bit of trial and error, these reusable and beautiful beeswax wraps were created using just organic cotton, beeswax, organic jojoba oil and pine resin. They’ll keep your bread, cheese or sandwiches really fresh – sealed with the heat of your hands. A genius and natural solution. And available to buy from our online shop.
6. Give up plastic with Greenpeace
It’s estimated that by 2050 there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish (by weight), so this accessible guide couldn’t be timelier. Will McCallum – head of Oceans at Greenpeace and on the front line of humanity’s global fight against plastic – gives us loads of suggestions for small changes we can do to make a big difference. Get your copy from Oxfam Online Shop.
7. Beat poverty with bamboo
Want to avoid plastic Tupperware? These lunchboxes are made from biodegradable, sustainable bamboo. Its naturally anti-microbial so stops germs in their tracks – making these pretty lunch boxes perfect for keeping your food fresh. Available online for £9.99
On my first trip I bought a paisley ‘90s dress. Next it was an oversized shirt, then a black shoulder bag with cherries on. Before I knew it, I had a wardrobe full of Oxfam. Years on and not much has changed!
As well as being creative and fun, another thing I love about charity shopping is that it means you can be a bit more eco. 38 million new items of clothing are bought each week in the UK and 11 million items end up in landfill. By shopping second-hand we can reduce waste and stop incredible clothes, which took time, craftmanship and resources to make, going to landfill unnecessarily.
Another thing I love about charity shopping is that it means you can be a bit more eco
So, without further ado, I thought I’d share my best tips for making second-hand shopping a breeze. And here they are…
Tip 1: Visit often
The nature of charity shops, you never know when someone your size, with a great wardrobe, has dropped off a whole load of loveliness. The more you visit, the more likely you are to find things. By going fairly often (read: a lot!)
I’ve found an embellished top for New Year’s Eve, a black midi dress convenient for every single day of my life, and a glitterball of a jumper that dresses up even the most casual outfits. The term ‘right place, right time’ was invented for charity shopping, I’m sure!
Tip 2: Don’t forget the accessories
I should listen to my own advice here. I’m first to the rail of dresses in all charity shops. It’s like I’m on a mission – and that mission is to rummage through Every Single Dress. Before I know it, it’s time to leave and I walk straight out past the basket FULL of bargain belts.
When I’ve had my eye on the ball I’ve found amazing belts, necklaces and bags over the years that are a fraction of their original price. Charity shop bargains at their absolute best.
Tip 3: Try a little DIY…
Sometimes, charity shopping can be daunting in that it’s unlikely you’re going to find exactly what you’re after.
However, that doesn’t stop you buying something similar and adapting it a little. Hems can be taken up and waistbands can be taken in.
One of my most-worn Oxfam dresses was a denim button front dress which was originally so long that I would have had a denim train had I left it. After cutting the hem off to suit me better, it’s still the dress I go to for a little effortless, comfortable dressing.
Tip 4: Be open-minded
Another thing I’m a repeat offender of. Someone will tell me they picked something up from Oxfam. Next time I’m in there, I will be scouting out for that particular item. Chances are, it won’t be there!
By looking for specific items, you can miss things that, with a little thought, can be slotted into your wardrobe perfectly.
By trying on a few pieces you wouldn’t normally go for, and thinking up a few outfits to incorporate them into, you can find new favourites you could’ve missed.
Trying on a few pieces you wouldn’t normally go for – you can find new favourites
Tip 5: Go with a friend
This tip goes with Tip 4. I find that by shopping with a friend, I am more open to trying things I wouldn’t have tried had I been mooching around by myself. By discussing items I’m unsure of, my friends can often provide outfit combinations I wouldn’t have thought of, or prompt me to try on clothes I may have dismissed. It’s usually these things I end up loving that little bit more.
And that’s it. Five charity shopping tricks I always use to ensure I don’t miss any second-hand bargains. I wish you good luck as you scour the shops for those hidden gems!
Enjoyed Hannah’s top tips? Put them into practice – head to your local Oxfam or shop online!
Reuse, reuse, reuse. And when you can’t reuse – recycle with Oxfam
In the UK, 11 million items of clothing go to landfill every week. It’s an alarming trend that’s harming our planet. But we can all do a little bit to help.
If we all donate our unwanted clothes to charity, instead of chucking them in the bin, we’d save an estimated 300,000 tonnes of textiles from going to landfill every year. And just think of the money that those items could raise for great causes.
When you donate clothes to Oxfam, they could go a lot further than your local Oxfam shop. We’ve been recycling clothes since 1974 when Wastesaver – our textiles recycling centre – first opened its doors. It’s the only one of its kind. And where your clothes could go to continue their journey if they don’t sell. Our team of second hand experts are on hand, ready to sort through your donations to decide on the best possible place for them to go.
Items that stand out, like a sparkly jumpsuit or denim jacket, could end up in one of our festival shops or in Oxfam’s online shop.
And as for your jeans, t-shirts or any items that are too worn out to be rehomed, they might be sold to be turned into industrial cleaning cloth, mattress filling or carpet underlay. All raising money to help beat poverty.
Your old bras and summer clothing could be sent on to Frip Ethique – an Oxfam-run social enterprise in Senegal. Most of the workers are women, who sort and sell clothes donated to Oxfam to local market traders. It’s a great way for them to earn a living which means they can afford healthcare and send their children to school.
We’ve also got a team of super crafty volunteers, who handpick items to upcycle before they’re sold. They’ve been known to transform doilies into bunting, blankets into bags and pom poms into jackets.
Wherever your clothes end up, we’re proud to say it certainly won’t be in landfill.
So if you’re about to have an end of summer sort-out – help people and planet by bagging up what you can’t reuse and pop it down to your local Oxfam shop.
The superstore will open its doors to the public on Saturday 7th September, take part of the ambitious new venture.
5 reasons to volunteer at the new Oxfam superstore:
1 – You will make a difference. Experience a real feeling of achievement and discover the direct impact your time spent volunteering produces in the world.
2- You’ll be part of an exciting new community project right from the start. Just a few hours a week at the superstore will give you the chance to learn new skills, share your passion and make new friends.
3- You will be given all necessary training & support and will gain nationally recognised retail qualifications. 4- It’s open to anyone. Whether you’re a fashion enthusiast, a lover of literature or whatever your skills or interests, there is a volunteer role to match. Read the story of Odile who volunteered at the Oxfam boutique shop in Westbourne to find out more. 5- Sometimes some celebrities visit Oxfam’s Shops!
The new Superstore is different, here is why:
It’s bigger! It will sell second-hand clothes, shoes, homewares, books, music, furniture but also products from the ‘Sourced By Oxfam’ range of brand new ethically sourced gift and homewares.
It has an on-site café, housed in an Oxfam water tank
Interactive workshops, activities and talks will take place regularly in-store