6 New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Love Keeping (And How Oxfam Can Help)

6 New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Love Keeping (And How Oxfam Can Help)

Life may feel a bit limited at the moment, but your horizons don’t need to be. There are still numerous goals you can set, strive for and achieve during the year ahead. And what better way to kick 2021 off in the right direction than by choosing some doable feel-good targets? Here’s some inspiration to get you started on your new year’s resolutions in an ethical way.

1 Focus on your wellbeing one step at a time

Exercise is a time-tested way to escape the stresses and strains of life, as well as staying healthy. But it’s often easier to get off the sofa if you’ve a specific goal in mind. Oxfam’s poverty-busting challenge events will continue throughout the year ahead, and with walks, runs and cycles, there’s something for all abilities whether you set your own goal in our ethical fitness challenge or take on a marathonfind out more about events near you now.

2 Learn a new skill or five

One of the many things we’ve rediscovered during lockdown is the joy of making and doing. Many of us have taken up timeless hobbies like baking, sewing, and growing our own veg. Thankfully, with so much information and expertise online, it’s easy to learn and hone a new skill. Fancy sewing? Love Your Clothes has lots of free tutorials and you can buy preloved fabrics and patterns in the Oxfam Online Shop. If music’s more your thing, we sell instruments and sheet music too. As for cooking and gardening, our extensive book section has all the inspiration you need to get creative.

3 Give time

As well as presenting numerous challenges, the pandemic has brought out the best in many communities, with people pulling together to ensure neighbours have the help they need. It’s highlighted the true power of unity and of giving some of your time to help others. If you’d like to do more of the same, charities always need volunteers. Volunteering in our shops is just one of several ways you can help Oxfam fight poverty with every hour of your time you give.

 

4 Read more

Bombarded with boxsets it’s easy to rely on telly when we get time to relax. But reading is an incredibly powerful way to unwind. In fact, a study by the University of Sussex showed reading can reduce stress by up to 68%. Making it great reason to make reading a resolution priority, particularly when you can buy books second hand, saving money and supporting a good cause. Fiction, history, biographiesour shops and online book section stock them all. And every book will be even more enjoyable knowing you’ve helped create more happy endings around the world.

 

5 Reduce your eco impact (and spending)

Want to play a genuine role in fighting the massive environmental footprint of fashion? You needn’t wait for the next Second Hand September – make saying ‘yes to second-hand’ part of your new year’s resolutions and you can start right now. With a new season approaching, buying preloved clothing is a great way to update your wardrobe with affordable designer labels and original looks. You’ll save even more money in the January sales too.

 

6 Be the change you want to see

As the past year has shown, the actions of every single person can make a difference. So what better theme for a 2021 new year resolution than the power of individual action? Whatever cause is close to your heart there’ll be something you can do, right now, to fuel positive change. Support Oxfam and you’ll stand with the world’s poorest people –families facing unimaginable challenges, of which the pandemic is just one. Whether you make a donation, become a fundraiser, support our campaigns or volunteer in our shops, you’ll join a global movement of people determined to eradicate poverty for everyone.
How to Have A Green Christmas with the Kids

How to Have A Green Christmas with the Kids

2020 may not be your typical Christmas, but there are still plenty of ways you can make it special for the little people in your life, full of magic and wonder. In fact, the limits we face could give rise to real creativity and a Christmas unlike any other. You can also make this Christmas extra special by making it a little greener, helping to protect the planet and future for your children and for people all over the world. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

An image of a family doing crafts

1 Create a magical atmosphere minus the plastic

Want Christmas to feel as festive and sparkling as possible? You needn’t invest in yet more plastic baubles and throwaway tinsel. These days, there are so many great ideas out there for recycled and upcycled DIY decorations –these simple paper hearts are as lovely as anything shop-bought. You could also ramp up the eco festive factor with recycled paper chains – this easy National Trust guide shows how versatile and pretty they can be. Or if you’d prefer not to DIY, go for new-but-recycled decorations – this beautiful bee garland is a great way to weave a little wildlife into the proceedings.


Image of a family watching a film


2 Put on your own Christmas pantomime

Heading to a Christmas show could be tricky for some this year, but that needn’t stop the fun. Create your own make shift mini theatre at home and make the stars of the show upcycle style –here’s how to make a sock puppet dog for starters. Then just let your kids’ imaginations do the rest. You’ll create some magical memories and do the planet a favour by giving old socks a new lease of life rather than binning them. You could also make theatre tickets using old Christmas cards and serve up ethical chocolate treats in the interval.

Image featuring a selection of Christmas jumpers

3 Create keep-able Christmas jumpers

Yes, you could buy yet another set of matching festive pullovers…but why fuel throwaway fashion when you can create originals the kids will treasure using stuff you’ve already got? This clever guide to making a Christmas jumper from an old one requires zero sewing and is adaptable for all kinds of designs, so you can make something really personalised. The Oxfam Online Shop has lots of preloved jumpers and plenty of fabrics if you need them. Lack the time or inclination for craft? Keep an eye out for children’s Christmas jumpers on the Oxfam Online Shop too – and there are always plenty of woollies for grown-ups too.

Image of a father and daughter cooking together

4 Make space for some one-to-one time

A huge benefit of spending more time at home together is that you have, well, more time together. Make the most of it with some quality one-to-one time with the kids. Youngest love story time? Set up an extra-long reading stint with a few treats and their favourite tales – or surprise them with some ‘new’ stories. Pint-sized Bake Off fan in the family? Cooking together is always fun and our online cookery book section has all the inspiration you need. Or why not organise something outdoors? A festive picnic can be magical, even if it’s just in the garden, complete with snuggly blankets and warming hot chocolate. Older children might even enjoy turning back the clock with a brilliant retro board game.

Image of Archie the goat peaking over some wrapping paper

5 Greenify the four-gift rule

When it comes to choosing gifts for children, the ‘want, need, wear, read’ approach to shopping is a handy starting point if you want to buy truly useful gifts and reduce waste. Whether you buy from just one category or more, go a step further eco-wise by ensuring gifts are a bit greener too. You could buy second-hand – Oxfam Online Shop has thousands of options for the ‘wear’ gift including snuggly knitwear, coats and party dresses. Likewise the ‘read’ category – check out the children’s book section for stories by the likes of Jane Donaldson, David Walliams and Cressida Cowell. Given the challenges the world continues to face, you could also add a fifth ‘present for another’ category, with a life-changing charity gift such as A Super Goat from the Oxfam Unwrapped range.

Want some green gift ideas for the grown-ups in your life too? Check out our Ethical Christmas Gift guide to get inspiration for everyone on your shopping list!
Ethical Christmas Gifts For Everyone

Ethical Christmas Gifts For Everyone

There are lots of ways to help people and planet this Christmas, and choosing ethical gifts is one of them. Handy then, that sustainable Christmas presents now come in all shapes and sizes and there really is something for everyone – even the trickiest and pickiest relatives. Personal and packed full of impact, the right gift can make your loved one smile and help make the festive season as feel-good as possible. Here are some of our favourites.

For the homemaker

Ethical shopping doesn’t have to be limited to your wardrobe – these days, it can influence how you style your entire house. The Sourced By Oxfam range has brand new products for every room. Want to help a friend feel extra cosy this Christmas? Check out these lovely snuggly throws. Or, if they’re into bold colours, these cushions made using recycled saris will go down a treat. We also stock cool statement pieces like this printing block hook, while these seagrass baskets provide super handy storage. If it’s festive you’re after, we have gorgeous Christmas decorations too. Plus you’ll find hundreds of unique vintage gifts in the Oxfam Online Shop including glassware, ceramics and textiles.

For the nature lover

Along with everything else, the state of the natural world has come into even greater focus this year, encouraging many of us to do more to protect it. Thankfully there are lots of ways to support wildlife from home –and some great ethical Christmas gifts that can help. Friend into wildlife? Give this brilliant butterfly house or bee and bug house from the Eden Project. Or choose a beautiful bird-house, lovingly handmade from recycled paper or saris. If your loved one enjoys reading about the wonders of nature, Oxfam Online Shop has lots of preloved books on wildlife, gardening and more. We also have brand new nature-themed gifts like this enchanted wildlife calendar and, for fledgling conservationists, The Sea Book is a great introduction to marine wildlife.

For the fashion fan

The options really are limitless with this one. With extensive womenswear, menswear and accessories sections and even some looks for the littles ones, the Oxfam Online Shop also has hundreds of designer and vintage items. If you’re buying for the truly fashion-savvy, bold checks, fringe embellishments and bright festive red are all key autumn-winter trends and we’ve got the looks to match. And if you’re after something brand new then Sourced By Oxfam has some gorgeous ethical accessories or look out items marked BNWT (Brand New With Tags) to get some brand new bargains. if you’re handy with a sewing machine, you could always make a one-off yourself. Gifts like an upcycled apron or a customised leather jacket will be memorable, and we can keep you stocked with preloved fabrics.

For the foodie

Sweet treats always go down well at Christmas and Sourced By Oxfam has found some delicious stuff –we’re talking chocolate, dates, nuts, the lot. If your loved one prefers doing the cooking themselves, beer bread kits make great gifts–you simply add your brew, mix and bake. You can also choose from hundreds of preloved cookery books in the Oxfam Online Shop with options to suit everyone’s needs and tastes from vegetarians to gluten-free. Keep your eye out for the likes of Nigella Lawson, Rick Stein, Mary Berry, Jamie Oliver and more. You can also find great preloved gifts for the kitchen and dining room. And this handy new recipe diary to keep tabs on all they’ve tried.

For the eco-minded

Whether you want to reduce your environmental impact or are buying for someone who does, there are lots of eco-friendly gifts around. If a friend’s keen to de-plastic their life, How To Give Up Plastic is full of info. Or help them on their way with these handy bamboo cups or reusable beeswax or plant-based food wraps. The Oxfam Online Shop also stocks cruelty-free shampoo bars – a great way to reduce plastic use in the bathroom. Plus gorgeous gifts made using recycled materials, like this timely rainbow shopping bag. Alternatively, you might want to consider an Oxfam Unwrapped charity gift. With the likes of Super Seeds and Help For Farmers Facing Climate Change, you’re sure to find something that strikes a chord.
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PS We’ll be sharing some great offers and discounts on ethical gifts in the run-up to Christmas – like this tweet for the latest updates.

 

Charity Gift Cards: 5 Reasons To Buy Poo This Christmas

Charity Gift Cards: 5 Reasons To Buy Poo This Christmas

Lockdown. Who’d have thought it would be all about the loo roll again? But if you’re even slightly tempted to start filling your trolley, take a minute – as we edge towards the festive season, you might be better off stockpiling some poo instead. Sounds smelly? Don’t worry! Our ‘Pile Of Poo’ charity gift cards are odour free and can fund training in effective, eco-friendly composting – converting pig-poo to bio-gas for families who really need it. It is just one of a wide range of Oxfam Unwrapped charity gift cards, all of which do something amazing by helping people to live free from poverty. Each one you buy is guaranteed to make someone smile this Christmas, here are a few reasons why.

1. Because… we probably won’t be able to do much, but our gifts can

 

From poo power to life-changing chickens to clean safe water, every Oxfam Unwrapped charity gift card represents crucial work to support people to live life free from poverty. And what better time to give them than this Christmas? If we’re stuck indoors again, it will feel all the better knowing that the gifts we give are out there, creating real change and boosting happiness around the world. You can read more about the impact of Oxfam Unwrapped gifts here.

 

2. Because… it’s a great alternative to throwaway gifting

 

If, like many people, you’re hoping to make this Christmas a little more sustainable, your choice in gifts is a great place to start. Plastic stocking-fillers, turkey leftovers, mountains of wrapping – Christmas can be BIG on waste. But charity gift cards are a great alternative to love-it-one-minute-chuck-it-the-next presents. From livelihood boosters like a Fantastic Farm Yard to game-changers like the Moomin’s themed Equality For All, charity gift cards have the power to help people transform their entire futures and those of their loved ones. What better way to make Christmas last?

 

3. Because… you can shop from the comfort of your sofa

 

With the entire Oxfam Unwrapped range online, and the option to send all gifts as e-cards you can do all your Christmas shopping without leaving the house. Need additional presents? You’ll find hundreds of ideas in the Oxfam Online Shop, including preloved and vintage fashion, books and homewares as well as the Sourced By Oxfam range of brand new ethical gifts. This year’s collection includes beautiful accessories and festive decorations.

 

4. Because… a thoughtful gift is like a hug

 

Helping others feels good. Fact. So, giving charity gifts is a great way to make people smile and cram the meaning back into Christmas. By choosing carefully, you can make sure presents for family and friends feel really personal too. Thoughtful gifts will mean even more this Christmas, particularly if you’re apart. Whether your dad’s into gardening, your sister fights for what’s right or your best friend loves bees, we’ve got a charity gift card to match. If you really want to send your loved one a hug, check out this lovely Moomin keyring too.

 

5. Because… we know that unity matters more than ever

 

The pandemic has proven the power of acting together, loud and clear. As well as the actions we all take as individuals, charity gift cards are another way to be there for others. By giving charity gifts like Food For A Family and Shelter And Warmth, you and your loved ones can stand with women, men and children facing unimaginable hardship. And together, we can make this Christmas mean even more.

 

Looking for more gift ideas? Check out some of our favourite ethical Christmas presents.
5 Ways You Can Still Make This Christmas Special

5 Ways You Can Still Make This Christmas Special

We all know this Christmas will be different. Very different. But while we may not be able to celebrate in quite the same way, it doesn’t have to mean missing out.

The unique situation that is Christmas 2020 provides an opportunity to rethink traditions, create new ones, and put the meaning back into Christmas like never before. Here are just a few ways you can sprinkle some magic during the festive season – and how Oxfam can help.

Woman holding Christmas gift

1. Feel closer (even when you’re apart) 

Being away from loved ones is never easy, particularly at Christmas. But thoughtful gestures can help you feel closer. If you’re at all into crafts, handmade gifts will feel really special – Love Your Clothes has lots of ideas, like this block printed tote bag. Or just choose a really personal present – you’ll find thousands of unique and  thoughtful Christmas gifts in the Oxfam Online Shop, including special and first edition books and rare and classic vinyl. You could also choose a charity gift that you know will strike a chord. Whether your dad’s into gardening or your gran loves goats, Oxfam Unwrapped has ideas for everyone. Each charity gift card makes a real difference by helping people living in poverty.

Advent calendar cans

2. Help Christmas mean (even) more

If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s the power of acting together. The festive season is a great time to do just that, uniting to help others – even if you can’t meet in person.  Not sure what you’d like for Christmas? Why not create your own fundraiser on Facebook and ask for contributions. It’s a really special way to do good this year  ( Or you could join people across the country in creating your own ‘reverse advent calendar. Shopping with Oxfam is another way to make a difference – every item you buy will help families living in poverty, with lots of new ethical products and gifts as well as preloved fashion, homeware and more.

Cardboard decorations

3. Give to the planet

With the likes of Sir David sharing shocking statistics on the state of the natural world, coronavirus hasn’t been the only issue on people’s minds in 2020. No surprise then, that many people are finding new ways to lessen their environmental impact. Thousands of you took part in Second Hand September – thank you. It needn’t stop there. Gifting second hand is just one way to enjoy an eco friendly Christmas. You could also reuse wrapping paper or turn it into festive decorations or envelopes. Or avoid throwaway stocking-fillers and buy brilliant reusables like these cute bamboo cups and lunch boxes – ideal for hot chocolate on a chilly New Year walk.

Handmade Christmas crackers

4. Create a new tradition 

Unfortunately, it’s inevitable that some festive traditions will have to be temporarily parked this Christmas. But in the meantime, why not start something new and doable? You could start by introducing loved ones to the wonders of festive woollies – here’s how to turn old jumpers into Christmas ones. You could also fill your own family Christmas crackers, or club together with relatives to buy a life-changing gift for a family in need.

 Looking for more inspiration? Like this post on our twitter feed to get notifications of more inspirational,  sustainable Christmas ideas, and special promotions throughout November and December with no need to search!

Christmas presents

5. Make your home magical

If you’re spending most of the festive period at home, it’s a good excuse to make your surroundings feel extra special, with plenty of decorations, sparkle and hygge. There are lots of ideas online – like these pretty upcycled streamers. Or treat yourself to some ethical decorations like this lovely Sari bunting Sourced By Oxfam. Stock up on comforting treats too, including these delicious Tony Chocolonely chocolate bars. And to make gift-giving feel extra special why not try fabric knot wrapping instead of paper? Inspired by the Japanese tradition Furoshiki, this can be done with reusable scarves and fabric off-cuts – Oxfam Online Shop has lots if you need to stock up. Happy making. And happy Christmas.

 

Feeling festive? Like this post on our twitter feed to get notifications of inspirational,  sustainable Christmas ideas, and special promotions with no need to search!

How to use Beeswax food wrap?

How to use Beeswax food wrap?

Each year in the UK we use a shocking 1.2 billion metres of cling film, a product which is very hard to recycle. Beeswax wraps have paved the way for a sustainable alternative, not only are they biodegradable and compostable but the colourful designs are beautiful too.

At Oxfam we stock the wonderful The Beeswax Wrap co, online and in our stores too. Their wraps are handmade using organic GOTS certified cotton, pine resin, organic jojoba oil and locally sourced UK beeswax.

What are the benefits of using them?

  • 100% natural – so no chance of any nasties seeping in to your food.
  • Reusable – just clean with a little bit of soap and cold water after each use and then use them again! Give them a refresh every 2-3 months to extend their life – more info below on how to do this.
  • Biodegradable and compostable – once your wrap starts to lose its life you can put it in with your compost or twist it up and use it as a firelighter – cool huh?
  • Keeps food fresh – the combination of natural ingredients and organic cotton fabric allows the wraps to breathe, meaning your food stays fresh for longer. This extends the life of a loaf of bread by about 3-4 days and your sandwiches won’t be limp and lacklustre come lunch time.
  • Clingy – pine resin acts as a natural adhesive and the warmth from your hands helps mould the wraps to give a strong seal.

How to clean beeswax wraps

All you have to do is use a splash of gentle washing up liquid and a bit of cool water and voila! They’re ready to go again.

Refreshing your beeswax wrap – electric oven method

To keep your wraps fresh and sticky it’s best to refresh them every few months. Please note this method is only for electric ovens not gas ovens – if you have a gas oven please follow the Iron Refresh Method below.

Refreshing your beeswax wrap – iron method

This method is quick and easy, and perfect for refreshing wraps too big to fit on a tray in your oven, or if you don’t have an electric oven.

 

If you’re now converted and want to get your hands on some stunning beeswax wraps, click the link below or visit your local Oxfam shop.

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