Shop smart for Christmas!

Christmas is for spending time with loved ones. But as we all know, it’s becoming more commercialised every year and it’s easy to feel pressured to spend huge amounts of money on presents, decorations and food – bad for you, your pocket, and the planet!

This year we’re taking the Christmas #ShopSmart pledge… to reduce the waste, to take the stress and money worries out of Christmas shopping and help us prove that showing you care this festive season doesn’t need to cost the earth!

So, here are our 6 top tips for a people, pocket and planet friendly Christmas….

1. Get thrifty!

Check the charity shops – second hand gifts can be just as good as new ones and you’d be surprised what you can find in there! Books, clothes, decorations… the list in endless. Also check out what’s for sale on Facebook Marketplace! Alternatively, you could give ‘Christmas Gift Cheques’ – a voucher for ‘one night babysitting’ or ‘one home cooked meal’ for example. Print off a free voucher template here: or simply write your own!

2. Avoid the tat – ‘gift for good’

Are you guilty of buying a ‘main’ present, then bulking it out with random little gifts? Often these stocking fillers are a novelty at Christmas but are quickly discarded by New Year. So when buying gifts, ask yourself “Will this person get a lot of use from this item?” or “Does this person really need this gift?” Gift giving is not about the size or number of presents, it really is the thought that counts.

If you are looking for something a little extra, why not give the ‘feel good factor’ and try something like ‘Oxfam Unwrapped‘ where your gift could change the world!

3. Have a gift-free Christmas

Buying a Christmas present for every ‘man and his dog’ can be stressful, time consuming and expensive! So limit who you buy presents for. Stick to immediate family perhaps? Instead of buying gifts for all your mates, let them know you’re not buying gifts but would like to organise a Christmas movie night in or a drink at the pub. The chances are they’d also like to reduce their Christmas spending and will be glad of your suggestion!

4. Take out the guess work

How often have you received a gift that, although much appreciated, you are never going to use or wear? Help out your loved ones this year by taking the stress out of gift finding, and let them know what you need! Also encourage them to do the same. Don’t waste money and fuel the commercialism culture on unwanted gifts!

5. Discounts are your friend, most of the time…

Over the festive period many of us travel across the country to visit loved ones. But don’t leave your train and bus tickets to the last minute. All the best prices are released in advance so if you haven’t already booked your travel, do it now! And where possible, travel off-peak.

Also make the most of Student Discounts! Always ask in store and check out these student discount websites: StudentBeans and MyUniDays!

This being said, discounts can also make us overspend by tricking us into thinking we have a bargain! But spending money on gifts or food that won’t get used or are unnecessary, is a waste. So, take advantage of discounts – but only for items you really need! 

6. Not used it? Flog it.

Generate some money to spend at Christmas and minimise unwanted items going to landfill. Clear out your cupboards, wardrobes, check under the bed… If you’ve got items that you haven’t used since last Christmas, sell them on Facebook Marketplace. It’s free to advertise and you can post your items to multiple local groups.

We hope that you’ll make the Christmas #ShopSmart pledge this year and we’d love to hear any more of your suggestions on how to have an affordable and sustainable Christmas! Drop us a message at or visit our social media pages: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

And lastly keep an eye on for our next Christmas themed blog later in December, all about reducing waste at Christmas! Until next time 😀

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