In my last posts, I discussed the importance of two types of education. One involving blackboards, essays and homework and one involving life’s tasks, jobs and social situations.

For this post, I wanted to talk about something a little different. At this time of year, especially in the West, the shopping season is in full swing with many retailers taking 70% of their annual revenues in the two months leading up to Christmas. We, as shoppers, venture into towns and cities and click frantically on mice to get the best deals, latest products and lowest prices. Whether it be searching for the perfect present for the other half or finding the latest toys for children, cousins or friends today’s shopper has a series of endless choices to make. High street brands, small boutiques, online megastores, craft stalls or experience days. It is genuinely incredible if you stop to think how much is on offer to us and the sheer range of products we could get our hands on in a very short space of time. These products come from as close as next door to as far away as the opposite end of the world. Yet nowadays, few of us are surprised when we see “made in Indonesia” even if we are sitting in New York or London. This huge level of choice is something we often take for granted. All too often little thought is given to the people that made the products, often thousands of miles away, having a very different version of Christmas.

The point, for me at least, is a very simple one. Now that we have so much choice, there are loads of options available to us that are far from standard. They give us all the opportunity to do something more than give a present. They allow us to support the producers, help donation partners and also to put a smile on the person receiving the gift (hopefully!). There are a huge number of brands that do this and Conscious Magazine has probably told you about a good number of them. I’m not saying you all need to rush to get your loved ones some form of upcycled cement bags (although if you did, we wouldn’t complain!) but by supporting businesses that are trying to make a difference, we can all start a new type of Christmas consumerism; one that makes a lot of people happy and not only those that receive the presents!

I know it may seem obvious but it I found myself thinking of it when venturing into the hordes of people draped in heavy shopping bags and holding increasingly light wallets this weekend.

In the meantime, have a very good festive season and a good start to 2015!

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