responsible shopper

5 ways to be a responsible shopper in Cambridge

Being a responsible shopper at Christmas makes sense

As we all become increasingly aware of our impact on the environment and the world around us it is good to consider how to shop responsibly this festive season.

Last year I got all my Christmas gifts from the indie shops in and around Cambridge; a very rewarding experience. So I’m happy to introduce Hannah Munby – the owner of Fen Ditton Gallery – who shares her thought on why being a responsible shopper makes sense.

It’s hard to avoid the large chains at Christmas as they dominate the high streets. And when it comes to buying gifts for everyone (and yes, that includes occasional pets) it’s easy to dive straight into the first one that catches your eye and to get it over and done with.

But pause for thought: there may be a way of doing it that supports local communities and economies with less environmental impact.

Five ways to be a responsible shopper this festive season

Give something back

We all love to give and receive gifts; it is after all part of the enjoyment of Christmas. But that doesn’t mean you can’t give something back too. Many independent organisations will often support local charities and causes. Why not ask your local indies about any charities they support?

Support independent businesses

Of course, internet shopping is convenient, but shopping locally, especially from independent businesses has many benefits.

  • You buy from an actual person, who is truly passionate about what they do.
  • You contribute to the local economy – it may seem obvious, but some of the money you spend locally will stay in the local economy.
  • It reinforces communities (…and that seems even more important in the current climate)
  • It’s better for the environment – local businesses may well source locally and don’t require the sheer volume of shipping and packaging in day-to-day running.

Avoid mass-produced ‘everyone’s got them’ gifts

It’s a great feeling when you find a unique gift for a loved one (that you know they will love) and don’t have the worry of everyone else buying them the same thing! By giving a one-off, handmade piece of jewellery or ceramic vase you are giving a little piece of the maker too.

responsible shopper
Contemporary ceramics, woodwork, jewellery, metalwork and woodwork. A selection of some of the works on sale for the Fen Ditton Gallery Christmas exhibition Silver and Green.

Look after the environment

Taking advantage of the local businesses on your doorstep helps the environment too. There’s no shipping and minimal packaging (if any). It’s amazing how creative craftspeople can be when it comes to recycling and reusing materials too.

Know where it’s come from

It’s key for sustainable and responsible shopping to know where these products have come from. Who is the maker? Where are they based? What is this made from? All you have to do is ask.

Your invite for mulled wine as you browse

Fen Ditton Gallery’s Christmas exhibition, Silver & Green, is a relaxed alternative to high-street shopping. Mother and daughter team, Lotte and Hannah, invite you to enjoy a glass of mulled wine as you browse a selection of handcrafted gifts and contemporary art from British artists and makers.  You won’t get that with the big high street shops.  Ends on the 22nd December, find out more here

responsible shopper
Photo Credit: Indie Cambridge
Dawn Giesler, is the founder of scuseme Cambridge, an online marketplace that connects you with personally vetted tradespeople in your community.  She has lived in Cambridge for over 20 years and offers advice based on her own experiences.  For more information visit scuseme
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