I’ve been thinking about Christmas a lot lately. I mean hey, who hasn’t? However, I have not been thinking about the festivities in the way you may expect. It’s not really been about what to buy or what to eat just yet.
Primarily I have been trying to think up a strapline to sum up how I envisage our Christmas celebrations to pan out. ‘ What?’ You all cry. What the heck are you blathering on about now?
Well as a blogger and a budding entrepreneur I am about to embark on an exciting venture in the new year, taking the Trawlergirl name to a whole other level, so as well as thinking about Christmas, I’ve been thinking about new beginnings and brand identity too.
I suppose it’s just spilled over into my Christmas planning so now I am attempting to ‘brand’ my own Christmas celebrations!
Anyway, let’s get back to straplines. For those of you not familiar with the world of straplines, they are the short statement that sums up what your business, event or venture is about. Think of Nike – Just Do It, Tesco-Every Little Helps or Max Factor – The Make up of Make up Artists and you begin to get my drift.
So how did I go about finding the perfect statement that sums up how I envisage the Edwards family Christmas? Drum roll…………………………………….. I prepared a stew.
What? You did what?
Yep, I chopped some vegetables, fried some beef steak, made a stock and then put it all together in the slow cooker left it on low and walked away.
Thats how I would like my run up to Christmas to be.
Low and Slow.
Our motto for the Edwards Family Christmas is going to be just that.
The Edwards Christmas – Low and Slow.
I like it, sounds like a good mantra to me.
What do I mean by low?
Low emissions – My aim this year is to purchase gifts that are either recycled, up cycled or vintage wherever possible. Being kind to our planet is a huge priority for me this year.
Low cost – Having a present budget for each person and sticking to it. The main emphasis for us at Christmas is the children, with most of us adults now foregoing our gifts. We are grown ups, we just don’t need more stuff.
Low fat – realistically there is only so much Christmas food any one person can eat, (really, really) online shopping is the way to go and means that I can plan carefully and not overstock.
Low key – Our Christmas Day will be just that. A maximum of 8 of us at the table, a decent plate of food, some fun, some crackers and some fizz. Enough said.
And how about slow?
Slow burning – I am determined to take my time with things this year, to stop and listen to the carol singers on the high street, to take a trip to London and marvel at the Christmas Wonderland in Hyde Park and the lights on Oxford Street. I do not want to hurtle towards Christmas Day with all guns blazing, only to render myself completely knackered when the big day arrives.
Slow and easy on the kidneys – December is booze central for most of us. However, this year I aim to start the party season slowly, to alternate drinks between soft and hard wherever possible. The main hope this year is to actually reach New Years Eve and want to go out. This hasn’t happened for the last few years (see previous article!) as I have normally over eaten and over indulged and one more night out just seems like too much effort! This year I would like a fitting celebratory start to 2014 as there are exciting times ahead.
Are you done yet?
By the time we get to the festivities I would like them to be exactly like that yummy stew I mentioned right at the start. Mellow, relaxed and full of wholesome goodness. Perfectly created and there to be savoured and enjoyed.
I’ll be back in the New Year to share with you how our Christmas celebrations really went down.
In the meantime, how about having a go at making your own Christmas strap line. Here’s a couple to give you some ideas. Fun & Frantic or maybe Genteel & Gorgeous?
Oh and if you are out and about on Christmas Eve and you do spot a woman diving in and out of shops grabbing manically at anything she can find whilst muttering the words ‘Low and Slow’ it means my plan has come a bit unstuck and you can guarantee there’s a ruined casserole lurking somewhere at home too!
Love, stews and Christmas crackers,
Christmas is such a beautiful time. Christmas food, drinks, lights, parties, families and friends getting together and a general sense of excitement and anticipation for the Christmas holiday and, of course, New Years Eve. One of my favourite parts of the run up to Christmas (apart from the abundance of cheese) is buying presents for my loved ones. I know many people moan about Christmas shopping being horribly taxing, expensive and like trying to swim against a current when you’re trying to find that last minute perfect gift, but for me it’s something I genuinely look forward too. I love sitting down and thinking about each individual and what they might need, or want, and then toddling out into a fairy light strewn town centre to find it. It’s an absolute cliché I know, but I really do love giving people presents, often even more than receiving them.
However, Christmas is also a time where we could think twice about what we are buying and how we behave in regards to presents. I am constantly disgusted by the sheer greed of people who raid super stores as early as Christmas Eve to grab and snatch their prized items. I do understand, that being able to snitch that Marc Jacobs bag at 30% off before anyone else does is a real treat, and is possibly the dream Christmas present for someone. However, watching hundreds of people push each other (many department stores report actual injuries during these ‘holiday rushes’) and stamp around grabbing items from the rails and shelves makes me really sad. After watching the news footage of swarms of people invading shops in New York, London and Japan last year on TV got me thinking about my own behaviour around Christmas and gifts, and how a few small changes could make a big difference.
Before you stop reading this, muttering about the eco-grinch who’s trying to steal our Christmas presents, I am NOT suggesting you stop shopping, giving, receiving or indulging in some sales shopping. As I’ve said, I love this as much as the next person, there are just a few tricks you can try out to make your Christmas shopping extra special.
1. When you buy Christmas presents, do you do it online? If so there are several organisations which allow you to donate to a charity of your choice every time you buy something online. Giveasyoulive is one I’m familiar with, although there are several others around which you can use (just make sure whichever one you chose is definitely legit!). They work in a similar fashion to cash back programmes, but instead of you receiving the cash it goes to your favourite charity. Cash back from Christmas gifts (unless you are VERY generous) often only comes to a few pounds, which in your hands is perhaps not a lot but to a charity such as UNICEF, it will feed dozens of starving children.
2. Consider alternative options. Rather than asking for a Topshop gift card from that aunty who has unfortunate taste, why not find a specific item you would like? There are a lot of ethical alternatives to our high street favourites. Personally, I love Fashion-conscience.com for ethical clothing and handbags and Cutecosmetics for make-up. Another option is to buy locally. Many people already do this with their Christmas food, so why not with your presents. Support a local business, artist, designer… the list goes one! It’s likely that the extra thought you put into the gift, which will no doubt be a little more unique than another bubble bath set from Boots, will win you points with your loved one, and your local businesses! (Check out The Very Festive Fe-line Gift Guide, for some great places to shop locally in Oxfordshire this Christmas)
3. Addicted to the familiarity of the high street? Pushed for time? Monsoon, Accessorize, The Body Shop, Boots, Marks and Spencers all have ethical gifts available and have incorporated socially and environmentally conscious processes into their store policies. Most supermarkets will sell wine, chocolate and flowers which are fairtrade (as well as biscuits, condiments and fruit in larger stores) and department stores will sell Vivienne Westwood, Mulberry, Butter London or Zoya nail polishes which all have eco/ethical credentials. Barry M nail cosmetics were never tested on animals, even before the European ban, and neither were Paul Mitchell hair care products.
4. When you’re out sale shopping after Christmas, ask yourself with every purchase: am I going to wear this? Do I look good in this and do I need this? I have spent so much money in the past on dresses I like but do not need, or on purchases that I’ll ‘fit into once the January diet kicks in!’. The more we shop and purchase unnecessary pieces, the more we fuel the production-consumption cycle which results in thousands of tonnes of clothing going to landfill each year and drives the unethical and environmentally damaging cheap clothing industry.
5. Slightly rubbish presents or things you bought after a wine fuelled online sale shop which don’t actually look great – ‘ironic’ gangster cap anyone? Donate! As I write, a Red Cross store in Chelsea is opening its doors to hundreds of shoppers who have queued up to buy Victoria and David Beckham’s donated clothing. The celebrity couple donated 20 boxes of designer clothing to the charity to aid the Red Cross‘ work in the Philippines. Come on, if Posh and Becks can let go of their designer favourites, I’m sure we can all find a few pieces we wouldn’t mind donating towards a better cause!
So go forth ladies, and have a wonderful Christmas and wonderful shop! Just try to keep these few points in the back of your mind when you’re out and about buying things. Although Christmas is a time for presents and giving, that’s not what it’s all about. Making people happy, sharing memories and *cliché alert* spreading the love are also crucial parts of Christmas – so why not let your Christmas gifts make a difference and make the people who produce your presents (or even the environment!) a little happier too?
Love and ethical fashion,