As (a very different) Christmas approaches this year, it's a great time to think about our relationship to 'things'. The presents we choose to buy for loved ones and friends tells us more about our own relationship to consumerism (and money) than we realise...
Since money is tight this year, and budgets are stretched, can we all fuel our creativity and give a little more than physical presents this Christmas? Can we make the act of giving a more wise and inventive one? With presents that fulfill more than the physical item itself and instead do good for the planet, bring us closer together in an experience, or perhaps give a percentage of each sale to a charity you (and your loved ones) believe in? And surely, above all, turning our phones off and being truly present with those we care about is the best thing we can give in these strange bubble-like times?
If you are buying physical things for loved ones, take a sweet little moment before clicking "buy" on Amazon. Can you buy a little slower and from independent local businesses you admire? Don't admire any yet? Get researching: they're all around you...and probably end up putting the pounds towards the livelihoods of those in your own community. Can you buy UK-made and buy in smaller ways which do more than put cash in their till? (Well, cardless...we do live in Covid times). Perhaps you've helped a local craftsperson pay their December rent? Perhaps it's a magazine from your local Big Issue seller who is getting his feet back on the ground and investing his money into a training course? Perhaps it's a kit that requires you and the family to get together and do, such as a baking set? Perhaps it was a small purchase of pastels from the local art shop, for you to paint and frame a unique piece of art which your grandparents will cherish forever?
Whether you are buying from companies big or small, demand clarity from them: what is their manufacturing and supply chain like? Are their employees given a fair living wage, with good working conditions? Do the products do more harm to the environment than good? Researching up-and-coming businesses in your area is also a great way to explore the growing industries and opportunities on your doorstep and get an understanding of what different organisations offer employees. It can help you work out what you want from an employer one day.
If you are like UK entrepreneur Oliver, go out of your way to find answers to living life how you want to live it (and perhaps doing good things for charity and the environment in the process). You might contact businesses in your local area like Oliver, about job opportunities or ways you can get involved in their organisation. 75% of jobs aren't advertised and some jobs start out as unpaid opportunities. Small newer companies don't often advertise for employees, and they don't always know they need a passionate and useful person until you knock on their door and show them what they're potentially missing...
MOJ TAYLOR is an Edinburgh Fringe First winning actor, and stand up comedian. He was selected for the BBC's Stand Up If You Dare competition for new comics - being mentored in comedy by Jasper Carrott. He was the first Taylor of his family to graduate a higher education course, reading Hispanic Studies & Drama from Queen Mary University of London before undertaking an MA in Acting at Drama Centre London (UAL). He has featured in various commercial campaigns (Asics, Nivea, Mazda, Lexus, Movember) and has delivered over 3,000 workshops to teenagers across the UK via Push and ComedyClub4Kids. He is also a PADI Divemaster, and has assisted on various conservation projects on seagrass and carbon emissions in the UK and The Baltic Sea. He is also a proud ambassador for the charity Freedom from Abuse, running Caught for Court presentations to 1,000s of children and teenagers on the dangers of county lines gangs, knife and drug crime and the realities of prison life.
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