Ethical and Sustainable Christmas Shopping

Still stuck for those last minute Christmas presents? We’ve got you sorted. Buying from local and independent business not only means your money benefits those within your community, but their environmental impact is often markedly lower as they don’t have to be shipped half way across the world…

Here are our top suggestions some wonderful local and independent business that deserve your support!

Dahlia, Marchmont

This small plant shop in Marchmont is the perfect haven for the succulent lover in your life. Big plants, tiny cacti, and blooming beauties are abound here, and it’s hard not to head home with your arm full of terracotta pots. The shop has a well-stocked and diverse selection of greenery to decorate your home with, and helpful staff that are very knowledgeable and ready to help you learn about caring for your new ferny friends. If you’re not after plants, Dahila also sells incense and totes. The rustic décor and abundance of life makes this shop a lovely escape from the bustle of holiday shopping in the centre of town and is sure to have an inspiring and homely present for yourself or another. Sometimes there’s even a dog there! 

Black Moon Botanica, Candlemaker Row 

Witchy vibes are making a resurgence in contemporary times, and this lovely shop near Greyfriar’s Graveyard embraces and warmly welcomes practical magic. With handmade candles, wax melts, and textbooks on how to celebrate the occult from the comfort of your home makes Black Moon Botanica a hidden gem of authenticity and genuine passion, especially amongst the various commercial Harry Potter shops that litter Edinburgh. This Christmas they are also hosting a Yuletide gathering, with the promise of cosy food and community. I’m genuinely refreshed by this place, it’s handmade local craft and open mindedness, and the staff are also wonderful! 

Raf, Brunstfield Place 

A little blue star of Brunstfield, Raf promotes and sells a regularly rotating stock of local arts and crafts, from jewellery to dog leashes to bags and foot soaks. There’s something for everyone! Celebrating and supporting local artists is so important right now, as we start to combat fast fashion, commercial over-production, and exploited labour. Each piece featured in this store has been made by hand, and the prices reflect this as well as the pride taken in its creation. It also feels great to know that you are contributing to the continued support of others, and that you have something unique to either decorate your own home with, or gift to another. Especially because when it’s gone, it’s gone! 

Lighthouse Books, West Nicholson Street

 I’m not sure what to say about Lighthouse Books that hasn’t been said! A hub of radical resistance and an unstoppable force of support for indie creators and under-represented mainstream ones, Lighthouse has the perfect selection of books to choose from for your seasonal bookworm. Nonfiction, graphic novels, totes, and pins, it’s not surprising that it’s so popular. They also have regular book clubs that are not terrifying (I speak from experience), and the staff will be so excited to help you find new and important literature. Like Dahlia, there’s also sometimes a dog there! 

Flamingosaurus Rex, Bruntsfield Place 

This art gallery showcases and sales an eclectic range of creative work from local artists in the city. There are zines, bags, ceramics, and more, and the feeling of walking in and seeing it all is very similar to walking into Wonka’s chocolate factory; an assortment of colours and shapes galore. The passion for this project is clear, and the wealth of fun work on display is sure to provide something exciting and one-of-a-kind for your secret Santa.

The Leith Collective, Ocean Terminal

This shop hosts work from 65 local artists and makers and offers many vintage and up-cycled options for the eco-conscious person in your life. There is also a high chance the person that made the item you’ll be purchasing will be selling it to you as well, as the artists work in the store alongside people experiencing mental health difficulties, who are able to gain work experience in a supportive environment. You’ll struggle not to find something for a loved one (and probably yourself) here!

New Leaf Co-op, Marchmont

New Leaf Co-op can satisfy every kind of food craving possible. From grind-your-own chocolate peanut butter to a floor to ceiling wall of dried herbs and spices, there is no food worth buying that New Leaf Co-op can’t provide. A registered cooperative and Real Living Wage employer, you can justify any and all spending with the reassurance that your money is being reinvested for good. Have a browse through their zero waste section, their endless array of herbal teas or their boxes of chocolates for your favourite foodie friend.

by Meg McGrath and Zoe Robertson, Environmental Editor and Arts and Culture Editor