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Countdown to Christmas: ELL’s guide to giving ethically

Pic: Christmasstockimages.com

Christmas is a time for giving, which can make it easy to overlook where we do our getting. However, ethical consumerism can come into its own during the festive season. Gifts which have been carefully considered can mean so much more than something picked up at the last minute. With this in mind, Eastlondonlines have compiled a guide to the best conscientious yuletide offerings in east London.

HACKNEY

Butcher: Ginger Pig, Lauriston Road, E9
Pick and pre-order your bird at the Hackney branch of Ginger Pig. The esteemed butchers are selling turkey, goose and cockerel as well as an array of delicious trimmings, including chipolatas, streaky bacon, prune and brandy sausages and stuffing.

All of Ginger Pig’s poultry is reared free range on the Belvoir Estate and fed a natural diet of homegrown wheat and vegetable protein.

Merry Meat. Pic: gingerpig.co.uk

Stocking fillers: Jessie Chorley and Buddug, 158 Colombia Road, E2 7RG
Take advantage of the fact that much of the fabulous Colombia Road will be open on Wednesday evenings in the lead up to Christmas. Jessie Chorley and Buddug Humphreys will open late to sell their own handcrafted cards, jewellery and homewares.

Handmade homeware from Jessie Chorley. Pic: jessiechorley.com

Clothing: Junky, 21 Hackney Road London E2 7NX
Since its conception in 1997, Junky has received accolades from The New Yorker and Vogue, which described the brand as “high street fashion couture”. All of the store’s beautifully tailored garments are the result of an intensive reconstruction of second hand clothing. The shop is full to bursting with one-off pieces, perfect presents for the front-row fashionista in your life.

TOWER HAMLETS

Clothing: The Laden Showroom, Brick Lane, E1
Supporting budding fashion designers since 1999, the Laden Showroom stocks over 50 brands at any one time, providing a wide range of clothing and accessories, particularly party dresses perfect for New Year’s Eve.

Deli: A.Gold, 42 Brushfield Street, E1
A.Gold is one of the few delis in London that stocks UK-only produce. Pick what you’ll graze on this Boxing Day from shelves crammed with relishes, pickles and chutneys, London-made honey and fabulous Cumbrian fudge. Festive drinks such as ciders, meads and sloe gin are also on the menu, so stock up and stay in!

CROYDON

Stocking fillers: Buddhist Centre Croydon, 98 High Street, CR0 1ND
The Buddhist Centre stocks predominantly ethical and fairtrade gifts, including100% biodegradable laptop cases in muted tones by Jute, sweet bird-shaped felt brooches and naturally dyed Indonesian bags.

Jute laptop bag. Pic: amazon.co.uk

Ambience: Country Cream, 49 Hayes Lane, CR8 5LF
Head to Country Cream for gift wrapped sweet-smelling soaps and glorious glass-contained candles from organic company Heyland and Whittle.

LEWISHAM

Thawing out: Imporient, 54 Willow Way, SE26 4QP
Fairtrade tea shop Imporient vows to deliver “the best tasting cup of tea in a socially responsible way”. The family-owned business co-founded The Point Foundation, a charity which improves the lives of orphans in Africa. They also sell miniature tea chests perfect for giving (or just drinking yourself).

Trees: Caring Christmas Trees – 2 outlets
Deptford: Shaftesbury Centre, SE8 4RN
Catford: Bromley Road Retail Park (next to PC World), SE6 2QU
If you are struggling with your Christmas tree conscience, look no further than Caring Christmas Trees. Sourced from members of the British Christmas Tree Growers Association, ensuring high environmental standards, the Nordman firs sold by CCT are grown in Scotland and replaced once they are harvested. With two Lewisham-based stockists, there is no excuse for buying an unethical tree this year.

Pic: Christmasstockimages.com

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