Cover image: A fair festive season?

A fair festive season?

Our aim at Think Global is to get schools and teachers to engage with global issues and take action to make the world a better place. At a time of giving and sharing it feels right to reflect on all our global interconnections. What we buy in the UK links us into supply chains involving people all around the world. How can we ensure that our gifts support and benefit others, and don’t cause harm along that chain? Read on for our suggestions…

Buy fairly and sustainably

Think Global has partnered up with New Internationalist’s Ethical Shop to help you shop online with a conscience. The shop has a wonderful range of ethically-sourced and fairly traded products, eg: chocolate, jewellery, home & garden gifts, books, music and much, much more. It also stocks NI’s beautiful One World calendar as well as gifts and cards from organisations such as Amnesty International and Friends of the Earth. Shop online at the Ethical ShopTo launch the shop’s Christmas season, we are offering all UK teachers a 10% discount on all orders over £30. To benefit from this discount, please use the code TG-GDW and place your order before 30 November 2016: The added bonus is that when you shop via this link, we get a small commission. Thanks for your support!

Buy local

If you shop locally to support small businesses you can feel more confident that you are putting money directly into your community. Look around for farmers’ markets, vintage and craft fairs or Christmas fêtes to support. You can also find small businesses, bookshops, artists, jewellery makers and craftspeople online through sites such as (“supporting your high street”) or (“your place to buy and sell all things handmade”).

Buy nothing!

You could make a pact with your friends and family to completely opt out from the “pressure” of gift-giving (freedom at last!). But perhaps offer a nice gesture such as a stack of tickets that say “1 ticket for 1 tea and cake date”. Or you could get crafty, making and baking, and create your own cards, wrapping paper or home-made gifts. This is a great way to get children involved, for example making Christmas wrapping paper or Christmas Origami shapes.

Take action

Take the opportunity of this time of giving to support organisations you feel are making a positive difference. Many charities offer ‘in kind’ gifts, for example Practical Presents (from Practical Action) or Oxfam Unwrapped. Christmas can be a sad reminder to some people of the things they don’t have, such as family, decent food or a secure home. You could donate to your local food bank, volunteer for a homeless charity or elderly support charity, or sign petitions for positive and permanent change to work towards a better and brighter new year. If you’re planning on eating any chocolate this Christmas you’ll probably be stocking up on the Fairtrade variety. But another way you could take action is to sign this Europe-wide petition asking supermarkets to improve the conditions and ethics within their own-brand chocolate supply chains. This is part of a project Think Global is involved in to raise awareness about the ethics of supermarket supply chains. For more ideas on taking action, download or order our Action-Learning poster for schools.