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Ethical Shopping

Affordable and ethical gift ideas for budgets from £10 to £100

When it comes to Christmas present shopping, buying both ethically and affordably doesn’t have to be tough.

Shopping both ethically and affordably can be a tricky business at Christmas time. Most of us want to buy our loved ones something special, but doing so without breaking the bank can be difficult.

Finding cheap gifts that don’t exploit workers or damage the planet can be even harder.

Luckily, there are now more options than ever for ethical shoppers on a tight budget, with plenty of outlets for buying Christmas gifts guilt-free.

The Big Issue shop is one such outlet: an online marketplace for ethical and sustainable products which put the planet and people first.

All the products on the site come from ethical traders, sustainable producers or social enterprises, meaning that your purchase for a loved one will go on to help others in turn.

Every product on the site comes with information about the supplier, meaning you can make informed decisions about who to buy from.

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There are gift ideas on the site for all price ranges, whether you’re working with £10 or £100. We’ve pulled together the ultimate guide to help you pick the best of what’s on offer – from home decor to stylish clothing.

Cheap Christmas gifts: £10 and under 

Nemi green tea 125g, Loose leaf: £5.50 

This delicate loose-leaf green tea is the perfect gift for the tea-lovers in your life. It comes from a London-based company which employs refugees in the UK to help them settle in their new home country.

Dog bandanas, £4.99

One for the dog-owners: these stylish dog bandanas from Koko Collective would make an adorable gift for a furry friend (and their owner). The bandanas are made in India in partnership with charity Calcutta, which employs 15 people who would otherwise find it hard to secure work.

Pack of 6 A6 Christmas cards with envelopes: £4.50 

Put a smile on someone’s face and make a difference to someone’s life with these Christmas cards from the Big Issue.

All profits made from this pack of cards will go to the Big Issue and help give people living on the margins of society a hand up, rather than a handout.

The beautiful santa design – made up of images of our vendors – is printed on recycled paper. 

Big Issue anniversary tea towel, £7.99

Celebrate the Big Issue’s 30th birthday with this commemorative tea towel, which would make the perfect addition to someone’s kitchen.

Your purchase will help those facing poverty, with all profits funding the Big Issue’s mission.

Selections of books from the Do Book Company: £8.99 each

Give the gift of practical knowledge this year with a book from the Do Book Company.

The company is based in Shoreditch, London, and publishes guides which inspire people to take action and do good things for themselves and others.

Profits from your purchase will go back into the company to fund the “Do Lectures”, keeping the cycle of doing good going.

Big Issue Christmas baubles – £8.00

Do away with plastic on the tree this year and give the gift of sustainable Big Issue baubles. All decorations are made from bamboo, and you can choose from a range of designs, including a polar bear or a robin.

Every purchase will go towards helping the Big Issue dismantle poverty in today’s society.

Little kisses knot hat, £7.90

This cute unisex baby hat is perfect for anyone with young kids in your life, and every purchase will help an child in need. 

From Babies With love will channel every penny of profit from its ethically-sourced designs into helping abandoned children around the world. 

Every penny of profit from our unique, ethically sourced designs goes to support abandoned children around the world.

Geo layered paper earring, coral: £5

Go stylish and ethical with a jewellery gift from Quazi design.

These earrings are handmade from waste magazine paper and produced in Southern Africa, where Quazi design creates employment opportunities for local people.

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The gift that keeps on giving

The Big Gift

As a non-profit, every penny we make goes back into the organisation. With a gift subscription to The Big Issue, not only will your friend receive an award-winning magazine each week, but you’re also contributing to The Big Issue’s fight to dismantle poverty – from employing our frontline staff, who provide vendors with vital support, to enabling us to campaign for policy change on a national level… each subscription really does make a difference.

Cheap Christmas gifts: £20 and under 

Will.I.Am Mug: £12.99

This exclusive mug designed by the Big Issue would make a great present for fans of the Black Eyed Peas or Will.I.Am.

Your purchase will go towards the Big Issue’s work with the most vulnerable people in society.

Beneath the surface, street art print: £20

The Big Issue’s Street Art Page gives marginalised individuals an outlet for creative expression, as well as offering them a platform to sell their artwork through the Big Issue shop.

Here, you can buy a print from Mary, who has been working as an artist in London for over 10 years.

Lady Muck hand cream: £13.99

Winter can be a nightmare for your hands – which makes this delicately-scented hand cream an excellent stocking filler.

The product supports ARTHOUSE Unlimited, a collective of artists living with complex epilepsy and learning disabilities all of whom require varying levels of support.

Homeless tartan bowtie: £20

This bow tie is perfect for formal occasions throughout the year and comes in a gorgeous tartan pattern.

The design is “homeless” tartan from Slanj, a company which offers which offers part of its profits to organisations tackling homelessness in the UK.

Compostable coffee capsules, taster selection: £17

Give the gift of a great cup of coffee with these coffee capsules from Sendero, which sources sustainable specialty grade Arabica coffees from remote smallholder farmers.

Better yet, the capsules are biodegradable and compostable, avoiding the usual waste generated by coffee capsules.

Lamya earrings: £20 

Handmade in India by artisans, these beaded earrings are beautiful and sustainable.

Each design is unique due to being hand-crafted, and comes from Daughters of the Ganges, (DOTG) an organisation which employs women in India to help them achieve financial independence.

Elephant branded original wallet: £20 

For every one of these wallets you buy, company Elephant Branded will hand-deliver a school stationery to a child in Africa or Asia.

The wallet is crafted from recycled cement bags by villagers in Cambodia.

Organic elephant soft toy: £12.99

Why not avoid plastic presents for kids and go for this adorable elephant toy, which is ethically sourced and made from sustainably sourced cotton.

The product comes from Best Years, a fair trade cooperative which creates fairly paid and flexible jobs in rural Bangladesh.

Pebble unicorn rattle: £14.99

Another toy for the babies in your life, this rattle is handmade and ethically sourced.

This also comes from Best years, which  creates fairly paid and flexible jobs in rural Bangladesh.

Fight like a girl t-shirt: £20 

Buy Social with this Big Issue T-Shirt with a feminist message. All profits generated will go back into the Big Issue’s mission to help the most vulnerable in society.

Cheap Christmas gifts: £30 and under 

Sari yoga mat bag: £25 

Perfect for yoga fanatics, these sari mat bags are great for carrying equipment to classes.

They come from Destiny, an organisation which gives women the skills to turn old saris into bags, giving them the means to earn their own money.

Power to the people hoodie: £27.20

This power to the people hoodie would make a great present for any changemakers in your life.

It’s designed by the Big Issue, with all profits funneled back into our mission to support vulnerable people in society.

Stainless steel water bottle: £28

During the hot summer months, homeless people are at particular risk of heat related illnesses and dehydration.

If you buy this brilliant water bottle, you’ll help someone in your life avoid plastic and help the homeless – with Leiho giving boxed and refillable cartons of water to someone in need with every purchase.

Porcelain star decorations: £22

If someone in your life is looking for gorgeous tree decorations, look no further: this set of four handmade porcelain would make the perfect addition to any Christmas tree.

The stars are designed by Studio 306, a collective which was set up to help people recover from mental health issues.

ADD dog lead: £20 

If you’re looking for a gift for the dog lovers in your life, this pretty red ombre lead from Koko Collective’s “A Dog’s Dream” collection would be perfect.

Your purchase will go towards employing 15 people in India who would otherwise find it difficult to seek employment.

A hug in a box: £28 

You can give a hug this Christmas even if you’re apart from some people with this thoughtful “hug in a box”.

The box is full of delicious treats like hot chocolate and biscuits, all with their own “social story”.

£40 and over

Helene sports leggings, glitch print: £79

Avoid buying fast fashion this year and give your sporty friend these leggings, which can be used for everything from running to hot yoga or the gym.

They’re also suitable for use in water for those who enjoy surfing and swimming.

They come from Ruby Moon, a company with both a positive environmental and social impact.

Vanna multi sports crop top: £69

Also from Ruby Moon, this comfy crop top is ideal for use in the pool, at the beach or in low-impact sports.

Moyo tote shopper bag: £45

The Moyo tote shopper bag is perfect for carrying books or groceries with internal and external pockets to hold all key items and add a little colour to the everyday

Moyo uses Tanzanian artists to design its products, working with locals who are excited to use their craft skills in order to earn an income.

Rash guard cover up: £75

This beautiful top from Ruby Moon is great as a cover up when the sun goes down or as a swim shirt to protect your skin from the sun.

The cover up is named “Solange” after one of the women entrepreneurs Ruby Moon invested in from Benin in West Africa. It is sustainably made and sourced.

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Support your local vendor

Want to buy a copy of the magazine? We have over 1,200 Big Issue vendors in the UK. Each vendor buys a copy of the mag for £1.50 and sells it for £3, keeping the difference. Visit our interactive map to find your nearest vendor and support them today!

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