With his children now grown up, and the urgency of the climate crisis clearer than ever, he’s decided to do Christmas differently this year – turning his back on the culture of festive overconsumption for a more sustainable celebration.
“I’m avoiding Amazon completely as I have concerns about their sustainability. I’ve decided as much as possible not to buy my six children or my wife ‘things’ but instead buy something that will do positive things for the environment or people,” he explains.
Smith is one of a growing number of people who feel that the overconsumption normalised at Christmas has become incompatible with our climate emergency.
As many young children are today, both are conscious of the climate crisis, and Hastie feels her own duty to make sure the planet is habitable for them in the future.
“They’re certainly not going to thank me if the worst effects of climate change come into effect,” she says.
Holly Melton from Frome, Somerset, is preparing for a similar Christmas in her home.
She used to buy secondhand presents out of a lack of disposable income, but now shops this way on behalf of the planet – with “Christmas having become a symbol of overconsumption”, she says.
Throughout the year, Melton saves local newspapers and recycles them into wrapping paper, while all decorations are re-used, giving them “much more meaning to the family”.
Hastie similarly avoids wrapping paper, putting presents in pillowcases tied up with ribbon. Palm-oil-filled chocolate is avoided, and food is bought carefully to ensure that any leftovers can be frozen and eaten at a later date.
When most people think about the Big Issue, they think of vendors selling the Big Issue magazines on the streets – and we are immensely proud of this. In 2022 alone, we worked with 10% more vendors and these vendors earned £3.76 million in collective income. There is much more to the work we do at the Big Issue Group, our mission is to create innovative solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunity for the 14million people in the UK living in poverty.