Now we all know that Christmas is a time of celebration, abundance, and often gluttony – but how often do we think of the environmental impact of our actions? The endless mince pie boxes, the empty champagne packaging, the discarded wrapping paper, the presents no one really needs... There is a way to mitigate the impact of our consumer culture with the use of some clever online tools, and with the help of them you can say welcome to an entirely paperless Christmas. One that will put your karmic bank balance back firmly in the black.
Oh how we could wax lyrical from here to kingdom come on the sheer genius that is Paperless Post. The designs are first rate, the range is endless, and you can even keep track of who has actually read your card – very handy for getting an insight into who your friends truly are.
We couldn’t quite believe our eyes when we stumbled across Paperless Christmas; it’s just the sweetest homage, not only to the nativity but to the whole enduring ethos of more environmentally led festivities. We’re particularly impressed by the paperless Christmas card facility that sends the sweetest greetings via email for the knockdown price of absolutely nothing – if you’re on a budget it’s a brilliant alternative to Paperless Post.
THE HOW TO ACADEMY
What better way to eschew the moral dilemma of sustainability in your gift giving than by offering your loved ones a course that will radically alter the way they think? The How To Academy's ‘compact courses for people who think big’ cover all manner of topics, from writing erotic fiction right through to making lampshades. There’s even a bluffer’s guide to politics – now don’t you feel clever?
If lectures aren’t quite your thing and you’d like a more one-on-one experience in the mission to learn a new skill, then Indytute should be your first port of call. It’s the downloadable gift vouchers where the site really excels during the holiday season, offering seriously altruistic gifts from learning how to bowl to playing the blues guitar. You can also become a paper engineer, and there are even couples classes for a really romantic Christmas.
As the name implies, there's a huge variety of e-cards at this domain - but what makes them stand out? The fact that they’re full of witty banter
. Yes if you’re sick of the usual nativity scene, or drifting swathes of snow then this is the site you need to peruse.
L’ATELIER DES CHEFS
Have you thought of giving a pre Christmas gift in the form of a cookery voucher
? There’s quite some joy to be had for the novice chef in the Atelier des Chef’s cookery classes covering everything from knife skills and rustling up an incredible main course in just thirty minutes right through to masterclasses for the more accomplished. Didn't see that coming did you?
Now you probably think we’re being twee (not to mention stating the obvious) but have you considered charitable giving as the ultimate present? Yes there’s a myriad of ways to give and Oxfam is probably the most obvious, but we’re highlighting it here for its Oxfam Unwrapped Initiative which includes a vast range of gifts that come with free delivery, e-cards and the ability to personalise at check out with your own message.
Last but certainly not least, if you're intent on spending on all manner of luxury goods, wouldn’t it make you feel (even slightly better) to know the exact provenance of your wish list? At Positive Luxury you can gain a pretty radical insight into the corporate responsibility of the brands we assume to be whiter than white. Are they really? And will it change the way you shop for those all-important gifts?