2020 has been a tough year for people and business across the world. The pandemic has impacted our lives in many ways and no sector has been left untouched by the knock-on effects of COVID-19. With this in mind, there has never been a better time to support your favourite local businesses.
Here in Scotland, there are so many brilliant indie creatives and makers out there that we are spoilt for choice when it comes to Christmas gifting. What’s better is that a lot of those businesses are social enterprises who work to give back to our communities – and support those who need it most.
Luckily for all of us Christmas shoppers out there, Buy Social Scotland have curated a handy gift directory which is jam-packed with an array of brilliant companies who use their business as a force for good. Each business listed in the directory commits to reinvesting its profits to address key social and environmental issues in our communities. Within this handy guide, you’ll find a collection of ethical gifts that make a difference – each in their own unique ways.
In addition to some fantastic ethical products, there’s also a whole range of experiences, courses and gift vouchers on offer. I recently browsed through Social Scotland’s fantastic directory and hand-selected a few of my favourite products and experiences. So if you’re on the lookout for the perfect pressie for someone special, why not take a look below and check out some brilliant gifts that give back.
Brewgooder ‘Panto in a Box’
I’ve been a big fan of Brewgooder’s work for quite awhile now. Time after time, they just seem to hit the nail on the head with their brilliant product releases – and their latest festive launch was no different. Meet ‘Panto in a Box’.
Can’t get to your favourite panto this year? Why not let Brewgooder bring the Panto to you? ‘Panto in a Box’ is a selection pack which features beer from Brewgooder, The Wild Beer Co, Mondo Brewing and The Gipsy Hill Brewing Company. And since no trip to the Panto would be complete without half-time snacks, the box also includes treats from Love Popcorn and Tony’s Chocolonely (another one of my favourite, ethical brands – that packaging!).
With Brewgooder’s ‘Panto in a box’, beer lovers are invited to watch an exclusive online performance of an original pantomime, ‘Jack & The Beer Hops’, written by award-winning Scottish author and playwright Johnny McKnight.
2020 has been a tough year for the events industry, with live gigs, comedy shows and theatre performances coming to a halt as a result of COVID-19. This has had an immeasurable impact on the brilliant people who make our favourite events happen. With this in mind, proceeds from Brewgooder’s “Panto in a Box’ will support The Theatre Artists Fund which has been set up to provide emergency support to theatre artists and those who work in theatre production roles in the UK.
I first discovered Locavore through their veg boxes- which feature fresh, organic produce grown at their allotment as well as coffee from the Dear Green (another fantastic, ethical company). Locavore is a brilliant social enterprise that works to deliver better, local food systems. They also teach Glaswegians how to grow organic veg and run the Good Food Fund where the team provides fresh food for local people in food poverty. In addition to these boxes and their edible offerings, Locavore’s resident florist Kim has been busy creating some gorgeous wreaths using materials and decorations which have been foraged locally. How beautiful? Why not check them out and find out more about Locavore’s mission here.
Vanilla Ink Studios
One of my big goals for 2021 is to spend less of my free-time on my computer, try some non-digital hobbies and wave goodbye to those ridiculous screen-time stats for good. If, like me, you’re looking for some new activities, Vanilla Ink Studios’ classes could be just what you need. With their range of excellent classes, you can try your hand at enamel and silver jewellery creation, jewellery repair, sand casting, silver clay, stone setting, wax carving and much more.Their jewellery school is a space for learning, sharing and supporting. With education at its core, they aim to teach traditional and contemporary skills, aimed at the absolute beginner to the established jeweller. Why not try your hand at learning something new in 2021!
Speaking of learning skills, Eco Art also offering a great lineup of sustainable, zero-waste classes for anyone who’s looking to live a little greener in 2021. Eco-art offers a whole host of upcycling, sustainable workshops to help you make eco alternatives to everyday items in a fun way. So whether you’re looking to bring new life to some old furniture or create a one-off gift for a loved on, Eco Art’s online and in-person classes could be right up your street!
Social Bite Brownie Boxes
Social Bite is a social business on a mission to build a collaborative movement to end homelessness in Scotland. I’m a huge fan of Social Bite’s work and fundraising events from their ‘Big Sleepouts’ to their annual Christmas dinner donation campaigns. And this year, the organisation has brought something a little different (and delicious) to the table – their Festive Brownie Boxes. The box contains a selection of handmade, indulgent Coconut dream, Biscoff Cherry, Amaretto, and Strawberry Crunch brownies. Each box is beautifully packaged and comes with a little bit of information about Social Bite and their mission. 100% of profits from the brownie boxes go towards social causes in Scotland and throughout the world.
Wld and Kind Studio
Over the years, Glasgow based Wild and Kind studio have printed some pretty epic merch – and their ethical merch boxes are the gift that keeps on giving! Each goodie box is filled with locally made prints, garments, badges and more. You can choose to order a box as a one off treat or subscribe to receive a goodie box as regularly as you like from £19 per month. All profits raised from the boxes go directly to artists and supporting Wild and Kind’s social aims of tackling loneliness and isolation faced by those in marginalised gender groups. Why not check out their box for more info.
The Blank Faces Shirts
The Blankfaces, is the UK’s first fashion label aimed at ending homelessness. Each of their designs is inspired or created by a homeless person and this inspiration forms the backbone of their range. This particular design was the first print launched by the label. It was created by a friend and artist of the label who had experienced being homeless. He flipped the city’s infamous ‘People Make Glasgow’ sign on its head and changed it forever. They give a percentage of every product sold directly back to the homeless participant who has shared their story and gives 100% of profits to the homeless community. Why not take a look at their designs.
One for the Star Baker
It’s safe to say that lockdown has created a whole new wave of baking enthusiasts, from banana bread to sourdough, there’s a good chance that someone you love has tried their hand at whipping up the goods. Luckily for them, Breadshare have put this bread kit together to help you become a successful home baker, making baking fails a thing of the past. The kit includes: a banneton – to hold you loaf while it proves, a thermometer – to ensure you have the correct temperature for making and cooking bread, a bakers ‘scraper’ – for every possible use and a razor ‘lame’/knife – for getting that slash on your loaf just right.
In addition to this, you’ll also receive a breadshare bag for keeping your creations fresh as well as a recipe card and sourdough starter to give you a head start. So if you know someone who loves a good sourdough – or fancy trying your hand at the tastiest lockdown trend, check out Breadshare for all your baking needs. Ready, set, bake!
A hug in a Box
As the chilly, dark nights draw in, there’s nothing better than cosying up on the couch with a hot drink and a treat or two. ‘The Winter Warmer’ gift box is designed for just that. It is the perfect gift for someone who deserves a cosy, christmas pick me up. The box by Social Stories Club includes a whole host of luxurious treats from Chocolate and Love Sea Salt & Caramel chocolate to aDalit Handmade Lavender Candle and a Cafe Direct Hot Chocolate.
Social Stories Club is a speciality gifting company, on a mission to introduce you to a world of delicious social ventures. They hand select amazing, ethical products, each with a unique story of social impact. To find out more about their luxury treat hampers, click right here.
Let the festivities be-Gin…
For the past five years, Edinburgh Food Social has shared their passion for local, sustainable food. And this year, EFS have curated the perfect gift for the Gin lover in your life. Their Winter Gin Hamper features a bottle of their very own Winter gin, a lineup of mixers from Edinburgh based Bon Accord, a homemade Elderberry Cordial and a packet of their handmade Gran’s Ginger Biscuits.
Edinburgh Food Social’s mission is to make local food more accessible in Scotland, working with schools and communities to develop cooking skills and linking up community produce growing projects. You can find out more about their mission here.
If you’re on the lookout for some extra special gifts for your loved ones this festive season, why not check out Buy Social Scotland’s fab gift directory and support some brilliant indie businesses that give back.