I know we’ve not yet seen the back of Black Friday, but it’s exactly around this time that the rising panic of Christmas starts to creep in. What with out-doing last year’s decorations; the endless list-making; second-guessing how much gift wrap to buy; and what weight turkey to order, the stress only ever seems to heighten. So this year, I’ve decided to put the brakes on by adopting the Japanese philosophy ‘ikigai’ – a concept from the culture of Okinawa which, roughly translated, means ‘reason for being’.
Living one’s ikigai brings meaning to life.
By taking the time to pause and consider what’s most important – for me it’s personal connection, giving back to friends and family and thanking them for their unwavering support – I’ve found myself in a far better mindset when it comes to gift giving. Rather than taking my usual approach – minesweeping whatever’s left in Brixton Village come Christmas Eve and then wrapping like a woman possessed – I’m making a concerted effort to seek out more mindful gestures ahead of time.
Rather than minesweeping whatever’s left in Brixton Village come Christmas Eve and then wrapping like a woman possessed - I’m making a concerted effort to seek out more mindful gestures ahead of time
And for those of you in need of a little quiet inspiration, here’s our ikigai-inspired get-ahead guide to a Slow Christmas…
Small business Saturday takes place on 1st December and not only is this a great way to show your support to all the wonderful independents out there, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to seek out more personal one-of-a-kind gifts. Nothing makes us happier than championing some of our smaller craft brands, passing on the stories about the people who’ve toiled for hours to create something beautiful, and knowing the homes to which they go.
A few of our favourite craft brands include:
Knitting is a family tradition in Liadain Aiken’s family, with each generation passing down skills to the next. Embracing a slow and considered approach, Liadain creates each hat in eight stages. From knitting to linking, washing to ironing, hand sewing to pompom making, each step performed with great love and attention to detail. The merino wool is traditionally spun and dyed in Donegal, Ireland.
Blästa Henriët is designed by the lovely Lo – a native Swede now living in London. Inspired by her Scandi roots she’s combined her love of linen, print design and craftsmanship to create her beautifully pared back collection of therapeutic wheat bags and eye pillows. Lo makes each piece by hand in her London studio using naturally hypoallergenic linen that softens with every use. The linen is Oeko-Tex Certified, the wheat is grown on a farm in Lancashire and the packaging is FSC-certified, made in the UK from renewable resources.
Nothing makes us happier than championing some of our smaller craft brands, passing on the stories about the people who’ve toiled for hours to create something beautiful, and knowing the homes to which they go.
Screen printer by trade, Emma Tilbury-Barrow is a proficient designer, painter, sculptor and jewellery maker. Collecting shells, stones and wood to inform her work, Emma takes inspiration from natural forms yet at the same time brings a distinctive graphic element to each piece. Each pair of TFH earrings are made using rolled out polymer clay, which is then baked in Emma’s kitchen oven. You can’t get much more cottage-industry than that, and the reason we love her so.
Make It Plastic Free
At a time when we are drowning in plastic-lined wrapping paper, plastic tinsel, plastic decorations, food packaging and, of course, the gifts themselves, the overuse of non-biodegradable and non-recyclable material at Christmas makes the festive season seem a little less joyful.
The good news is there are some excellent Christmas alternatives out there…
On a mission is to reduce the waste generated on earth by providing affordable, quality, zero-waste products, this bamboo cutlery set is the sustainable, plastic-free solution to single-use cutlery when eating on-the-go. A subtle gift for someone you’d like to nudge down the sustainable road!
Our wonderful Danish brand creates meaningful and tasteful all purpose bags from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton. These little beauties were brought to life in order to minimise the use of disposable bags, and make for the ideal companion when doing the food shop around Christmas time.
And why not creative with your present wrapping, either by making your own festive gift-wrap using timeless Kraft paper, a few festive woodblock stamps, some non-toxic paint, and a twig of Holly to complete the personal touch.
Alternatively, let THE COMPLETIST take care of the hardwork, with their gorgeous vibrant wrapping paper in premium uncoated paper and co-ordinating Christmas cards, complete with kraft envelopes and a recyclable kraft box.
Time Out for Yourself
It’s around this time of year that we often hear customers comment on how guilty they feel about meerely laying eyes on the things they might want for themselves. But, when life is so frenetic and there’s barely time to draw breath, this is perhaps THE most important time to give something back to yourself. Here’s what we’d suggest to help you wind down for some guilt-free self-care and attention…
The MOA range includes the use of Yarrow for its healing and restorative properties which soothe, cleanse, moisturise, tone and energise. The therapeutic scents, herbal extracts and botanical oils used in all products have a nurturing effect on mind, body and spirit. We particularly love the Daily Cleansing Ritual
Skandinavisk candles capture the warmth and cosiness at the heart of the Scandinavian lifestyle. And while you may not be lucky enough to have an open fireplace in your home, the fragrant Flamma candle perfectly captures the comforting warmth of the hearth, with it’s flame reminiscent of fireside glow.
The magnetic pull of the hearth, the smokey notes of burning logs, of golden resin oozing from the pine, and the glow of faces mesmerised by the flames.
Add the personal touch by making your own Christmas gifts. Come along to our festive Kimichi workshop and learn how to make your own seasonal ferments. The ideal, inexpensive gift to give fellow family members.
Alternatively, join us at The Department Store on the 18th December for our Wrap Party, where we’ll provide you with all the tools you need to stamp your very own sustainable gift wrap (plus we’ll also ply you with plenty of Prosecco as we all know Santa loves a drink or two). Details to follow, so keep your eyes peeled on our newsletter.