If you’ve had enough of the feeding frenzy of Black Friday and instead want some to support local businesses and retailers who are trying to trade in an ethical, mindful way, you’re in the right place. Here at Linenbeauty we like to take things slow, to buy quality pieces that will stand the test of time and to invest in timeless homewares and clothes that aren’t swayed by fast fashion. It’s not always easy to resist the lure of huge markdowns and seemingly endless bargains. But when you take a closer look it makes so much more sense to step back from the Black Friday mayhem and to really think about how you can use your purchase power for good.
So, if you’re steering clear of the malls and multinational retailers’ ever-crashing websites, here’s five ways to avoid Black Friday but still get hold of some beautiful Christmas gifts for your loved ones.
1.Make things yourself
Thanks to Pinterest and numerous brilliant crafting websites it’s so much easier to find inspiration for homemade gifts. Whether you’re a knitter, baker or have never dabbled in crafts at all you can find a project that will be fun and rewarding, as well as cost-effective. Last year we bought a stash of brown paper potato sacks and followed this tutorial to create goodie-bags for extended family. Each family received a pretty yet sturdy bag filled with DIY cookie-making kits, homemade lavender linen spray, luxurious bath salts and rustic bird feeders. Something for every age. And who doesn’t love the idea of rootling about for treasures in a Christmas sack full of gifts made with love?
2.Give a subscription
Rather than add to your loved ones’ clutter, why not give a subscription instead? Many bookshops run subscription schemes where you get sent a certain number of books per month. And you can even gift someone their very own bespoke literary prescription: for her bibliotherapy service Ella Bertoud asks pertinent questions to discover which books will enhance your life and give you maximum enjoyment or challenge, depending on what you’re looking for.
For non-bookish types great subscription gifts could be a subscription to their favourite magazine, membership of their local football club, a gym subscription or, for the wine connoisseur, membership of a wine society.
3.Get a monogrammed set of linen
Because we love linen so much it always features on our own wish-lists, but it is also a beautiful gift to give someone else. To make it super special, get your gift monogrammed so your loved one can lie back on personalised bedlinen, or decorate their dining table with individualised linen napkins. A set of luxe linen bathroom towels with a couple’s initials embroidered on is a lovely present for someone setting up home or who needs a bit of luxury in their life. Linen is so durable and timelessly stylish that a gift like this will be treasured for years, and may become a family heirloom.
4.Go on vacation
Some people decide to not buy gifts at all over the holiday period and instead put the money they’ve saved towards a vacation or special trip. If you want to avoid any Christmas shopping at all and have the urge for adventure, this can be a really special way to celebrate the season. If you want the whole winter wonderland experience, head somewhere snowy like Scandinavia. You could even stay in this stunning ice hotel!
Local, independent retailers are worth supporting, and this time of year is often their main source of revenue. Support your home town and small businesses by buying locally. You’ll also avoid all the queues and crowds at the out-of-town shopping centres and malls. Done this way Christmas shopping can even be a pleasurable experience! Many towns have a late night shopping evening at the beginning of December, with shops offering drinks and refreshments and often some discounts. Make an evening of it and nail all your shopping in one go, fuelled by mince pies and mulled wine!
One of the things we love about linen is its durability. There’s a reason why linens have traditionally been passed down through generations: quite simply, it looks great for years and years. But every linen sheet or tablecloth will eventually come to the end of its life. If you’re trying to follow a sustainable lifestyle you’ll be glad to know that linen is biodegradable and so leaves no waste. And if you keep old linens for scraps, you can create anything from cleaning cloths to easy Halloween DIY crafts.
There’s no need to buy loads of plastic tat to decorate your house over Halloween (unless that’s your thing, in which case go for it). Instead, you can have fun making your own seasonal decorations, and keep things looking classy too.
Here are some ideas for Halloween decorations and costumes that you can make from any household linens that are past their best.
We are so delighted to be joined this month by the lovely Jessica Cresswell. Jessica, her husband and young daughter live and work in a woodland. In between tending her hens and looking after the woodland (which is surprisingly time-consuming) Jessica writes a blog, The Woodland Wife, and takes stunning photographs of her everyday life.
The lush forest trees are not the only greenery here – our faces are green with envy at her simple, outdoorsy lifestyle. But it’s not all idyllic, and Jessica and her husband have made big sacrifices to attain a slower, off-the-beaten-track way of life. It’s wild in the woods, in the best sense of the word.
Here are Jessica’s thoughts on taking inspiration from the rhythms of nature, parenting, slow living, keeping on asking questions and how to be mindful when you are feeling anxious. Enjoy – this is a goodie!
The slow living movement can seem rather monocultural, and many people are put off sustainable options like ethical clothing or green beauty products due to their price tag. It’s important that the message of living responsibly and minimising our impact on the environment is not just heard within its own echo chamber, or amongst those on higher incomes. Which is why we were delighted to find Cindy Luquin and her blog, Cultura con Wellness, where she talks about her efforts to empower the Latino community and people of colour through her intentionally conscious lifestyle. And we were even more thrilled when Cindy agreed to feature on A Simple Path.
So take a moment to yourself, sit back and enjoy Cindy’s thoughts on wellness, balance and how a major health trauma forced her to reevaluate her life.
Many of us strive to slow down and lead simpler, slower lives but just don’t know where to start. Do you ever feel overwhelmed by things-to-do, work, family and all the other things that can trap us into what feels like an endlessly revolving door? Do you browse social media or magazines and end up feeling envy at other people’s seemingly perfect homes or holidays or relationships? Sometimes we need a bit of help to bring ourselves back to what really matters. These 6 books will do just that. From ways to radically change your life to simple steps towards feeling freer and happier, these books have something for everyone seeking to live better, with less.
1.For a major life-overhaul