Updated: Dec 9, 2020
As the dawn of Christmas swarms upon us, with all its lights, jolliness and festivity, we are solemnly reminded that for many, and dare I say, for most of us, that Christmas will not only not be the same in this historical 2020, but will be yet another reminder of all that once was, is different, of family so close yet unreachable and of money that is no longer tucked away in ones coffers. Not only are there no Christmas bonus, but for many there have been no paychecks for quite some time and for everyone, a very real worry that there is little job security in the foreseeable 2021. With most people missing their loved ones, dear family and friends, many miles away and hiding out in their own houses, it may feel hard to be smiling as we deck the halls with boughs of holly.
On that note, it is not all dismal and grey! Covid 19 has taken away a lot but given us much too. A change to society that has not been all together bad. An appreciation for ones neighbour. A friendly smile, whenever someone is not wearing a mask! A return to nature. And a closeness in the smaller family networks. These are just a few of the positives we are taking away from this ‘strange’ year.
So, this Christmas, rather than rushing to buy the next quick fix, cheaply made fast fashion, more plastic toys mass produced in China, all from Amazon and other multimillion dollar online platforms, why not support your local community, whether that’s your country or literally your own town, village, school, church or charity. An abundance of little businesses have sprung up in this wretched year, bringing so much joy, colours and variety to our senses, from homemade sweets, hair bands, delivery services, webinars, online courses, new novels and books, and so much more.
So here’s a list of my top ten favoured Christmas gifts that will be filling my stockings and lying under my tree this Christmas, all locally bought and many locally made:
1) Vegan4Life basket of goodies.
I love this shop and really want to support what they do, especially at a time when the environment really needs to be taken into consideration with all our purchase and especially food choices. So, what better than a sustainable hamper of yumminess chosen by yourself and arranged in a nicely decorated box, from wholegrain pastas, chocolates, sauces and jams, lentils, cereals and more.
2) ) Wine always makes a great Christmas present and never fails to be a useful gift at Christmas. We have so many beautiful wines in Cyprus, and more and more are organic with some certified vegan (not all are certified due to the expense and sometimes paperwork involved). One of my local favourite suppliers is Vinologie, based in Nicosia but which delivers across the island, www.vinologie.com.cy. They sell a wide selection of wines, with Tsiakkas having a rose which is certified vegan, plus lots of others which are bio and vegan even though not certified. You can call them directly to ask for advise and help. Should you wish to venture further afield, while still supporting small family run businesses, then look no further than Chateau Sainte Margeurite Cuvee Symphonie Vegan Rose wine sold at French Depot here in Cyprus, https://www.frenchdepotshop.com.cy/. Not only is this wine absolutely delicious, it’s quite a treat as it’s not found in all restaurants or places, and it’s priced at €35 so is quite a special bottle. It’s organic, vegan and housed in a beautiful bottle so is impressive all round.
3) Alkionides Charity Raffle Tickets.
This wonderful charity does so much good for local families in need and raises most of its yearly income from its annual Christmas fair which, due to the restrictions, it cannot do this year. They have devised a small way to try to raise some money to help them keep helping so many. For just €2 a ticket or €50 for the block, you can buy these raffle tickets and give this lucky draw to so many friends and even your kids friends in a Christmas Card. It’s the thought that counts and definitely will be more appreciated than some so many other usually plastic gifts we find ourselves buying in haste.
4) Serenity Spa at St Raphael Resort vouchers
These can be used indefinitely (or at least over the next twelve months) so what better gift than that of an experience to look forward to! Everyone loves a bit of pampering and all the products in this spa are either certified vegan or vegan friendly.
5) A vegan Christmas cake or Nut Spreads from Healthy Delicious.
A local couple have this delightful range of vegan and gluten free nut bars, spreads, cookies and cakes. I couldn’t think of anything nicer than to help the Christmas spirit than a selection of these on my coffee table, although they never last long!
6) A voucher for a vegan meal at Sailor’s Rest Lounge Bar Restaurant
With vouchers available to buy online and starting from as little as €20, this is the perfect gift to arrange from the comfort of your own home and know you are supporting local businesses and their team.
7) Jules Dort, Mamie Tricote http://www.julesdortmamietricote.com, locally made by a one-woman-business, this entrepreneur has turned beautiful Liberty fabrics into double sided face masks, girls hairbands, bloomers, accessories and more. An ideal gift to support a local small business.
8) Marina Rafael and her artwork, simply beautiful, creative and fun pieces in the form of children’s paintings, oils on canvas and remodeled furniture. Check out her website for more…. One of my all time favourite gifts for any occasion as she can personalize everything! http://www.msrafael.com/
9) A recently launched business aiming to save supermarket food waste, Rescued Box is an amazing initiative which collects unwanted fruits and vegetables, boxes them up, and forwards them on to anyone who will have them. Super cheap and perfect fruit-n-veg that perhaps isn’t the right shape, can be delivered weekly. So why not gift it the one time, or even for longer, and give someone that weekly reminder that you care. https://rescuedbox.com/
10) Finally, and this costs nothing, it’s a call to your loved ones all over the world. If they have the means of video calls then even better, if you have the time to buy a UNICEF Christmas card and send it, then even better. Don’t forget to show all your loved ones just how much they are missed and appreciated.
I hope the above list has given some food for thought during round two of lockdown for so many. I would LOVE to hear more ideas from you all so keep the comments, messages and ideas coming in! Be strong everyone, stay positive and safe and eat healthy!