If you're in the market for a more ethical way to part with your pounds, here are a few ideas to help you feel better about buying into the seasonal spending spree.
Why not invest in a Wedge Card? Their motto is "Think local. Shop local." For just £20 you get the satisfaction of knowing you're supporting local businesses, yet the bonus of a whole range of discounts and special offers that sweeten the deal. Each card is good for a year, and with an ever-growing network of shops and services from all over London, it's a gift that keeps on giving.
If you find yourself hosting a party this year, consider stocking up at an organic farmer's market. Not only are you helping to support local farmers, (and avoiding any nasty pesticides or artificial hormones), but they often have unique products that you won't find anywhere else. For example: free range meats, gorgeous artesian breads, farm-fresh produce and a variety of specialist products.
Borough Market and Spitalfields are also renowned for fresh produce and specialty products - or try a market nearer to your neck of the woods. Be warned, however - those feta-stuffed olives may not make it all the way home!
Need a gift for the person who has everything? What about a goat? Or perhaps some chickens? For the price of a bottle of wine, you can help organisations like Oxfam or GoodGifts put your charitable donation to work, combating poverty in underdeveloped countries, spreading peace in the Middle East, or mentoring children at home. You feel good, they feel good, and the best part is, you don't even have to queue at a till.