COMMENT: We have the power to make a difference

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There’s so much to think about at this time of year – and buying the Christmas presents is just the start of it.

The cupboards have to be stocked up for guests, menus need to be planned, and then there’s the outfit to sort for the Christmas do. For most of us, there never seems to be enough time in the day, so the ethics of where we do our shopping is not always at the front of our mind.

And, for many of us, let’s be honest, whatever Chris Evans says is not going to change our mind. If we were being kind, we might describe the brash TV presenter as a “Marmite” character. He certainly seems to annoy at least as many people as he amuses. But, in this case at least, he has a point. We do have the power to make a difference by choosing where we do our shopping, especially at this time of year when we tend to spend so much extra.

Given a bottomless budget and all the time in the world, all of us would choose to buy from the local independent stores instead of the big corporate chains every, or almost every, time. We know that independent shops are more likely to offer us that unique present we are looking for or that foodie treat that will impress our festive guests. We know too that the money we spend with local traders is more likely to stay in the community and support local jobs. Shopping at a social enterprise like the Social Bite cafes will do even more good.

But the reality is that Amazon online deliveries and shopping at the big supermarkets make everything so convenient. Using them is not simply being lazy, sometimes it is the only way that we can cover all the bases. It is true that sometimes shopping ethically can be more time-consuming and expensive, but that’s not always the case. There are bargains too.

Most of us will never make the “right” choice every time, but we might sometimes. And, when we do, that will only add to the joy of Christmas.