For today’s entry in our 12 Days of Christmas series, we speak with Jane, founder of Blue Patch.
Blue Patch is a vital source for those in search of sustainable products and services. Everything from handcrafted designer furniture to vegan chocolate can be found on the site, so it’s definitely worth a look.
We spoke to Jane about not cooking Christmas dinner, the importance of buying ethically and locally and the mysterious treasures she would put in a metaphysical advent calendar.
What's the first thing you are planning to do this Christmas?
The first thing I’m going to do is to have a lie in. It’s going to be a day off this year, because our young people are making the Christmas meal - I know, it’s amazing; we’re all in shock and we’re banned from the kitchen – we share Christmas Day with friends – hence we’re in the lucky position of having students cooking the feast!
Have you put any requests in?
No, it’s completely up to them. They have three dishes they like to cook, fried kale and garlic, butternut squash curry and pea and mint soup. We’re giving them free rein.
If you had to create a reverse advent calendar, what would you put in yours and who would you give it to?
I couldn’t do a generic one. I’d choose to create a metaphysical ‘oddball’ for my daughter Holly, she turns 21 on Christmas Eve, so this is for her!
Number 1 - Behind the first door would be a nest of sparrows – because I’d like to encourage them back to London gardens.
Number 2 - A key. To open your door and welcome others.
Number 3 - A conundrum. You open the door and you get a small box, when you open it, there’s another box, and inside you discover yet another – embrace uncertainty.
Number 4 - A magnifying glass so you can look ‘beneath the surface’. Holly and I went to a talk at the Science Museum by James Lovelock in 2014. He created the Gaia Hypothesis. We asked him for his advice for young people and he said ‘be curious’.
Number 5 - A pocket of air. This box contains ‘the global switch’ to convert everyone to using renewable energy – It’s the least we can do for the next generation.
Number 6 - A smile, a priceless way to light up daily life. Share freely!
Number 7 - Frogspawn in a jam jar. Representing nature, which is both a comfort and a teacher. In the age of technology nature can be distant - I’d like all young people to have their frogspawn moment.
Number 8 - A ray of sunshine. Give yourself time away from work to enjoy fresh air in 2018.
Number 9 - Déjà vu. I hope scent, like the smell of roses, taps into lovely memories.
Number 10 - One of Holly’s late Grandfather’s jokes. Apart from his photographic memory of WW2, dad also told endless jokes. Holly and her Grandfather were two of a kind, she’ll hopefully always remember that twinkle in his eye.
Number 11 - A snowflake. A symbol of delicacy and the fine balance of the eco-system. My feeling of hope in the next generation.
Number 12 - Finally, a monkey. This is to restore us to ‘sentient’ creatures and to protect biodiversity. It’s also a signal that humans have - bearing point 11 in mind - the capacity to create a more equal, sustainable and kind world. Maybe I will slip a few chocolates in this advent calendar as well - and fruit for the monkey.
What does Guilt Free Giving mean to you?
Despite my advent calendar, I do believe it’s important to shop. Really important for the economy. Guilt free giving is buying products made by people who are fairly paid and use ethical supply chains. We recently published a blog on ethical giving – so you can also give through supporting others – for instance gifting shares in solar energy.
I think it’s much better, and really valuable to give something like a beautiful bar of The Soap Co. soap which smells delicious however it’s not just a luxury product, it’s also enabling vulnerable people to work in a safe environment too.
The more you can buy from independent and social impact businesses the better - you’re not only getting wonderful things but you’re putting money back into the economy – trading locally is the glue that keeps communities connected. Giving something simple and high quality with a good story attached is guilt free giving!
Thank you Jane for being our guest and talented illustrator!
From handmade gifts to ditching Amazon we love Karen’s brutal honesty in what an ethical Christmas could look like. It's not too late to make a change!