Loving... Recycled presents
The practise of recycling presents has probably been going since the time gifts began (who knows? Maybe the wise men were regifting that frankincense and myrrh) but with this year's financial constraints millions more Britons may resort to passing on unwanted gifts to their unsuspecting recipients. According to a creditexpert.co.uk survey, almost half of those who took part admitted they will pass on anything they weren't enamoured with. But why not be slightly more literal when deciding what to give this year? For the children: planettrash.co.uk, a website specialising in recycled gifts, have beautiful toy cars made from tin cans (the Schweppes tonic water label is still visible on the roof!) for £5. At nigelsecostore.com they have stunning wine glasses fashioned from the iconic thick, green glass of Grolsch bottles, which will make the perfect gift for any adult.
The sad demise of MFI, one of the pioneers of home delivery and the now eponymous flat-pack, is not being nostalgically mourned by the customers who might not receive goods they have already paid for. Though MFI has promised customers a full refund or their original delivery, it's unlikely to make them feel better in these uncertain times. It was a relief to hear, then, that Wickes will deliver bathrooms previously only available through MFI. Frankly it isn't as ideal as it sounds – customers must pay Wickes separately. But it is making some concessions: if you can't obtain an immediate refund, Wickes is prepared to come to a credit agreement whereby you won't have to pay until you have received your original refund from MFI.
Buying... Christmas trees
They may obscure what light remains in your living room during these dark months and make vacuuming a daily task, but without being too pre-emptive it will be Christmas in less than a month. The time to find some festive forestry is nigh. The natural variety are infinitely more attractive and the majority, which are commercially farmed, are felled from a renewable source – for every tree that is cut down, two more are planted. This is, of course, debated by artificial tree manufacturers who claim the carbon emissions caused by cutting down and transporting the trees negates the fact they are biodegradable. But then, plastic trees aren't quite as biodegradable and they have to be transported too. The forestry commission ( forestry.gov.uk ) has a list of sustainable Christmas tree suppliers across the UK available on their website. They start from £22.