I love Christmas. Everyone always moans when the cards and seasonal gift sets start edging their way into shops in August but not me. It leaves me feeling toasty inside wondering if it’s still too early to break out the Christmas jumpers. I love the 3 month build up. Though if you would like some relief from the inevitable Christmas songs on constant repeat then you’re safe in our shop, we have the sound of whales to keep you sane. Christmas is amazing. It’s so colourful and exciting, with the special smells (of which we have of course captured in some seasonal incense) and bright lights but the thing I love most is the fact that it is muscle achingly shattering.
As a fan of Shared Earth, I have no doubt you have bought things from us using the line "oh that would be perfect for Mary” or "I have to get that for John” and it’s because our gifts are just unique compared to other high street brands. Our shops are manic but amazingly so. I guarantee we have the perfect gift for at the very least one person you know and 1000s of people loyally come back to us each Christmas for this reason but oh it’s tiring trying to keep up with you all. Demand is high and we’re a small team.
I love the feeling when I get home and collapse on the sofa and fall asleep in the middle of my spaghetti bolognaise, it gives me that same toasty feeling of knowing I have worked really hard to make someone else’s life better. I love rushing around, trying to make my way down the 30ft of my shop avoiding the narrow aisles, prams, precariously left shopping bags and of course, our loyal customers. You will see my staff ducking and diving, sucking themselves into unnatural shapes to avoid disrupting anyone in their path and we will do it 100 times a day. We will try our best to keep our shelves fully stocked and tidy to make it easier for you to browse but if you want something in particular then don’t hesitate to stop us, even when we look busy, we have all the time in the world to help because helping someone find that perfect gift actually is a pretty good feeling. Add in the fact that any present bought here greatly aids the lives of our producers abroad and it positively leaves us glowing. One of the reasons why shopping Fair Trade is important: not just at Christmas but any time of year.
I am so lucky in my shop. I have an amazing team of volunteers and paid staff who work tirelessly to get the products on the shelf, into your basket and through the tills. I am always so grateful when someone cheerily walks through the door and says ‘hey, I’m free for a few hours, need some help?’ because inevitably I do. The kindness of volunteers will never cease to surprise and amaze me. Unless you have worked in a retail shop at Christmas it’s hard to convey how utterly physically and mentally tiring it can be and they do it for people they will never meet, One volunteer would even like to do a 9-8 shift with me! Normally around December 18th I think ‘why do I do this to myself every year’ but then when we close the shop on Christmas eve, the shops half empty of stock, there’s half drunk cups of tea lying around (which I know I should’ve washed up) and I know we have made enough money to keep going, I think ‘I know why.. I love it’
Merry Christmas Everyone x
Jen (Retail Manager)