Christmas can be a stressful time: complicated meals, family dramas, office parties. And that’s without the Christmas shopping. If the thought of bracing yourself for the massive crowds on the high street fills you with that sense of annual dread, maybe now’s a good time for a palate-cleanser.
The Choose Love store is returning to Soho this year to bring some hope to refugees around the world. The concept is delightfully simple: in between splashing your hard-earned cash on unwanted novelty socks, unreadable novels and toxic perfume for your beloved friends and family, you pop into Choose Love and purchase basic items – food, tents, hygiene products and other things that could make a real difference to someone’s life – for a refugee. Then you leave the shop with nothing but a warm fuzzy feeling (and absolutely nothing to wrap up either).
Every purchase made in the pop-up store or via Choose Love’s website goes towards a similar item for a refugee, and is delivered via one of over 80 projects that the humanitarian aid organisation works with worldwide. From emergency blankets, warm gloves, solar lamps and sleeping bags to legal aid, support for vulnerable women and accommodation for an entire family, gifts range from £4.99 to £499.
‘Last Christmas, the shop became a beacon of compassion in the heart of central London,’ says Josie Naughton, CEO of Help Refugees. ‘Choose Love helped people from all walks of life feel empathy for refugees, and do something practical to help. This year, as displaced people attempt to survive another freezing winter in tents and makeshift shelters, we’ll be inviting people to Choose Love once again and support refugees and homeless populations across the globe.’
Choose Love will also be opening a festive pop-up shop in New York this winter. Not able to get to either store? Visit the Choose Love website to read about the people you’ll help and shop online. Then remind yourself that this is the season of peace and love next time you feel a ‘Bah humbug’ coming on.
Choose Love is at 30-32 Fouberts Place from Fri Nov 23.
Feeling super-festive? Check out our guide to Christmas in London.