1. A tree. A real “guilt free” tree means the Woodland Trust. Dedicate a tree for just £15 in one of the Trusts woods around the country, nice for a Boxing Day visit. Or for the young how about membership of the Wildlife Detectives: go to: www.woodland-trust.org.uk
2. Christmas Fizz: Christmas means a bit of sparkling wine so how about the new Co-operative Fairtrade Cape Sparkling Brut at only £7.99, comes from the Du Toitskloof wine co-operative in South Africa’s Western Cape. Available from selected Co-op shops.
3. A Drop of the Hard Stuff: If you are a near a Waitrose or Sainsbury’s (I would not usually recommend it except) they are selling Havana Club Anejo Especial Rum 70cl at £13.99. Three pounds off the normal price and with the credit crunch we all need to save a few pennies.
4. Christmas Pudding: Fairtrade and Organic Christmas pudding produced by the village bakery are available from Oxfam shops or online at: www.oxfam.org.uk, where you can also get Fairtrade Luxury Chocolates - 225g Box the finest luxury Belgian chocolates in sixteen different flavours - in dark, milk and white chocolate.
5. Music: classical CD of the year has to be: FIESTA, featuring the stars of the Proms- the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. A stunning recording on Deutsch Grammophon of a selection of the best in Latin American music live from Caracas! Or for folkies my favourite is Gaughan Live! At the Trades Club on Greentrax. Dick Gaughans plays that hot-bed of radicalism, the Hebden Bridge Trades and Labour Club at the end of his annual tour of England. Full of great songs my favourite is Tom Paine’s Bones. World music CD of the year has to be the release after a decade of the Buena Vista Social Club live at Carnegie Hall. This superb double album is available from: Cuba Solidarity. Order and enquiries hotline: 0208-800-0155.
6. Coffee Table Book: Peace: 50 years of protest 1958-2008 By Barry Miles. £25.00 The Story of the Nuclear Disarmament symbol, its origins and how it became a global symbol for peace in a large format book with over 150 pictures and illustrations. Available from CND online shop at www.cnd.org
7. Stocking Filler Book: a beautiful produced small book is, Crossing the River of Fire, the Socialism of William Morris, by Mahamdallie, Hassan. Published by Redwords at £7.99 available from Bookmarks see: www.bookmarksbookshop.co.uk
8. Some Poetry: for lifting the spirit how about Palestine by David & Helen Constantine. (Modern Poetry in Translation, Series 3 No.9, just £11) A collection of first-class poems – original and in translation, dealing with the idea, the myth and the reality of Palestine. Available from: www.mptmagazine.com/
9. For the Jazz Lover: How about, Forward Groove Jazz and the Real World from Louis Armstrong to Gilad Atzmon by Britain’s leading jazz critic Chris Searle. Available from Britain’s leading bookshop: www.foyles.co.uk/ and save £2.25 online from the list price of £14.99.
10. Fine Silver Jewelry: try some fairtade silver jewelry from Mexico and Peru, including moon & stars earrings and a Dragonfly brooch from my own favourite fairtade online shop run by Stella Emblis for Nicaragua Solidarity at: www.nicaraguasc.org.uk A site that also has a terrific DVD movie and music CD selection.
11. Next Years Diary has to be Housmans 2009 at £8.95 it includes the famous International Peace Directory, plus notable anniversaries and quotations. Celebrating 50 years of the establishment of London's Peace House, home to Peace News and Housman’s Bookshop - and the 75years of the Peace Pledge Union. See: www.housmans.com
12. And if you hurry there are a few exclusive Martin Rowson Morning Star Christmas cards left 5 cards for £8 or 10 cards for £15 (plus £1 p&p) Call: 0208-510-0815 (Mon-Fri 9-4pm).