1. A Tree. This Christmas why not plant a tree in the Holy Land? The Olive Co-operative – Trees for Life Campaign plants trees in partnership with the Palestine Fair Trade Association and Zaytoun in places they have been uprooted by illegal Israeli settlers. For just £4 you can sponsor the planting of an olive tree in Palestine. Go to: www.olivecoop.com/stage/trees-for-life
2. A Drop to drink. The Co-operative Group has some excellent fair trade wines for the Christmas dinner table. I recommend the organic Reservea Malbec from the La Riojana Co-op in the Famatina Valley in Argentina. This co-op is the world’s largest maker of fair trade organic wines. The red is a full bodied smooth chocolate 100% Malbec and for a white their 2009 fair trade Pinot Grigio is also pretty good. To help find your nearest shop go to: www.goodwithfood.co.uk
3. A gift for a person with a sweet tooth? Oxfam shops (or the online shop at www.oxfam.org.uk/shop) are stocking a super range of Divine chocolates, from after dinner mints to beautiful selection boxes. Divine chocolates are made with the best quality fair trade cocoa beans from the Kuapa Kokoo co-operative of Ghanaian smallholder farmers which own Divine chocolate (www.divinechocolate.com).
4. How about brightening up your loved ones Christmas wardrobe. CND have some super new very brightly coloured T-shirts with classic CND symbols in stunning new colours. There are also new kid’s t-shirts including some huggable hoodies as well as a range of other peaceful presents. See for yourself at: www.cnduk.org/shop
5. How about some Music. There are some super artists on the co-operative No Masters label, if you want some Christmas music and want to avoid Noddy Holder the Christmas albums by Coope, Boyes and Simpson are for you. See: www.nomasters.co.uk. There has also been some outstanding music on Topic the world’s oldest independent record label formerly the label of the Workers Music Association. I recommend the ‘Gift’ by Eliza Carthy and Norma Waterson or if you want to splash out and hear the whole Topic catalogue try the seventieth anniversary seven CD collection which shows that during the past 70 years, Topic Records has built a deserved reputation for not compromising the nature of its work or that of the independent spirit of the artists it represents. See: www.topicrecords.co.uk
6. How about a trip to the movies. For the film buff visit the BFI film store. (www.bfi.org.uk) Last year the BFI released a restored version of the magnificent Bill Douglas film, ‘Comrades’, about the Tolpuddle Martyrs, but this year I am hoping for ( I hope my partner is reading this) the classic ‘Winstanley’ the 1975 film by Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo, about the Diggers, newly restored by the BFI National Archive. The shop has a terrific selection of classic British and International films together with some stunning documentary films. Of particular interest to Star readers is the ‘Miners Campaign Tapes’ about the great miners strike.
7. Something unusual for the theatre lover. This May saw the members of the New Factory of the Eccentric Actor Theatre Group perform William Morris’s play, ‘The Tables Turned or Nupkins Awakened – a Socialist Interlude’ in the Coach House at Kelmscott House in Hammersmith. First performed at the Socialist League Offices in Farringdon Road in 1887, it is Morris’s only play and this is believed to be the first performance by professional actors. Fortunately the William Morris Society has made this early piece of agit prop available on an audio CD for just £10. see: www.williammorrissociety.org.uk
8. Stuck for a solidarity gift? How about a Cuba Solidarity gift pack! Coffee, cards, music, a Cuban flag brooch, all in a fair-trade bag for just £20! Go to: www.cubaconnect.co.uk
9. Looking for something unusual? Then the online shop that Stella Embliss runs for the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign is the place for you. A great selection of gifts for children, children’s and adult clothing, jewellery as well as books and cd’s. If you are looking to surprise someone this really is an eclectic collection of fascinating and exciting gifts. Go to: www.nicaraguasc.org.uk
10. Need a stocking filler? Redwords (www.redwords.org.uk) the publishing co-operative have published another beautiful book in their series of Revolutionary Portraits; this one is about the great Soviet composer Shostakovich. Shostakovich, Stalin and Symphonies by Simon Behram can be obtained for just £8.00 from www.bookmarks.co.uk
11. A 2011 Diary has of course to be Housmans Peace Diary incorporating the World Peace Directory. Available either from The Morning Star or from Housmans website together with a selection of thought provoking books. See: www.housmans.com
12. And finally why not send a Morning Star Gift subscription to someone you love who needs to keep in touch! For a half price gift subscription send the details of the intended recipient together with a £15 cheque (made out to the PPPS) to ‘Half Price Offer’. The Morning Star, William Rust House, 52, Beachy Road, London, E3 2NS.