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Shop local this Christmas

With the festive season fast approaching why not consider buying artisan and Irish? And where better than in your local health store

Recent years have shown a greater appreciation for local goods crafted, grown and made in Ireland. No need for planet-damaging air miles, often less packaging, plus the feelgood factor of supporting a hard working local company or individual – what’s not to like?

Independent health stores all around Ireland are heading up a revolution in supporting local suppliers who often go on to expand into supermarkets and overseas, and similarly artisans who prefer to keep their products individual and small scale. You can find some truly unique gifts such as hand-made soaps and candles made with essential oils, Irish skincare ranges made with natural resources such as seaweed and wild flowers and a favourite for many, seaweed bath.

“Salt lamps are always a popular Christmas gift,” says Gerald Colfer of Only Natural in Wexford town. “They’re the perfect combination of beauty and therapeutic benefit. There are wonderful candles made by hand in Ireland that are vegan, beautifully scented with essential oils and have a burn time of 60 hours - vitalising lemongrass and cedarwood and soothing sweet orange and patchouli are some of the gorgeous scents. Customers particularly love to give loved ones dream catchers and chimes.”

“We stock a small range of local crafts that we love very much as well as essential oils, candles, soaps, incense – organic, ethical and local whenever possible,” says Mary Wedel of An Tobairin in Bandon, Co Cork. “We offer hampers with organic and natural body care products. We love to emphasise Irish producers.”

Glorious food

There is an impressive range of foodstuffs grown and manufactured in Ireland that make great Christmas gifts, including local honey and jam, seaweed for baking, tasty pickles, raw chocolate, ice-cream, biscuits, nut butters, gluten-free bakes and delicious cheeses.

“Health food shops across the country will be stocking lots of unusual, difficult to find ingredients from vegetarian suet and whole mace for the treasured family secret spiced beef recipes, organic dried fruits and any flour your heart or special recipe requires,” says Mary Wedel. “Christmas teas and cordials will warm the cockles on dark winter nights. We make lots of hampers to order including gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free etc. Many chocolate and ice-cream makers offer Christmas products that are all ethically sourced and produced, organic, unique and wonderfully eccentric!”

“When it comes to foodie gifts the possibilities are endless,” says Gerald Colfer.

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