Christmas can be something to endure rather than enjoy. Like periods, but with more tinsel.
This year, however, neither Christmas or periods have to be quite so stressful. There’s a growing movement towards more conscious consumption, less plastic, and more thought about others at this vulnerable time. In this era of austerity, communities are coming together to meet the needs of those getting left behind, making real change instead of simply providing charity.
The Red Box Project ensures that no one misses school because of their period. The Homeless Period supplies those in need on the streets and at shelters. Bloody Good Period supplies asylum centres. The Pink Protest led a 2000-strong #FreePeriods protest that resulted in the government awarding £1.5m to address period poverty. But the fight isn’t over — far from it.
However you like to handle menstruation matters, take the edge off these challenging times with period-positive gifts that support these fantastic causes, businesses and brands.
Lydia Reeves was peeing in a service station when she saw a poster on the back of the door that spoke about homeless women and refugees not having access to sanitary products. Feeling ignorant and aware of her privilege, she began making tampon bullets to represent the strength of women, giving 10% of sales to The Homeless Period. Her Designs is a treasure trove of sparkling conversation starters, such as mooncup earrings, nipple brooches, willy Christmas tree ornaments and empowering artwork.
available at Her Designs, £12
Girls Done Good are all about Sisterhood for Sister Good, everything they make supports a different, carefully chosen cause, such as these adorable cards that fundraise for Coppafeel!
available at Girls Done Good, £3 (or £8 for four)
Day 3: Period Panties by WUKA
These super-soft and stretchy panties help make periods much more comfortable physically and mentally - you’ll be less worried about leaking, particularly at night or during travel.
available at WUKA, from £21.99
Day 4: Custom Box by Freda
Everyone’s flow is unique and yet so much about periods is standardised. The average woman uses 18 tampons per cycle, so tampons usually come in boxes of 18. But averages often work to make most of us feel abnormal. Freda offers the UK's first customised organic and natural period care subscription box, so you can sort out a monthly service in a box that fits you.
All purchases benefit projects that tackle period poverty, such as Bloody Good Period, The Red Box Project and A Bloody Good Cause.
available at Freda, one-off box £8, subscription £6.99
Day 5: Menstrual Cups by Hey Girls!
Once upon a time, menstrual cups seemed mad, like most innovations. But the love for these soft silicone cups has spread. Bloody Good Period estimates that the average lifetime cost of a period is £4,800. Using a menstrual cup can save hundreds of pounds a year.
Hey Girls! cups fight period poverty as well as save your pennies, each purchase equally benefits a cause in your local area, under their Buy One Give One model. Their reusable pads look like ladybirds. Check out their disposable pads and tampons too.
available at Hey Girls, £8.95
Being ‘on the rag’ instead of using plastic single-use disposables is amazing for the environment — and personal comfort. These gorgeous reusable pads are handmade with love from recycled materials.
Happy Earth Essentials offer other reusables — nappies, sandwich bags and beeswax wraps — in the same cute and colourful aesthetic. Use UNEDIT on the shop to get 20% off!
available at Happy Earth Essentials, £6 (or £10 for two)
This sweet pillow is the perfect solution for menstrual cramps, as well as neck cramps, sore muscles, fussy babies, pain or cold feet. A combination of moist heat and a subtle aroma of cherries, this is the ultimate muscle relaxer and stress reducer, like a bubble bath on the go.
Ruby Cup are renowned for stunning menstrual cups in a rainbow of colours - purple, blue, pink and red (and clear!), as well as cleaning pots, reusable coffee cups, kegel trainers, totes and notebooks. Every purchase of a menstrual cup means that a girl in East Africa receives one too.
available at Ruby Cup, £19.95
Behold this stately cloth adorned with the face of the queen of period drama, Jane Austen.
There’s even a tea towel subscription if you really want to go all out on feminist rags, in addition to radical calendars, suffrage mugs, tote bags, wash bags, aprons and rosettes.
available at The Radical Tea Towel Company, £12
Day 9: Tights by SNAG
Tights, like periods, often seem to be designed to make you feel as uncomfortable as possible and aware of all the ways you fail to conform to ideal standards. Brie, the founder of SNAG tights, had the revolutionary idea that instead of YOU fitting your tights, it should be the other way around. No more pulling at them and hoisting them up. These tights are life-changing.
available by SNAG, from £6.99
Day 10: Period by Natalie Byrne
Period is everything. It’s hilarious, wise, revolutionary and inclusive — it's the definitive book for everyone and anyone who has ever had a question about periods, delivered in Natalie Byrne’s wit and style. 10% of sales go to Bloody Good Period.
available from Break The Habit Press, £9.99
(P.S. If you’re hungry for more myth-busting, life-affirming literature by inspirational rebels, check out: The Girl Guide by Marawa Ibrahim and Sinem Erkas, Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies (edited) by Scarlett Curtis, Reflections of Me by Kirsty Latoya, Body Positive Power by Megan Jayne Crabbe.)
Sometimes the best part of a day is getting to take your bra off at the end of it. Imagine wearing a bra that’s so comfy you forget you’re wearing it.
This buttery soft forest green bra is underwire and clasp free, ideal for fluctuating and sensitive boobage during periods and in life.
available at Neon Moon, £35
Plus, some bonus ideas! (Because what would Christmas be without being extra?)
This gift box, containing vegan, handcrafted and ethically sourced bars, nibs, spread and lip balm is perfect for the one you love, especially if that person is you.
All profits go to Young Minds. Also, Well Bean’s founder is is called Charlie. He’s the Chief of Chocolate(!). How could you not buy magical chocolate from a real-life Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?
available at The Well-Bean Company, £20
These lovely mugs are ideal for a cosy cuppa and pressing pause on setting the world to rights. ‘Alma’ is Margate artist Claire De Lune’s celebration of the sumptuous voluptuousness of the female form, made sustainably in her studio by the sea.
Claire’s shop is packed with more Alma ceramics, from spiky wine tumblers and feminist figurines to bright tees and luminous cards.
available at Claire De Lune, £12
Both Christmas and periods are best experienced in your comfiest clothing, and surrounded by your favourite people. Lucy Locket Loves excels in brightly-coloured and cheerfully printed comfort wear for day and night. Use PJPARTY to 10% off everything!
available at Lucy Locket Loves, £15 (was £22)
These books and brands will be available at the Period+ Xmas Pop-Up or as part of the Period Drama-themed raffle at Pride and Prejudice: A Pajama Party Marathon, a special screening of the 1995 BBC series at The Book Club in London, on Sunday 9th December.
The event, organised by kindness initiative That Time of the Month, is fundraising for the Red Box Project in Tower Hamlets, where 100+ schools are awaiting Red Boxes. Leena Normington is hosting and award-winning filmmaker Giulia Gandini will be presenting her short film My Time.