17 Dec 2015

The truth behind the tinsel: where Christmas decorations come from

By Jessica

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, with tinsel, baubles and sparkly stuff everywhere you look. But have you ever stopped to think where all these decorations come from? What’s the real cost of all this festive fare?

Sophie Deen from Bright Little Labs is on a mission to create a fairer more sustainable world by educating children about where things come from and how they are made. In this post Sophie reveals where most of our Christmas decorations are made – be prepared for a shock.

WHAT – Christmas decorations. Baubles, tinsel, Santa hats – you name it

WHERE – Yiwu – China, 300km south of Shanghai. 60% of the world’s Christmas decorations are made here, across 600 factories.

WHO – The workers put in 12 hour shifts. Reports vary for how much they’re paid, some estimates are between £200-£300 a month, other estimates are even worse – £130-£190. That’s as little as 45p an hour.

WHEN – Spring – September. Then it’s Valentine’s tat, Easter bunnies and Halloween horrors before Christmas comes round again.

WHAT ELSE – The wares are shown off at the Yiwu International Trade Market. Featuring 62,000 stalls, the trade show is 4million square meters in size. That’s 4 square kilometres – the City of London is 2.9.

WANT TO KNOW MORE? – We got your backs

Bright Little Labs is one of the nine teams selected to join the BGV accelerator programme in January. Its digital stories teach children about sustainability through the adventures of Detective Dot, a mischievous 8 year old coder who investigates where objects come from.

If you’d like to support Bright Little Labs you can get behind their Kickstarter campaign now! They’re raising £12,500 to develop stories and educational materials to bring Detective Dot to life.