Things have finally quieted in my life and I'm ready to tackle the job of Christmas shopping! This year, I'm extending my commitment to ethical shopping into my Christmas purchases as much as possible, and I want to offer some suggestions for great ethical gifts. Here are five ideas that might inspire you to make your gift-giving go the furthest this Christmas.
It's a great time of year - the weather is beautiful (most of the time), the holiday spirit is in the air, and there are festivals everywhere! Attending craft fairs and holiday festivals is a super fun way to find unique, hand-crafted gifts and have a blast with the family at the same time. FestivalNet.com is a great resource for finding all the fairs in your area. Most of them are on the weekends and have food, music, and activities for all ages! You can also see if your local farmer's market is still in season (unless you've got a super spiffy year-round Farmer's Market like we do in the Nashville area!) where you can get fresh baked goods and artisan-made gifts. Get creative and find some local treasures to give this year!
Give to Charity
There are COUNTLESS worthy, amazing causes that you can donate to in someone's name. World Vision, for example, has dozens of options for giving everything from animals (like goats, chickens, and donkeys, which provide vital nutrition to feed children and families while bringing sustainable income) to purchasing a share of a deep well or contributing to education in the developing world. Many charities even have items for sale, so you can get a physical present for someone while making your gift go the furthest. World Vision has a beautiful assortment of handmade items that are free with a donation. Such is the case with loads of other organizations, and it's a great feeling to give the gift of charity - both on the giving and receiving end!
Where to begin?! There are so many things you can make for your loved ones for Christmas. Test out your savvy DIY skills by scouring the interwebs (let's be honest, I'm talking about Pinterest) for ideas and get creative! There'll never be another one like it, and your friend or family member will feel super special because you put your time and heart into it (so like, if it's lopsided they'll still feel honored by the attempt - right?). :)
Hands-down one of my favorite gifts to receive is the product of someone else's cooking talent (since my own is rather limited). Grab a friend (or your grandma!), make something delicious, wrap it up nice and pretty and BOOM! Even if you're not BFF's with Paula Deen, you can still make super easy and yummy treats for everyone on your list. You know, all those things that you're supposed to stay away from (that's what makes it a treat, duh). Cookies, brownies, cupcakes, toffees, brittles, bars, pies, cakes, candies, cobblers, puddings... need I go on? I could. I really could.
Take to the web! I keep a list on my sidebar of ethical companies that I recommend buying from. Many of them come out with gift-buying guides around this time of year (like this one from People Tree) to show you all they've got to offer this Christmas! Supporting these companies supports the Fair Trade movement, and sticking to these sources during the holiday season is especially important. Let's take the opportunity during busiest shopping season of the year to let companies that maintain unethical practices know that we want to see change. Go forth and spread the cheer!