For the past several years, I have tried to create the majority of the Christmas gifts our family gives. Either by sewing or baking, we’d create something wonderful for friends and family. This originally started about the time the press reported most of the small toys imported from China were covered in toxic lead paint. I wanted to know that the gifts I gave my children or my nieces and nephews weren’t hazardous.
We would also incorporate purchased/ manufactured gifts because sometimes, that’s just what is needed or desired. If a small child is begging for Legos, you don’t give them crochet finger puppets. Both excite the imagination, but one is truly more relevant for the asker.
That all said, this year I realized that a full time job just doesn’t lend enough time to the sewing and creating endeavor. I decided which very few gifts would be handmade and accepted the rest would be purchased.
But I have put a great deal of thought into how the gifts would be purchased. I want to make my “almighty dollar” make a difference. So I turned to the Fair Trade Federation website and looked into various retailers offering fair trade merchandise. Scarves, coffee mugs, wall art, jewelry, and so much more are available for purchase. These items ensure the makers, often in depressed societies, are justly compensated for their work and time.
Here are a few of my favorite finds this year (click to go to company website):
Ten Thousand Villages (their local retail store closed last year, but their online store is awesome)
Serrv (their wall hangings and tree skirts make me drool)
Project Have Hope (these are the most beautiful bead bracelets I’ve seen!)
TaraLuna (the scarves are exquisite and I selfishly purchased a whole new stack of dinner napkins for our family)
Women of Cloud Forest (I want all of the embroidered bags….I can’t decide! Sea turtle? Fruit Bat?)
The lyric I’ve used today is very old and everyone knows the song….Tis a Gift to be Simple…but we sometimes need a reminder that it truly is a gift to be FREE. Just knowing my shopping will help someone – a lot of someones if I’m honest about my shopping – be a little more independent and a little more dignified makes my personal Christmas season much more meaningful.
PS - I didn't include any pictures of the items I bought because I don't want to give away the surprise...shhhh!