It’s that time of year when we all become obsessed and at the same time disgusted with the consumer nation (i.e. America). We’ve seen people fighting over a $2 waffle iron and camp outside stores not to fight the good fight against the man, but for the potential to buy a flat screen TV for $50 cheaper and in my eyes, it isn’t a pretty sight. So how do we buy gifts without using the CyberMonday coupon code: SellMySoulForXmas?
My small solution is my annual list of gifts that make a difference However this year’s list is a little different. None of the gifts outwardly promote any cause and this list isn’t a collection of wooden giraffes made by African artisans or handsewn skirts that look…well… handsewn. I have chosen each product for not only the great mission and business sense of the company, but also for its uniqueness, charm and just the plain and simple fact that it would make an awesome present.
Enjoy and please feel free to add any other gifts that make a difference that you come across in the comments section!
This store is full of gorgeous items from beautiful bags to rustic kitchenware. Socially responsible, the store works with artisans and small businesses to sell great items. One of my favorite gifts on the site are these gorgeous notebooks made of recycled Saris ($20).
Divine is the only Fairtrade chocolate company which is 45% owned by the farmers. This smart business helps these farmers sell their cocoa for a fair price and lets them take part in a business. Not to mention the delicious flavor combinations they have and the great packaging (they even have a section of the website that lets you see what all the symbols on the wrappper mean!), at around $3 a piece, these chocolates make great stocking stuffers!
Not only are Matt and Nat’s bags absolutely beautiful, but they are 100% cruelty-free and animal-free. All the linings are made out of recycled bottles and even their labels are made with the environmentally friendly cork! They have managed to create gorgeous bags that don’t harm the environment. Their prices also range from the reasonable $20 – $299. Also, their selection of masculine friendly bags is fantastic! (Pictured above: Weiland Bag $245)
Charity Case Foundation is a non-profit, completely volunteer run organization. The proceeds go to support non-profit organizations, providing services to children in need and their families. Their wine is affordable (each bottle only costs $11.99.) and the fact that all the wine was made by volunteers will give you and your giftee the warm and fuzzies (and a little buzz) knowing that it was made with love.
It is often hard to find a meaningful, charitable gift for a sports fan. Fair Trade Sports has a great sports line that are all Eco and Fair Trade Certified sports balls, ensuring fair wages and healthy working conditions for our adult workers. They are committed to donate all profits after taxes to children’s charities, both domestic and international. They sell Footballs, Rugby balls, Basketballs, Soccerballs and Ultimate Discs that each have unique designs that will definitely earn you “respect” on the court or field. (Pictured above: Eco Soccer Ball- Club, $17.49)
Craftspring works closely with artisans in Central Asia helping them to sustain and expand their small businesses. The collections vary from housewares to shawls and wraps, but my favorite on the site are the adorable animal dolls they have. Each colorful doll has a unique, crafted feel to them and make a great addition to any child’s imagination. (Pictured above: A Walk in the Wood collection)
This fun toy company makes great colorful and educational children toys that uses recycled and environmentally friendly materials and minimizes packaging whenever possible. Furthermore, B. donates a small amount of money for every toy bought to Free the Children. This organization has the fantastic mission to free children from poverty and exploitation and free young people from the notion that they are powerless to effect positive change. Their toys can be found throughout stores around the nation so keep an eye out when you’re shopping (or visit the site and find out where to buy their toys). (Pictured above: Woofer, $22.99)
Cards from Africa provide orphaned youth in Rwanda with the creative employment of card making. Their staff receive fair wages and valuable life skills and they are currently forming a program to effectively teach entrepreneurial, management, and practical business skills to our staff. They have cards for all occasions and are beautifully crafted. (Pictured Above: One Stuffed Bird card, $4.50)
Invisible Children is a great organization with great business sense. Mend is their product line and the website was launched recently. Invisible Children have sold bags before, but I am pretty much in love with these all purpose totes. The 17 seamstresses supported by Mend are former abductees, who were forced to become child soldiers or wives to the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel commanders. What I love most about this line is that they are creating a story to go along with each product. Each bag has information about the seamstress who made it and you can follow a link to hear her whole story. It’s pretty fantastic to get an awesome bag AND a story for Christmas (hint hint).
Check out last year’s gift list for more ideas here. And let me know what would make your guilt-free list.