Ah, the holiday season. Egg nog, mistletoe, and last-minute shopping mall sprees. Rather than buying gifts for the sake of buying gifts, make the choice to consume ethically this holiday season by giving Fair Trade gifts.
The value of shopping Fair Trade extends beyond supporting artisans – every recipient of a Fair Trade gift must ask the question, what is Fair Trade? By educating others about Fair Trade, you are extending a message of conscientious consumption. Giving a gift that is hand-made, sustainably-produced, and socially-empowering (instead of mass-produced, environmentally-degrading, and socially-destructive) will allow others to learn why Fair Trade is important.
A few ideas…
These recycled magazine ornaments are a perfect touch of color to any Christmas Tree! Fashioned out of long strips of recycled magazines, the ornaments are soaked in glue, dried, and then assembled piece by piece into the desired shape. Made in Vietnam, these recycled magazine ornaments are part of a social program in Ho Chi Minh City, aimed at helping street children, generating income for the poor, and promoting self-reliance for disadvantaged families and people of ethnic minorities.
Warm winter wear is surely the classic holiday gift. Perfect for everyone on your holiday list, you can’t go wrong with Alpaca wool, knit into beanies, fingerless gloves, earwarmers, berets, scarves, mittens, … the list goes on! Andes Gifts, a Fair Trade Federation Member, represents over 20 knitting cooperatives and 40 family-based knitting groups in the highlands of Bolivia and Peru. With limited employment opportunities in the area, Andes Gifts provides Aymara and Quechua women with free knitting instruction, computer and bookkeeping skills, and product design and development within their own communities!
Tagua seeds come from the Tagua Palm Tree, which grows in the rain forests between Colombia and Ecuador. Also known as eco “ivory” because of it’s strength, beauty, and adaptable qualities, the tagua seed is a renewable resource that is harvested sustainably. The seeds are dyed with natural dyes and crafted into necklaces, braces, and rings, or sliced into thin, flat pieces for earrings. The Vermont-based mother-daughter company Belart produces incredible Fair Trade tagua seed jewelry from Colombia while aiding many grassroots efforts in the region; for example, Belart supports the preservation of elephants, tropical rain forests, and indigenous cultures, as well as supporting groups who have been displaced by Colombia’s civil war.
As consumers, we must consider the impact of our purchases, which is especially relevant during the holidays. This holiday season, make the choice to consume ethically and give Fair Trade gifts.
Be sure to check out the Fair Trade Federation’s holiday gift guide, with a different Fair Trade gift idea every day!