Looking for affordable, meaningful gifts this holiday season? Let’s make it easy for you.  As the buyer for the Global Exchange Fair Trade Store, I spent months connecting with our artisan partners to bring in a line of unique gifts that carry a story AND fit your budget.  Here are my top 5 picks well under $10….perfect for your unexpected guest, teacher, neighbor, co-worker and loved ones.

heart JB1) Hand-Carved Olive Wood Heart $3.95:

Each one of these hearts is unique, as special care was taken to retain the natural grain and curvature of the olive wood they were carved from.  Each is hand-carved by an artisan of the Kamba people living in the bush of Eastern Kenya. Special permits must be received to fell an olive wood tree, and the carvers make use of every inch of this prized wood.

These hearts make a perfect gift for a far away friend because they slide nicely into a Christmas card envelope.  They also make a thoughtful gift for your best friend or partner, as they can be held well in a pocket.

2) Organic Fair Trade Chocolate $.25-$4.50:chocolate JB

We proudly carry Equal Exchange’s line of premium organic Fair Trade Chocolate crafted from the purest ingredients and grown with care by small farmer co-ops in Peru, Paraguay, Ecuador, Panama and The Dominican Republic. Equal Exchange only sources from small farmer organizations because they believe they are the heart and soul of Fair Trade.

On your way to a holiday party? Choose from Organic Dark Chocolate with Raspberries, Coconut, Caramel Crunch Sea Salt and more to pair with a bottle of holiday spirits.  Or better yet check out Equal Exchange’s recipes for Chocolate Sugar Cookies or Earl Grey Tea Chocolate Cake.  Mmmmm.

bells JB3) Hand-Pounded Desert Bells $2.50:

These bells are made by rural artisans in a small cooperative in the Kutchchi desert region of western India.  Each bell is first pounded into shape by hand, and then buried under the hot desert sand in a kiln. This age-old technique of metalwork is what gives each piece its unique patina and tone.

What a great gift for your neighbor!  On a small piece of ribbon, the bells can tie off the wrapping on a plate of fresh baked cookies. They make for beautiful tree ornaments!

4) Hand-Carved Kisii Stone Animals $3.50eles JB

These festive little animals are hand carved from solid kisii or “soap stone” by Gusii artisans in western Kenya.  Each piece is then hand dyed (using non-toxic dyes) and etched at the Ndima Crafts finishing shop in Nairobi.  Kisii Stone is a metamorphic rock, soft due to its high talc content, that has been used as a medium for carving for thousands of years.

A perfect fit for a child’s small hand, these animals are a great addition to a Christmas stocking.  They also make a great gift for teachers or childcare providers!

Propsperity Hens5) Prosperity Hens $6.50

These colorful strands of hens are handmade in the stark desert region of northern India by a group of women who have formed a crafts co-operative, creating an economy where none existed.  Hens are a symbol of prosperity and this strand crafted from fabric scraps, is intended to bring prosperity into the home.  Carefully chosen glass beads, silver ornaments, and the unique tinkle of each hand-formed bronze bell reflect the personal touches of the women.

This is a perfect gift for your family.  Hang it in your home to bring your loved ones prosperity this holiday season and into the New Year!

Come visit us at the Global Exchange Store in Berkeley, CA for a wide selection of Fair Trade holiday gifts that simply fill the heart!