Last Christmas, I challenged myself to give only gifts that were fair trade. Which was great, until I realized Dad’s book doesn’t come in a fair trade version; Mom’s list, which was created in July, doesn’t have an FT logo on it; and my sister’s silent command of “buy-only-off-my-list-otherwise-I’ll-try-to-act-happy-but-wonder-why-you-couldn’t-get-me-what-I-wanted” doesn’t provide any wiggle room.
What’s a sister, daughter, friend, consumer, girl to do? How do you say yes to this AND that? Why rethink your goal, of course. Buy as MANY fair trade gifts as possible. It was a challenge, a trial, and it was FUN!
One of my favorite pieces of my gifts was the Body Shop’s Soft Hands, Kind Heart Hand
Cream, in which 100% of the profits goes to ECPAT, an NGO who works to protect kids and young adults from sex trafficking. Their name stands for End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Child Trafficking. I have done a little work with them, and they are fantastic!
For those who need to be directly “off the list” type purchases, I supplemented with donations in their name, a chicken here, schools supplies there, I could have even donated a toilet! (no kidding).
There are so many good ideas out there, including fair trade and beyond:
10,000 Villages: amazing stores across the country that have fair trade products
The Hunger Site: your purchases support fighting hunger world wide
Laser Monks: Support monastic and other communities by purchasing their coffee, bread, jams, and other gifts
Heifer International: Buy the gift that keeps giving to a family in need
Syracuse Cultural Workers: Give a gift that carries a message
Be creative- how about some local product like honey, or a cool FEED bag that you can pick up at Whole Foods?
With so many options like this out there, why not try something new? After all, let’s remember what the gift giving season is all about.
Here is a quick action to take from the Body Shop in support of victims of trafficking:
I’m support diversity of thought, in a respectful manner. Don’t miss out on the other side of this argument- Fair trade just increases consumerism and lessens our feelings of guilt: http://toxicmemes.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/fairtrade-promotes-consumerism-by-alleviating-guilt/