Scrooge needed the help of three ghosts and time travel in order to learn a lesson in holiday ethics. Hopefully, none of you will need such theatrics to be nudged in the direction of celebrating the holiday in a conscientious manner. First of all, my time machine is in the shop- too many trips back to the 1800’s to party with Abraham Lincoln burned out my flux capacitor. Secondly, the Christmas spirits and I are on the outs, something about not inviting them to play poker with not-so-always- honest Abe. So my friends, in reminding you to shop ethically this holiday season I will forgo the scare tactics and resist the urge to show you a vision of your grave in the distant future. Instead, I will gently encourage you to do the right thing by providing a handy list of ethical presents to give your loved one’s this holiday season.
Jewelry: While it is very debatable that diamonds are a girl’s best friends, there is some merit to the idea that women appreciate a flashy bauble from time to time. This year, indulge the accessory crazed pal on your holiday shopping list by purchasing conscientious jewelry for them. Check out online storefronts such as Ann Made Art, that features classy rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings made from recycled goods!
For your fashion savvy cousin who lives in Brooklyn and wouldn’t trade their vinyl collection for anything on earth, try these hip and eco-friendly bracelets made from old records. Just be sure to reassure cousin Tabitha that none of her beloved records were harmed in the making of these bracelets.
Clothing: Style over substance is now a thing of the past, thanks to fashionable fair trade companies such as Autonomie Project. Give the gift of adorable duds this holiday season, from our effortlessly cool sneakers to their lovely handbags and even our NEW line of witty organic children’s clothing. Buy Fair Trade and Eco-friendly for the whole family this season. Autonomie Project will satiate the fashion needs of the trendiest people on your holiday shopping list. Through December 31st, free ground shipping on domestic orders regardless of size!
Electronics: Go, go gadget gifts! Catering to a gift recipient with a passion for technology does not mean that you have to break the bank or compromise your code of ethics. At twenty two dollars, these awesome fingerless gloves plug into your USB port and keep hands toasty while surfing the interweb. It is a gift that says, “Hey, I care about your internet addiction, your comfort and your fondness for tech inventiveness!”
One of your loved ones may be among the millions to develop an unhealthy fixation with their iPhone recently. Foster this addiction by giving them a gift custom made for hand-held best friend. There may not yet be an app for solar charging, but Surge for iPhone is the next best thing - it allows its users to harness the sun’s awesome energy by charging the phone wherever there is a drop of sun to be had!
Food Fanatics: When you are shopping for someone who has an appetite for destruction, you should consult Guns N Roses.When you are shopping for someone who has an appetite for everything else on earth, look no further than these tasty Fair Trade goodies. Equal Exchange has oodles of delicious treats that will make ethical mouths water. Featuring coffee, chocolate, cocoa, nuts and berries, Equal Exchange products make the perfect stocking stuffer for loved ones who think with their stomach on a daily basis.
Playing Santa for your favorite chef is an easy task thanks to the organic products from Fiddlers Green Farm. Organically certified cereals, flour and teas are just some of the yummy goodness that this company offers. These are gifts that any aspiring Julia Child would appreciate.
Animals and the People Who Love Them: Chances are you have at least one friend that has a photo of their pet as the wallpaper on their cell phone. This friend has a special knack for smoothly transitioning a conversation about Health Care Reform into a discussion about “the cutest thing ever “that “Mr. Sniffles did the other day”. If you can’t think of anyone like this, you more than likely are that person. (No offense meant, I know Professor Puddles is the cutest feline this side of cat-opia.)
For these furry little family members (the pets, silly, not your short, hairy uncle with the shoulder tufts) and the people who love them, try purchasing Fair Trade toys, collars and bedding. Purrfect Play has a great selection of organic and fair trade products for the dog or cat in your life. They also carry fun animal themed accessories for humans.
Another great fantastic gift for the animal lover on your shopping list is making a donation in their name that benefits animals that are in need. Whether you donate to a no kill shelter or a charity that benefits endangered species, this is a gift that will surely bring a smile to your loved ones face. Check Animal Charities of America to locate charities associated with your favorite four legged creatures.
Adventure Seekers : Shopping for someone who lives their life in such as x-treme manner that their typical weekend activities would make for a perfect montage of a Mountain Dew commercial can be a challenge for most of us mere mortals. Luckily, there are some amazing ethical products that will appease the adventure lovers on your gift list.
Does your Aunt Jill never miss an opportunity to hang 10? Then surprise her this holiday season with this wetsuit by Matuse that forgoes the use of traditional petroleum-based rubber and uses a sustainable rubber-like material sourced from limestone called “Yamamoto Geoprene”.
Home Gifts: Home is what the holidays are all about, just ask a 3 out 5 classic holiday songs. By purchasing these ethical home goods, you will not only help your loved ones spiffy up the old homestead but you will affirm your commitment to conscientious living and gift giving. Ten Thousand Villages carries unique Fair Trade frames made of natural materials, including bamboo. An elegant present for your classiest of friends and relatives, this vase is made with sustainable harvested mango tree limbs.
Charities: The holiday season at its best is a magical period of time that brings out the best in people. At its worst, it is a flash of days racing by spent rushing around. When the season starts to get you down, and your teeth no longer feel like they can not unclench, remember those that are less fortunate than you. Charity is one of the most meaningful gifts you can give this holiday season. Make a donation in the name of a hard to shop for friend. Find a charity that is reputable and meaningful to you as well as the person on your gift list.
Holiday gift giving does not have to mean you choose between sacrificing your beliefs or the quality of the gifts you purchase. Minimal effort is needed to make all of your presents both magical and ethical.Surely, Tiny Tim and Scrooge alike would happily reflect, “God bless us, every one” after receiving any of these thoughtful presents.