Saturday, November 20th is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Haven’t heard of it? It is the Saturday before Thanksgiving and the grocery stores are packed with loads of people stocking their cupboard and refrigerators with the necessary ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner.  Even though you shopping list may be long, the holidays are a time to give thanks, and this is a great time to spread the message of fair trade. When we brew coffee or boil some rice, we often do not think about the farmers and producers of these items. Some of these workers are not properly taken care of and endure harsh conditions to be sure you have the food on your table. But there are companies out there that are conscious of this and take extra steps to ensure the workers are treated, paid, and given benefits fairly. This year we can be sure and give thanks to the workers and companies who are being responsible. You can do this by supporting fair trade during the holidays.

There are many items you can purchase fair trade to make sure you give thanks to the fair trade movement, responsible companies, and of course the farmers and producers. You can create a wonderful fair trade holiday dinner from start to finish. We have put together a few suggestions to help you shop this weekend and make sure your Thanksgiving is a fair one!

1) Settings: The first step in entertaining is to set the table. The great thing about this year is that countless items are now available fair trade including table settings. Ten Thousand Villages has a colorful and great assortment of table cloths and runners, many with fall colors. Ten Thousand Villages has a ton of locations throughout the US and an online store. You will also find wonderful fair trade napkins, dish sets, serving trays, and silverware. Ten Thousand Villages carries many of these items. You can also find them at a local fair trade store or other online stores such as Fair Trade Marketplace, Global Exchange and World of Good.

2) Decorations: One of Thanksgiving’s many traditions is the centerpiece. You would be surprised to find out that many items that create a centerpiece can be purchased fair trade. Fair trade flowers are available at many locations online and at Whole Foods markets. You can also find fair trade certified candles and incense to make your home feel cozy and smell delicious! A number of vases, baskets, and candle holders can be purchased at the sites mentioned above: Ten Thousand VillagesFair Trade MarketplaceGlobal Exchangeand World of Good.

3) The Meal: Obviously, the main feature of the holiday is the dinner. We are happy to report you can find many of your ingredients with a fair trade certified symbol including olive oil, cocoa, sugar,rice, and even spices. You can also find many fruits including bananas and oranges certified. Many mainstream supermarkets carry fair trade items these days but you can be sure and find them at local natural food stores, co-ops, fair trade stores, and Whole Foods.

4) Wine & Spirits: Dinner wouldn’t be complete without a glass of wine or a cocktail. Luckily there is now fair trade wine which comes in many varieties as well as fair trade vodka.  There are also some great mixers which come certified included Maine Root which makes natural fair trade sodas such as ginger ale and lemon lime. You can serve fair trade for both your drinking guests and the ones who abstain!

5) After Dinner: After your tummies are filled with tons of fair trade foods, there is nothing better than relaxing with a warm cup of coffee or tea. Luckily, there are countless companies that provide fair trade certified coffee and tea including Equal Exchange, Grounds for Change, and Dean’s Beans. Your guests will thank you for serving such high quality and high conscious after dinner drinks!

6) Recreation: Another great holiday tradition is football! Not only do people love to watch it, but some love to play it as well. It is a wonderful bonding family activity and this year you can even have a fair trade football! Impress your family this year with a socially conscious and certified football. If football really isn’t your activity, Fair Trade sports offers plenty of other sportsballs including soccer balls, basketballs, and even rugby balls!

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