There are only a few more shopping days until Christmas and time to buckle down and pick up those stocking stuffers! The holidays are a perfect time to celebrate fair trade, as it is a time for reflection and thanks.  Fair Trade is the epitome of what the holidays represent, so when you are picking up your stocking stuffers this year, why not make them fairly traded? You can feel good about your ethical decision and spread fair trade cheer throughout the land. There are number of great places to pick up Fair Trade goodies including your local fair trade store, Ten Thousand Villages, natural food stores, co-ops, and even Whole Foods. We have provided a quick list of some great ideas to use as stocking stuffers or even Hanukkah gifts!  So when you are out getting your last minute stocking stuffers, think fair trade!

Chocolates: This is probably the most readily available fair trade gift, even major supermarkets carry some fair trade chocolate. You can go for the big bars made by companies such as Alter Eco or Equal Exchange, or you can go the gourmet route such as Sjaak’s, who offer everything from peanut butter cups to truffles. Or better yet, how about some fair trade fudge, some of it’s even vegan friendly!

Mints: That’s right fair trade isn’t just for chocolate anymore! You can actually find fair trade mints Vermints.  These organic Canadian mints are made with  fair trade coffee, tea, and chocolate in their flavoring. Keep your breathe socially conscious and minty fresh!

Homemade Goodies: If you can’t quite find what you are looking for in the sweets department, make your favorite recipe using fair trade ingredients! Some great ideas are Fair Trade Banana Bread made with fair trade bananas and sugar, or how about Fair Trade Chocolate Chip Cookies made with fair trade chocolate chips and sugar. Check out the Fairtrade Foundation’s recipe recommendations for great ideas.

Jewelry:  Another great fair trade item is jewelry. And as you know, you can never go wrong there. You can find anything from earrings to necklaces, and even rings. We love these Daphne bracelets made by displaces women in Uganda. Also, the bike enthusiast in us adores these recycled bike chain bracelets from Ten Thousand Villages. You can find a whole host of great stocking stuffers in beautiful jewelry from at Ten Thousand Villages and other fair trade shops.

Ornaments: Give them something to hang on the tree for next year. Flavours For Life has a wide variety of fair trade ornaments, including our favorite, the holiday gift bag that states “Shop Fair Trade.” Nothing like spreading a little fair trade message! Pristine Planet and Ten Thousand Villages also have great holiday ornaments.

Little Toys: For those youngsters on your list, go for the fun stuff! There isn’t a huge selection of fair trade toys and you aren’t going to find any fair trade legos any time soon (maybe!) but you can find a few sweet fair trade toys. Try Down to Earth Toys such as these cute veggie stuffed animals. For those musically inclined children, we love these wooden egg shakers made in Bali.

Autonomie: Our fair trade store is a one stop shop for great stocking stuffers and we just happen to be having a Holiday Moving Sale which includes some great deals on stocking stuffers. We have our new fair trade earrings and bracelets, made from recycled soda can tabs and bar codes. There are also matching soda can belts! But the best deal of all is our fabulous flip flips, made with FSC Certified sustainable rubber. They are currently on sale for $5.50 (regular $22). Also, if you are shopping for your other needs and spend up to $100 you receive a free stocking stuffer of your choice, including an Autonomie Gift Card.

Gift Card: Which brings us to our last fair trade stocking stuffer idea. The Gift Card. You seriously can’t go wrong here, letting someone pick out their own gift! There are a lot of great places to give an ethical gift card to, including Ten Thousand Villages, Autonomie Project, your local fair trade store, and  Greenheart Shop. For a full list check the Fair Trade Federation.

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At the end of this week the Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah begins. The Eight days of Hanukkah will entail gifts, time spent with loved ones, prayer, and the lighting of candles.  But on top of all this celebration, there are of course delicious traditional meals. For many on Hanukkah, there is a tradition of eating fried foods, especially in Olive Oil. For this week’s recipe we have put together a great vegan version of latkes or potato pancakes, which are often served at Hanukkah dinners. This way you can make your holiday meal ethical as well as suitable for your vegan/vegetarian family members. For some Ethical Hanukkah gifts, check out these great Eco-Friendly, Fair Trade, and other Ethical Gift Guides. Happy Hanukkah from AP!!

Vegan Latkes (Potato Pancakes)

Prep Time: 15 minutes    Cook Time: 15 Minutes

6 Peeled and Grated Potatoes (any kind)

1/2 Cup Unbleached Flour or Vegan Matzo Meal

2/3 Cup Oatmeal

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

1 Chopped Medium Yellow Onion

1/2 Tsp Salt

1/4 Tsp Pepper

1/4 Tsp Baking Powder

Peel the potatoes and finely grate them. Also, finely chop the onions and place both ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour/matzo meal, salt, pepper, and baking powder into the bowl. In a separate bowl combine the oatmeal and hot water until soft enough to eat. Once the oatmeal is soft enough, mix it into the other bowl. In a large frying pan, heat up the oil at a medium heat. Form the mixture into small patties and fry in the olive oil until golden brown on both sides. You can soak up some of the excess oil with a towel if you choose and now they are ready to serve with Vegan Sour Cream or applesauce. If you want to add a little more flavor to your latkes, try adding in some carrots, spinach, or broccoli. Or if you are feeling even more adventurous, try making them with sweet potatoes instead!

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