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Repost–Mindful Gift Ideas

A repost from last Christmas.  Let me add the Global Girlfriend as my new favorite site.  Yumminess.   

It is a slippery slope when one begins questioning the origins of products.  I find myself wondering if the chocolate my child is munching was made with beans harvested by enslaved children.  Or if the Mossimo pants that look so comfortable were sewn by abused women.  Ok, ok, I know this post is supposed to be about gift-giving!  I’m getting there.  We all know the holiday consumerism is out of control.  Nothing is as antithetical to the spirit of giving than a gift that originated in injustice. 

This holiday season, could you incorporate fairly-traded products into your gift-giving?  Even if you substitute three department store purchases with fairly traded items, you will be giving back to our global community.  Or better yet, give a donation straight to the global community in your gift recipient’s name.  Now, let me tempt you with some ideas that I found easily available online.   

Cambodian Rice Bag:  Fairly traded and made from recycled rice bags. Most bags are under 20.00. 

Reusable Lunch Tote:  Fairly traded and includes reusable utensils made from recycled buffalo horn. 

 Ceramic Dragonfly Flute:  Handmade in Nicaragua by Potters for Peace.

Fancy Chocolate:  You can be sure that this vegan dark chocolate is not only gluten-free; it is also slave-free.

Yummy Coffee:  Available locally to those of you in the Greenville area, this coffee is sustainably and ethically grown. 

Recycled Tire Tie:  Spice up the tired out gift of a boring old tie (pun intended, of course).

Olive Wood Salad Servers:  Fairly traded and gorgeous.  Free shipping included for under 30.00!

Dancing Girls Mobile:  Made by the Teenage Mothers and Girls Association of Kenya from recycled can, wire, and beads.

Babywearing Doll:  Handmade in Peru by a non-profit organization called Inca Kids.  A handmade gift for under 20.00. 

 Soccer Ball:  20% of this fair-trade purchase goes back to the Pakistan community.

Hostess Gifts:  gifts from SERRV under 10.00.  I love the jackfruit cricket.  Maybe a stocking stuffer?

Puzzle Box:  this elegant gift might be a good choice for your boss, teacher, or pastor.

Mayan Coloring Book:  maybe pair this with some of these recycled crayons?

Once you’ve found that perfect gift, consider sustainable packaging options:

  • If shipping, pack with popcorn instead of styro-peanuts or plastic bubbles! Include a note that the unsalted popcorn can be tossed in the recipient’s backyard for the birds to enjoy.
  • Box up your gifts in seeded packaging.  These boxes are made with wildflower seeds and can be planted for a gift that lasts.  You can even send seeded holiday cards that can be planted!
  • Skip wrapping paper and use fabric scraps, newspaper, old maps, or reuse gift bags.   Kitchen towels, organic baby blankets, or fair-trade scarf make excellent wraps. 
  • Wrap the gift in a reusable sandwich bag or larger gifts in a resuable shopping bag. 
  • Try wrapping gifts without tape (which is usually petroleum-based).  Use twine or yarn and creative folds to keep your gift bound.
  • Instead of a bow, use pinecones, holly, or even a CFL bulb.

How do you incorporate green or ethical choices into your holidays?

Booklist

I haven’t written a book post in awhile.  Here are a few of the books we’ve been reading lately:

Nora and the Great Bear:  Norah LOVES this book.  Young girl trying to keep up with the adults.  She ends up discovering better ways of living (sum-up:  you catch more bears with honey than guns…).

A Cat in a Kayak:  A book I bought for Scott.  I don’t think he read it.  But Norah likes it.  About a man who lives on an island and transports via kayak an assortment of animals to join him.

The Gas we Pass:  Seriously, I learned some scientific things from this book.  I mean, how many children’s books teach that a healthy person releases about 2 cups of gas each day?  And contains such scientific lines as “These gases are made when leftover food is broken down by bacteria, rots and becomes poop.”  

She is Born:  I’ve been reading this book to Norah since, well, she was born.  And I still cannot read it without crying.  Still.  If you are searching for the perfect gift for a new mother of a daughter, you cannot go wrong with this book.   

The Runaway Pumpkin:  Because it is October!  Hoorah!

You can also take a look at the books we don’t yet own on Norah’s wishlist.  You might even find some gift ideas for a toddler in your circle.