Tips for buying ethical gifts

Make the holidays more about the meaning, and less about the stuff.

Forget about designer brand names already! Boycott those big corporations with questionable motives! It is more trendy anyways to buy from ethical companies that support good causes.

There are plenty of ideas and alternatives for making this holiday season more about the meaning and less about the stuff, but if you must shop after all, do it with some style: do it ethically. Support local companies, support fair trade, support environmental-friendly products and initiatives that work hard to help others. For instance, take a look at these gifts that encourage positive change:

  • TOMS: A company that will give a pair of brand new shoes to an impoverished child when you buy a pair of shoes from them! And when they sell eyeglasses, part of the profit goes to help to restore the eyesight of people in developing countries. TOMS has now partnered with Water for People, and for every bag of premium coffee that you purchase from them, they will provide improved access to clean water for schools, clinics and families in rural communities of Rwanda, Malawi, India, Honduras and Guatemala: http://www.toms.com/coffee
  • FEED: It’s mission is to create products that help feed the world. The company sells stylish bags, clothing and accessories, and for every product sold a tangible donation is made towards addressing hunger and malnutrition in the world. FEED has been able to provide over 85 million meals globally through partnerships with the World Food Program and Feeding America.
  • International Princess Project: This company sells lovely, cozy “Punjammies” pijamas, tees, pants, and tops made by women in India who were victims of human trafficking and are now free from sex slavery. The project helps them to regain their dignity, rebuild their confidence and continue to live their lives through a new path.
  • TEN THOUSAND VILLAGES: Is a fair trade organization and a founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO). This company seeks to improve the livelihood of thousands of disadvantaged artisans in 38 countries. They sell handmade gifts, jewelry, home decor, art and sculpture, textiles, serveware and personal accessories representing the cultures of artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

This is just a brief list I’ve put together, but there are many initiatives trying to raise awareness about the importance of giving gifts that matter. Just run a clever search for your own country or city and you’ll be surprised! Look for the fair trade mark, or for clues that the product that you are buying will do something more than simply support careless manufacturers.