My Christmas Shopping List
Christmas shopping has a warm place in my heart. My love language is gift giving and I am always excited to exploit the various giving opportunities of the Christmas season. But since my recent commitment to conscious consumerism, I wondered... will it be the same? Will I still have fun shopping if I limit my purchases by the narrow criteria that I preach?
Warm-n-Fuzzy Christmas Shopping Tips
(applicable all year around)
Gift Ideas and Suggestions
Most Gift-Shoppable Stores
Tips for Online Shopping
I know we all love walking around stores after work, strolling through warm lit streets, under trees draped with Christmas lights, sipping our hipster coffee company warm latte and casually stumbling upon the perfect gift for our loved one...
BUT. Realistically, we're all sitting on our computers, alone, late at night in a dark room with day-old cold tea. So I think I'll start my tips and tricks with some fool-proof internet shopping ideas:
Try out an ethical shopping guide.
As much as I'd like to think this blog is entirely unique and special, I must admit, there are likely hundreds of ethical shopping guides on the internet, if not on Pinterest alone. You can find many of these guides on the Phil Orgs Pinterest page.
This is a good approach if you don't already have a solid plan for your gifts. Perusing various product pages will help spark you gifting bug.
Here are a few guides we've used and appreciate:
PhilOrgs on Pinterest: I know it's a biased suggestion, so I'm just going to put it out there right on top of the list... We have currated boards showing our favorite products from all the companies listed in the below guides.
The Good Guide 35 Fair Trade Clothing Brands: If you know you want something in the apparel category, try this guide first. The explanations of suggested companies are really nicely layed out.
The Art of Simple Ethical Shopping Guide: This guide gives you a list of over a hundred companies that follow practices such as: "positive efforts in environmental stewardship, no forced labor in the making of products, and ethical treatment of employees"
The Busy Mommy Good Companies Guide: This blogger lists over 150 companies that are fair trade or are fundimentally charitable.
Shop on Etsy.com.
Not only does Etsy boast an entire world of enchanting *things*, but by purchasing those things you are supporting small artists who are making their products by hand. By definition, Etsy products should be fair trade and ethically made. The sellers may feel like they are working in sweatshop conditions around Christmas time, but I'd say this likely doesn't qualify as unethical trade...
Here are a few Etsy shopping tips:
You can find many products that are not only handmade, but environmentally friendly as well. Look for key words such as "upcycled", "recycled", "zero-waste", "low-waste" or of course, "eco-friendly" and "eco-safe".
I generally avoid custom t-shirt and t-shirt printers on Etsy unless they indicate where the shirt they are printing on came from. An Etsy seller may unknowingly buy super cheap shirts from an incredibly unethical company, and your purchase could support that practice.
If you're passionate about local products or American-made prodcuts, you can search shops based on these criteria.
Okay, so at some point, you'll get out there, push through the holiday bustle and grab a few gifts from brick-and-mortar stores.
Shop Carefully at discount stores like Marshalls.
If you're anything like me, you won't buy a single thing at full-price. Stores like Marshalls were my go-to for clothes, home-goods, cosmetics, gifts, etc. When I commited to buying from only socially and environmentally conscious companies, I was sad to forsake this classic one-stop discount shop. After some research, however, I realized that Marshalls, in particular, actually does carry quite a few products with a social and environmental commitment. Check out my awesome finds below.
For the most part, higher-end discount stores such Nordstrom Rack can be counted on to have some ethically produced products. I've had trouble finding as many options at slightly lower-end stores like Ross (sadly).
Shop at second-hand stores.
Buying socially and environmentally responsible products is awesome and important. But getting things second-hand is also an extremely responsible choice in many ways. If you want to hear more about why, I'll be discussing this in a blog post, coming soon.
It may seem weird to buy your sister a previously-owned sweater for Christmas, I get that. But there are many things you can find at a second-hand stores that aren't too weird to re-gift:
Home Decor: Purchase some random, cool, quirky item you probably can't get in other stores anymore. Cooky, vintagey home accents are totally in. And hey, you can always upcycle an old piece you find as well. See a pair of worn out candlesticks? Or a vase? Or a picture frame? These are prime items to purchase, spray paint and hand off to a friend as a one-of-a-kind, personalized artifact.
Baby Clothes: We all know that baby clothes are outrageously expensive. If you're buying for a little niece or nephew, think about picking up some lightly worn pieces at a nice second-hand store. Most baby clothes have been worn once or twice if at all. If you're worried about germs, you can always have them professionally cleaned and still be paying a fraction of the cost of a brand new piece. Plus, I doubt the baby will mind if the clothes are pre-worn.
Sports Equipment: Is there a golfer in your family? You can find buckets of golf balls at Goodwill and other stores. You can put in the effort to create a set of nice golf balls of the right caliber. Or you can pick up used badmitton equipment, a used skateboard or other fun goodies that the younger ones in your circle might love.
Tips for Brick-and-Mortar Shopping
My Shopping List
My parents are coffee roasters, so naturally a coffee themed coffee mug such as this is an obvious gift choice for my mom.
I bought this on Etsy from NanaPersonalDesigns. The seller was really sweet and helpful with personalizing the product.
The onsie designs at BabyHero are all completely adorable, and perfect for your world-traveller baby. I particularly loved this Christmas themed long-sleeved onsie. Every product is Fair Trade made, the cotton is Fair Trade and 100% organic.
For every product purchased, two neonatal survival kits are funded. These kits help increase the survival of babies in lesser developed countries.
This breathable cotton scarf is handmade in India by local, empowered artisans. I bought this product on ComeTogetherTrading.com, a Fair Trade Federation member.
This is another breathable cotton scarf that is handmade in India by local, empowered artisans. I bought this product on ComeTogetherTrading.com, a Fair Trade Federation member.
I loved the two colors and patterns married into one scarf.
Who doesn't need this holder for their glasses?
Once again, purchased from ComeTogetherTrading.com, this fun accent piece is handmade in India and Fair Trade.
This 100% soy, hand-poured candle is made by a small family owned operation in Austin, Texas. The Burlap Bag has candles with wonderful scents and hilarious names, making it the perfect gift for an S.O. friend or family member with a sense of humor.
I completely fell in love with this awesome little sheep ornament, handmade in Thailand. I bought it as an ornament for me tree! It's Fair Trade and handmade in Thailand. You can buy it on HandCraftingJustic.org.
Material: Ribbon, Felt and Yarn
This adorable kangaroo family toy set is handmade in the Fatima Center in Thailand. It's a Fair Trade product, that is unique, and affordable. The bag is made in traditional Hmong culture of Thailand, letting this toy also serve as a cultural lesson for your kid. You can buy it on HandCraftingJustic.org.