Fair Trade Gift Giving

Fair Trade Gift Giving
I love getting gifts for my family. I enjoy thinking about their unique personalities and interests and then finding a gift that’s just right for them. As a human rights advocate, I do my best to get gifts that are fair-trade friendly; "fair trade" refers to products that have been traded for fair prices to those who produced them, especially producers in developing countries. However, it can be difficult at times to find fair trade products and keep a tight budget in mind at the same time. The following list provides some inexpensive ways to support fair trade while gift giving, during the upcoming holidays or any time at all. I hope it gives you some ideas on how to give fair trade-friendly gifts while staying friendly to your wallet at the same time.

1. Create gifts through your favorite craft or hobby. You could cook a treat or put together a treat mix, paint and frame a picture, make a little scrapbook filled with favorite memories… Whatever your favorite craft or hobby might be. My craft happens to be crochet so I usually make a few crochet items for loved ones during the holidays.

If you happen to be a crafter, consider visiting a thrift store to get supplies. My family lives on a very limited budget, and the thrift store has actually been a great place to buy yarn!

2. Upcycle old things into new things. There are lots of great upcycling tutorials on the internet. You probably have things sitting around in your house that you could use for a project, and you don’t even know it!

3. Buy things secondhand. I don’t recommend this for everything; a mysterious pair of used socks you bought from a thrift store aren’t going to be appreciated, I’m guessing. But thrift stores, used book stores, websites like Craigslist.com or Amazon.com, and other places always seem to have great stuff for a reasonable price, if you’re willing to do a little looking. This can be a great way to buy electronics, if that’s something you’re looking for.

4. Make a slideshow of favorite memories on your computer as a gift. This idea may not be a physical gift, but it is a very sweet, sentimental idea that the whole family can enjoy together. My brother did this once for my mom and it was so nice. She loved it.

5. Make a donation to a charity in your loved one’s name. Find out what cause your loved one supports and donate to a charity in their behalf. Remember to always do your research before donating: be sure it’s a real charity and not a group of shady scammers.

6. Do a little research to find fair trade stores and products. This one isn't necessarily low budget, but if there's something that you really want to get and you can't just get it secondhand or make it (or if you aren't into that stuff anyway), it's great to be aware of what stores support fair trade. Typing "fair trade" or "fair trade stores" in a search engine on your web browser will probably give you a lot of general results; it might help to type "fair trade stores [your location]" to see what stores in your area are fair trade and go from there.

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