Most of us love to shop, especially when we find unique or unusual items. But sometimes, purusing the clearance rack at Target, I have to wonder–who made these pants? Did this t-shirt come from a sweat shop? Am I living justly when I shop?
The holidays are coming–the fall displays in stores will soon give way to Christmas decor, and it’s not even Halloween yet. And with those seasonal displays come a pressure to buy. But we can make choices about what we buy. We can choose what some people call “sanctified shopping” by purchasing Fair Trade certified items.
What is Fair Trade? Fair Trade items are those that are produced by workers who are paid a fair wage. Items can’t be certified as “fair trade” if they are made by child labor or slaves (and unfortunately, that happens with more items than we would believe).
Why not feel great about shopping, knowing you’re getting cool stuff and helping someone on the other side of the planet? Click here to watch a great and encouraging video about Trade As One, an excellent organization that helps lift people out of poverty.
This year, my goal is to buy Fair Trade items for everyone on my list. That does NOT mean they will be getting cheezy presents–I’m talking really cool stuff. Jewelry, chocolate, coffee, clothes, bags, purses. (You can find some great stuff, including the items pictured below, at Bead for Life’s website.
What if you could change the world by shopping? If we all buy just one Fair Trade item this year, we can help families all across the globe to lift themselves out of poverty. What a great way to have a compassionate Christmas.
My family and I have given up the frenzied, expensive American tradition gone wild of buying and exchanging Christmas gifts. We celebrate with Christmas dinner and worship services, pageants, and so forth. But your point is well taken – we should think about the origen of goods we purchase.
Thanks for the comment, Kay. It’s cool that you’ve just cut out the buying altogether. We’ve cut way back, and our teen kids usually give my hubby and I homemade “coupons” for doing things for us. It’s cute. My daughter usually buys a chicken or goat through the World Vision catalog, which is given to a 3rd world family, and that’s her “gift” to her grandparents.
Last year I blogged about the “Advent Conspiracy” where families cut their holiday spending and re-direct the money toward a fund that provides clean water for people in Africa. that’s another cool option.
but if you have friends who would be hurt if you didn’t get them something, why not buy some fair trade items? It’s a way to educate people on the plight of the poor while giving them a cool gift at the same time.
Thanks for spreading the word! It’s great to hear your heart and this issue, and what you’re doing about it. Please keep in touch and let us know how your Christmas is different this year.
Trade as One
Hey, not sure who will read this, but you never know how God works. We had an event at our church this year that specifically highlighted fair trade goods. Our Women’s Ministry planned an outreach function and created an open-air market place where fair trade vendors from our area could sell their goods. We marketed the event to our gals as a way to bring unsaved friends and neighbors to ‘shop’ for Christmas, all the while helping third world micro-enterprises. We had finger foods that they could grab while shopping, and after about an hour and a half we pulled everyone together to hear a wonderful speaker share her testimony about the real gift of Christmas – the birth of our Savior. It was a great success. We had over 300 women attend, and the vendors sold an unbelievable amount of goods- they were thrilled. One vender told us they met their annual budget in just one night! God blessed all around. I can’t take credit for the idea, I found the idea through the Women’s Ministry in Chuck Swindol’s church a few years ago.
Thanks for highlighting our opportunity to support the great work of these fair trade ministries!