I was planning to go out and finish my christmas shopping today, but it’s 34 and raining, and supposed to get colder. which means the rain will be turning to ice or sleet. So, I’ll do more Christmas baking, and get some work done. And maybe do some on-line shopping.

Everyone I talk to seems to be scaling back for Christmas, not going crazy with their spending, or making cookies instead of buying stuff.  I’m cutting back, but I’m trying whenever possible to buy Fair Trade items. (Learn more at www.fairtradesource.org)

Here’s a socially conscious way to buy some really cool items: visit www.tradeasone.com. Trade As One is a fair trade organization that links third-world artisans with customers. Often, the creative artists who make jewelry, purses and so on are doing so as an alternative to prostitution or slavery. You can help support them by buying the products–which are very cool looking.

Another great organization with a similar mission is BeadforLife, a non-profit organization that helps impoverished Ugandan women lift their families out of poverty by creating jewelry from recycled paper. The jewelry is really cool.

Everything you buy helps someone who might otherwise be destitute to earn a living. As my former pastor John Ortberg says, it’s sactified shopping. And you don’t even have to go out in the rain/snow to do it.