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Ethical Products to Give For Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time to think of family and friends, but take the time to think about others. This isn’t just about what you buy, but who you buy it for. Here are some great ethical gifts to give for Christmas.

Rethink What’s Needed

Ethical Christmas presentsA part of the problem with Christmas as most of us celebrate is is the emphasis on consumerism. Take the time to really think about what makes a good gift for those you love. Think about what you ask for when people want to know what to get for you.

Fair Trade Products

Take the time to think of those who made the products you’re buying and look into Fair Trade options. You can find Fair Trade clothing, chocolate, coffee, jewelry, sporting equipment, toys and much more.

Amazon.com Fair Trade Merchandise
Gifts With Humanity
The Ultimate Green Store
Earth Divas

Help Someone Else

Perfect for that person who has everything, give a gift in someone’s name. You can use this as an example for your children too. Make sure it’s a cause they agree with, and that the charity makes good use of the money you send.

Charities that provide livestock are popular, as are programs which allow you to lend money to entrepreneurs.

Charity Navigator
Charity Watch

Sign Up for a Food Co-op

Why not sign up for fresh produce from a food co-op? Check Local Harvest and other directories for co-ops available in your area. Not only do you get wonderful food, you get a variety you may not be used to, which encourages trying new recipes.

Heirloom Seeds

For the gardener in your life, think about providing some interesting heirloom seeds to grow. This may be more of a stocking stuffer than a full gift for some, but it can still be a lot of fun.

How Can You Avoid Consumerism This Holiday Season?

Halloween is just the beginning of the holiday season. Stores have long since put out Christmas decorations for sale and many children are already thinking about what they’d like for Christmas. Is there any way to avoid excessive gifts and so forth throughout the holiday season?

Remember Why You Celebrate

No matter the holiday you’re celebrating, remember why you’re celebrating it and think less of the things involved. Holidays of all sorts are celebrated for special reasons, and sometimes these reasons get lost in the drive to participate in the way family and friends have come to expect. This often leads to too much stuff being bought and a lot of stress to make everything just right.

Focus on People, Not Things

What really makes a holiday celebration a success? It’s usually not so much the gifts or even the food. It’s the people. Your best holiday celebrations are shared with people you care about. There may be some arguments and hurt feelings, but there’s a reason why holidays are such a focus for getting family together. Enjoy it as best you can.

Agree to Limit Gifts

There are many ways you can control how much is spent on holiday presents. You can agree to dollar amount limits. You can agree to shop at resale stores. You can agree to give each other things you’re done with that the other would like. You can draw names so that each person only needs to shop for a few.

Handmade gifts are another great option, especially if you have a lot of creative people in your family. Handmade gifts have a lot more personal meaning to them than anything you can give from the store.

You can also agree to simply exchange holiday greetings with extended family rather than gifts. This can be extremely welcome if finances are tight for some families.

Find something that works for your family. It may take some time – sometimes one or more people will agree at first, then fall prey to the urge to continue on as before, leaving others feeling as though they haven’t done enough. It takes a lot to make a limit on holiday shopping work, but it can be done if all participants really want it to.

As for your own children, they really don’t need a ton of presents. In my family, the stuff grandparents give them take care of most of that urge kids have to unwrap presents, while my husband’s and my main gift to them is a shopping trip with one or both of us. A budget is set, and they get to pick a toy and some new clothes, then we head out for a treat. Simple and they beg for that to be their gift each year right now. Kids love it when your time is a part of their gift. I love that the clothes they’d need anyhow can be a gift.

Give to Charity in Someone Else’s Name

A gift doesn’t have to be something that sits in the recipient’s house. It can be given to a charity the recipient approves of.

Think about programs that allow you to buy schoolbooks or livestock for people in need, or that bring clean water to communities without clean water nearby. There are a lot of great charities that help with the specific things communities need.

Think About the Food You Buy

Food is a big part of many holiday celebrations. Everyone has their favorites and their traditions. Some ways, it’s harder to change food traditions than gift giving traditions, but you can make it work.

Start with food sources. What can you buy that was grown or made locally, free range or organic? How much can you make from scratch? Can you avoid processed foods?

It’s not always easy to improve your food sources. It can be downright expensive or impractical, depending on what’s available in your area and your budget. Just do what you can.

It takes time to make major changes to how your family celebrates holidays, but the benefits are great. Not only do you give things that are more wanted, but you get less stress and more time to truly enjoy the holidays and the time with your family.

Remember to Give to Charity

This is a great time of year to give to charity. Actually, any time is a great time, but this is the time of year many of us think about it. So do it.

It could be a gift to that relative who really doesn’t want anything more. If you know his or her favorite charity, make a donation in your relative’s name.

Take some time with your children and help out at a local charity. It’s a great way to show them that they can help out with a favorite cause. It may take some searching to find something age appropriate, depending on the age of your children. Many organizations have a minimum age limit for volunteers.

Then, for your own sake and to give to others, declutter your home and give the reusable items to charity. Help your children to do likewise.

It’s often hard to get kids to give up toys, even ones they no longer use, but it is possible. Here are some ways to go about it.

1. Talk about why you clean out the excess toys.

Many children these days have far more toys than they could possibly play with. Others have very few because their families can’t afford to give them much. Sending old toys to the thrift shop means that families with less money can afford to give their children something fun to play with.

That’s what works well on my kids most times. I don’t buy a lot of toys for them, but they get a lot of them as gifts.

2. Make two piles and have your child choose between them.

This works for getting rid of toys or just storing the excess away for a time. Be sure that you allow trades between the piles for particular favorites, and be very clear on what is happening to each pile. Try to keep trades even between the piles, so that the “stay” pile doesn’t keep growing.

3. Sort them out yourself.

I’m not too fond of this option personally – I like my kids to be involved in the decision. Sometimes it’s necessary when the piles of unused toys get too extreme and you aren’t getting any cooperation on getting rid of toys.

If you do this, be prepared for some anger when missing toys get noticed. Kids can come up with a reason why any toy, no matter how neglected, was important. It may help to discreetly store toys taken this way for a time before sending to your local thrift store. This allows for any serious mistakes to be corrected. Or you can be firm about the matter and point out how many other toys are still all over the house.

However you go about it, make sure your kids see you giving up things as well. Children shouldn’t feel as though they’re the only ones having to give things up for others.