Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fair Trade Stocking Stuffers

I recently went shopping online for some fair trade stocking stuffers (at our house, both kids and adults get goodies in their stockings) and I figured I might as well share some ideas with you all since I'd already done the legwork. :-)

Friendship Bracelet Trio from Trade As One, $12.00

No stocking would be complete without chocolate!
These Organic, Vegan, Fair Trade Peanut Butter Bites ($0.65 each) are my favorite indulgence from my favorite chocolatier, Sjaaks!

I think these Madero Mod Mirrors would please anyone from young to old - from Global Girlfriends, $12.00

How about a sweet barrette from The Hunger Site for just $2.95?

I know gelt is a Hanukkah thing and I'm talking about Christmas stockings here, but to me (and my five-year-old son), gelt is festive and fun no matter what holiday we're celebrating.
Hanukkah Gelt from Sweet Earth Chocolates, $7.50 for a bag of 15 pieces

This Galaxy Bracelet, also from Trade As One, was very popular at my gift party last weekend - it's prettier in person than in the photo, $19.50 (matching necklace also available).

For the tea aficionado in your house, how about some loose leaf Masala Chai from Art of Tea? $10.00 for 3 oz. (approx. 45 cups) - this is one of my personal faves.

I'll let you in on a little secret - Santa's definitely going to be leaving this adorable Rosebud Bracelet in my stocking this year! On sale for $11.40, also from Trade As One.

My son loooves his hackey sacks from UPAVIM Crafts, and they are just $3.50 each!

Of course, gift certificates are always a popular choice for stockings, and most fair trade sellers offer them. To select from a list of my favorite fair trade retailers, just head to the right hand margin here on the blog and check under the heading "Some of my Favorite Fair Trade Online Shops".

And finally, what stocking would be complete without some candy canes?
Organic Candy Canes by Pure Fun at Natural Candy Store, $3.99 for a box of 12

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fair Trade Gift Baskets

If you're feeling the time crunch as Christmas approaches, why not cross some names off of your gift giving list quickly and easily by purchasing a few fair trade gift baskets? I've rounded up a few of my favorites to get you started -

Unity Fair Trade Marketplace has as nice selection of fair trade gift baskets; one of my favorites is Chai and Chocolate for just $22.95.

The Global Exchange Online Store also has some great baskets - their Aromatherapy Gift Pack would make a thoughtful selection for a candle loving friend - $26.00.

Next on the list is the SERRV store, where my top pick from the gift basket department would have to be their Winter Warmth Basket, priced at $22.00 (I sampled some of the Divine mint chocolate at my party last weekend and it was really good).

Also from SERVV, I think this sweet little bag is a great choice for those on a budget at just $18.00.

Gift baskets have the added advantage of being able to be shipped directly to your friend or loved one, which can really be a life saver in these final weeks before Christmas. I avoid the mall at all costs during this time of year (actually, pretty much year-round). :-)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Just a quick post to apologize for the lack of content this past week... I always get super swamped with work this time of year, plus I've been really busy prepping for my fair trade party (tomorrow!). If you haven't already done so, please be sure to follow A Gentler World on Facebook; when I get overwhelmed like I am right now, I tend to post quick links and blurbs there instead of publishing full blog posts.

Hope you all are enjoying your holiday season! :-)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Video Break

I'm working on a post about fair trade clothing and thought I'd share this video as a warm-up for my upcoming topic...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Party Time

Well, I decided to follow my own advice and host a combination fair trade shopping party and fair trade chocolate tasting. If you're local (Humboldt County, CA), I hope you will join me on Sunday, December 5th for some excellent shopping and tasty chocolate - email me for directions!

I've already received the merchandise from Project Have Hope, Trade As One, and Mayan Hands, and everything is absolutely gorgeous! I've been doing a little advance shopping already. :-)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Fair Trade Christmas Ornaments

The holiday season has provided me with a generous bounty of blog post ideas! Today let's talk about Christmas tree ornaments - they are fun, inexpensive, and everyone loves them. Buy them for your own tree and grab a few more to decorate the tops of your packages with this year! Here are some of my favorites -

Peacock ornament with traditional zardozi beading and embroidery from India.
(There are many other beautiful animal designs also available from Greenheart.)

Beaded reindeer ornament from MayaWorks.

Ceramic star ornaments from Partners for Just Trade.

Blue lotus ornament from SERRV (tons more cute designs here!).

Resplendent Rooster Ornament from SERRV
(note to hubby: I want one pretty please!)

Gold Star Garland from Trade As One

Haitian Straw Stars from One World Project

Llama Christmas Ornament made from reclaimed rubber from DIGS

Hummingbird Gourd Ornament from TurningLife

Hand Embroidered Ornaments from Unity Fair Trade Marketplace

Friday, November 26, 2010

Giveaway Results

Thanks so much to all who entered my fair trade chocolate giveaway! It was fun to read your responses and learn a little more about you all.

Congratulations to Aimee, the lucky winner of the chocolate bars!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Say No to the Mall!

This year, why not spend the day after Thanksgiving relaxing with your loved ones instead of getting up at four in the morning to rush around town like a maniac, fighting the crushing horde of mindless shoppers for that last five dollar sweater?

Not only will you avoid the aggravation of dealing with crowded stores; you'll also be voting with your dollars - telling manufacturers and retailers that you care about fair trade, and want to see it become more widely available. And the gifts that you find will be beautiful and truly unique, and will bring joy and positive energy to your recipients.

Wondering where to start? Right here, of course! I've got you covered, with the Fair Trade Federation's 2010 Holiday Gift Guide, Fair Trade USA's Holiday Gift Guide, the Fair Trade Federation's searchable database, as well as with my own fair trade gift ideas - under $30 and over $30.

If there's something specific that you're looking for, feel free to leave a comment here and I'll do my best to help you track it down. Happy shopping!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

10 Fair Trade Holiday Gift Ideas Over $30

Welcome to part two of my fair trade gift guide! If you're one of the lucky few in this economy who can afford to buy holiday gifts over $30.00 this year, this list is for you... happy shopping!

Tub of Organic Fair Trade Vegan Peanut Butter Bites by Sjaaks Chocolates - $65.00
Because every gift list should begin with chocolate!

Flowers For Good by Organic Bouquet - prices range from $44.95 to $69.95
Dozens of different bouquets available, each benefiting a different charity.

Fireworks Large Lacquer Vase by Ten Thousand Villages - $88.00
Lust... just lust.

Fair Trade Organic Vegan Chocolate Gift Basket (scroll down; it's the second from the bottom) by Garuda International - $76.00
I'm in a sugar coma just looking at the picture...

Amazon Finger Puppet Set by Fair Trade Winds - $38.00
Could these be any cuter?

Mens Organic V-Neck Sweater by Fair Indigo - $59.00
A simple, timeless sweater for your blue-eyed sweetie.

Envirosax Bloom Collection by Fair Indigo - $38
This set of five reuseable grocery bags comes with its own handy-dandy pouch!

Vegan Leather Tote bag by Fair Indigo - $79
What can I say, I'm a sucker for purple, and a sucker for purses (seriously - you should see how many I own!).

Coffee Sampler Basket by Equal Exchange - $57.00
Five popular blends to sample, attractively packaged in a fair trade woven basket.

Grape Garnet and Recycled Sterling Silver Ring by McFarland Designs - $63.00
Okay, I hope this doesn't come across as shameless self-promotion, but it just so happens that I make fair trade jewelry for a living, so why not throw in one of my own designs, right? ;-)

Remember, when you choose to give fair trade gifts this year, your gift does triple duty - first, the gift itself of course brings joy to your loved one; second, it supports workers and artisans around the globe; and third, it will hopefully inspire curiosity and discussion among your family and friends, giving you an excellent opportunity to explain why fair trade is so very important, especially during this magical time of year.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Video Break: Voice of a Mountain

I discovered this film about a year ago, and have watched it several times since then. I find it to be especially relevant and poignant because the setting is Guatemala and my son is Guatemalan, but I think even without that personal connection, it's just a really powerful documentary that does an amazing job of personalizing the hopes and the struggles of some of the people affected by the fair trade movement.

Maybe tonight you could postpone watching Supernanny or whatever other crap is on TV on a Friday night and watch this instead. I'm pretty sure you'll be glad you did.
Voice of a Mountain is a video documentary of the lives of rural Guatemalan coffee farmers who took up arms against their government in a civil war that lasted 36 years. This documentary explores Guatemala's dark history from the perspective of those who saw armed revolution as their only hope for change in a poverty-ridden nation under years of military dictatorship. Ex-combatants talk about the bleak reality of the country that led to their involvement in the war, and the response of genocide from the Guatemalan government against its people. The documentary gives insight into their motives for joining an armed conflict as interviews reveal personal accounts of struggle, hope, tragedy, and the fruits of their resistance.

The signing of the Peace Accords between the Guatemalan Government and Guerrilla forces in 1996 officially ended the longest civil war in Latin American history. Voice of a Mountain documents the reality of rural Guatemala in the wake of the civil war. It looks at the ideals and goals of patriots who fought against their government with the goal of changing their country and asks if they achieved what they were fighting for. The societal conditions that led to civil war are compared with the reality of three rural communities in present day Guatemala in an attempt to discover if conditions for the majority of those living in the country today have changed since the signing of the Peace Accords. The day-to-day realities of these three different communities who find their livelihood intricately connected to agricultural labor are documented, as they cope with the struggles of poverty, increasing debt, decreasing job opportunities, and the temptation to migrate north in search of a better life for their children.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

10 Fair Trade Holiday Gift Ideas Under $30

Hello holiday shoppers! I know you're on a budget, but don't let that stop you from spreading the fair trade goodness this year - I've put together a list of my top 10 picks for fair trade gifts under $30, and it's kind of ridiculous how much fun I had just window shopping! There's so much great fair trade merchandise available - it just takes some time to find it all. Hopefully this list will get you started.

Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comment section, and remember, when your loved one thanks you for the beautiful/thoughtful/delicious gift, take a moment to highlight the fair trade aspect of what you bought - after all, knowledge is the most precious gift of all, right? :-)

Fair Trade Sampler by Equal Exchange - $27.00
A little bit of everything to start the day off right - coffee, tea, and hot cocoa!

Simple but beautiful, and I really love the cuff design.

Organic Fair Trade Vegan Chocolate Truffle Assortment by Sjaaks Chocolates - $11.95
I buy about a half-dozen of these every year before Christmas and keep them around the house for last minute gifts or to round out a gift basket as I'm rushing out the door. They make excellent teachers' gifts as well.

Men's Do Justice Black T-Shirt by Trade As One - $18.50
Other sizes and designs available, including for women and kids.

Women's Striped Scarf by Mayan Hands - $18.00
Five vibrant colors available.

Hanukkah Candles (45 pack) by Global Exchange - $24.00
How can you not love candles this colorful?

Funky Monkeys by Bambootique - $22.00 each
These are too cute for words!

Blue Dot Organic Reusable Lunch Tote by Fair Indigo - $25.00
Perfect for just about anyone, from the hard-to-buy-for tween in your life to your hardworking, brown-bagging spouse.

Squeaky the Pig Organic Stuffed Animal by Fair Indigo - $25.00
Many other animals also available.

$25.00 Gift Certificate
You've heard of Kiva, right? You loan money directly to small business owners all over the world, and when the repay you, you can lend the money out again... well, in this case, your gift recipient gets to choose for him or herself - it's a charitable gift with the added fun factor of giftee participation!

I hope you enjoyed these selections, and that you are feeling inspired to make this holiday season a fair trade one! And don't worry, if you've got money burning a hole in your pocket, I'll be back in a day or two with my top ten slightly more expensive gift pics.