SustainaMom notes out that there are 122 days until Christmas...
Despite the fact that the temperature is still hovering around 100 degrees, I'm starting to think forward to the holidays. I want to be organized, systematic, thoughtful and deliberate when it comes to gifts this year.
In 2005 (before I became a mom) I had all my holiday shopping done in October. Last year, I didn't start shopping until December 10th. Can you guess which year I felt more proud of the gifts — and my holiday impact on the environment?!
Granted, the volume of our gift giving has dropped dramatically since the economy fell apart in 2008, so our holidays are probably more eco-friendly. We've also given our son many gifts that were handed down to us or purchased from Craig's List. Yes, we go shopping in the hand-me-down closet for presents to wrap "from Mama and Daddy." Is that horrible? It certainly improves our holiday environmental impact and said kiddo loves the toys!
I had grand plans for more do-it-yourself gifts this year, but despite my hope that I would master knitting, I don't have the time for even a single dishcloth at my current knitting speed. So I'm going to focus on Mama-and-Kid projects for grandparent gifts. Last year, we made handprint snowman ornaments. I'm working with my sister and my cousins to get all of our kids together to make handprint canvas bags for the grandmothers and great-grandmothers.
I also want to invest some time to find new companies that I want to support when it comes to buying gifts. Companies with missions beyond profit, whether that mission be advocating for fair trade or upcycling trash. Here are a few I've come across...
Gifts for the Socially Conscious:
- Sseko Designs: Young women in Uganda have difficulty finding fair work in the 9 months between secondary school and university. Sseko Designs hires recent grads to make beautiful sandals — a way to fund their education so they can become doctors, lawyers, and teachers. The company creates opportunity for women to fund their dreams, which creates opportunity for them to lead their country.
- One World Projects pegs itself as a marketplace for fair trade, socially & environmentally conscious gifts. For example, an artisan group in El Salvador makes gorgeous purses from old tires. An Indian artisan group sells recycled metal bowls, including one made from old bicycle chains.
- Roost Home Furnishings makes a beautiful vase from old magazines.
- Smart Glass Recycled Jewelry upcycles glass bottles into amazing, wearable works of art.
- C Glass turns shattered pieces of glass into jewelry.
- Doormats made from excess flipflop material.
- Indoor/outdoor rug made from recycled plastic bottles.
- And I can spend hours looking for gifts on Etsy. Just try a search for "upcycled" there.
Where do you go for kid craft-gift project ideas, unique/upcycled gifts, or gifts by companies that support humanitarian efforts?