Tag Archives: gifts

Ethical Gifts for Last-Minute Shoppers

I feel like a broken record repeating this over and over, but it’s simply the truth: the only meaningful and permanent solution to poverty and hunger is the opportunity for fair and meaningful work. If workers are paid a fair living wage, products will cost what they should (which is more than we’re used to paying for the kind of fast-fashion that uses child labor and unsafe conditions). If products cost what they should, we’ll do less impulse buying and be less wasteful, which is better for the environment. It would also make us more particular about quality, and more likely to maintain the things we have rather than throwing them out and replacing them.

So let’s say that you’ve committed to do your part and buy things that were created by workers in safe conditions who were paid a fair wage. *Taps microphone* Um, ladies and gentlemen? We’re down to just ten shopping days before Christmas…

A lot of ethical brands are online, and unless we’re talking about Amazon, which owns the American package delivery industry, you might not be able to get online orders in time for Christmas. So what is the last-minute ethical shopper to do?

  • Gift Cards – the obvious first idea is gift cards. They’re probably the most popular gift to give over the holiday season, and many retailers let you buy them online, some even offering e-delivery.
  • Chocolate and Coffee – Chocolate and coffee are products that make great gifts and which are widely available. Even your local grocery store probably has Endangered SpeciesEndangered Species chocolate and a number of fair trade coffee brands. Look for the fair trade logo on the packaging. Similarly, if your favorite local coffee shop uses fair trade beans (and Rainforest Alliance certification DOES include fair trade in their requirements!), a gift card to their location is another great option.
  • Search up a brick and mortar store near you – There are physical shops that specialize in fair trade merchandise. Search the internet, or check out this list.
  • Buy American – Items made in the United States have to adhere to American labor laws, so those products are made by employees who meet American safety, child labor, and minimum wage standards. Whether those things are enough is a different debate, but at least you know your American-made products weren’t created by children in a sweatshop.
  • Buy Homemade – Your friend who knits, the lady who sells jewelry at the craft fair, and your neighbor who makes her own soap are all retailers who set their own prices and pay themselves what they think is a fair wage for their materials and time. Supporting hand crafters and local small businesses keeps money in the community and helps them build their business. Don’t forget to leave reviews and comments on social media, too.
  • Don’t throw out the big box – There are fair trade options at big box retailers. Amazon can ship Prime products up to the last minute, and they do carry fair trade items. Just search the site for “fair trade” and be sure you check estimated delivery dates.

Wishing you the best of luck on your last-minute shopping. Merry Christmas!