Thanksgiving is over – cue the Christmas shopping. I suppose that’s how the whole black Friday thing got started. People woke up on the Friday after Thanksgiving and thought, “Oh my stars, Christmas is just four weeks away. I’d better start shopping!”
What if, however, instead of running around frantically from store to store you could sit quietly next to the fire drinking hot cocoa while ordering gifts that would be loved by the people on your list AND benefit others at the same time? Bonus, right? For the past several months I’ve been gathering information to help you do just that.
The Giving Keys
When I saw a Facebook post about “The Giving Keys” I was intrigued. The Giving Keys exists to employ men and women transitioning out of homelessness to make jewelry out of repurposed keys. The jewelry is sold and shared around the world. Each key is unique and carries a message like HOPE, STRENGTH, DREAM or COURAGE.
The Noonday Collection features gorgeous jewelry, scarves, purses and other accessories. And, the great thing about this company is that so many people benefit from their sales. Noonday Collection partners with artisan businesses in developing countries to create an opportunity for vulnerable women allowing them to earn a sustainable income and become leaders in their communities.
What I especially love is that the name of the company – Noonday – comes from Isaiah 58:10 “and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” Cool, huh?
The woman who started the Bravelets company did so out of a need in her own life. Her mom had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and she wanted to create something that would remind her and her mom, sister, and dad to be brave in the days leading up to her mom’s mastectomy. Thus, she created a simple bracelet engraved with the words “Be Brave.”
These days they sell way more than simple bracelets although admittedly it’s pretty much all jewelry. But, here’s the cool part. Ten dollars of every purchase goes to help the cause of your choice. Simply search for the cause of your choosing and you’ll see multiple options. There is an extensive list of causes and/or medical conditions to choose from or you can create a fundraiser of your own. I should clarify that this is a for-profit company but they do promise that $10 from every purchase will go to the cause of your choice. Maybe there is someone you know who could use a reminder to be brave.
Fair Trade Designs
I know there hasn’t been much on this list specifically for men but you’ll find a few at this website. And by a few, I mean nine. Fair trade, charitable or otherwise, let’s face it, it’s just not easy to shop for men. Again, you’ll find scarves, jewelry, tote bags, winter hats and more, but my favorite item is their socks. Though there are only four designs they are super fun and each pair serves a specific purpose: socks to fight hunger, educate children, plant trees and combat HIV.
Feed My Starving Children
Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) is one organization that is near and dear to my heart. John and I have traveled to Swaziland twice to work with Children’s Cup. All of the kids at the Children’s Cup care points are fed through FMSC manna packs. In fact, children all over the world are fed through this program which is why I was excited to see they have a marketplace where you can purchase items which will benefit those hungry kids. Some of the items are made in the United States and some are made in countries that benefit from their feeding programs – such as Swaziland.
I have purchased a number of things from the amazing Timbali Crafts Women on trips to Africa and now I can get them right through FMSC even when I can’t catch a flight to Swaziland to pick them up! I recently received a Timbali Shoulder Bag as a gift and I absolutely love it. It fits on my shoulder comfortably and is big enough to hold my laptop without it sticking out the top. And get this, the purchase of one bag helps provide 80 meals! EIGHTY! They also sell ornaments, wall hangings, garden art and beautiful jewelry.
All of the gifts on these webpages are what I like to call a win/win. The person receiving the gift wins and the organization it benefits wins. In the case where vulnerable women and children also benefit, I think it’s safe to say it’s a win/win/win. Now doesn’t that just make Christmas shopping much more fun?