The holiday season has arrived! And with it has come the annual shopping frenzy. One way to rise above what can feel like a glut of consumerism is to give and ask for mindful gifts. We at the UUA Washington Office have compiled a list of some of our favorite holiday gifts that support social justice and environmental causes. Happy shopping!
Lisa – I was born without a thumb and some fingers. Luckily, my parents were wealthy enough to pay for reconstructive surgery. So my favorite organization this winter is Love Without Boundaries, which lets you sponsor surgeries for children in China who are unable to afford surgery for birth defects.
Alex – Clothes dryers are the most wasteful and expensive home appliance. A clothes drying rack (made from reclaimed wood) can save over $1500 a year in energy costs. Also, consider a composter for your favorite gardener. But do your research—consider how much space and energy you can put into your compost pile before you plop down the money.
Grace – Earth Mama, Angel Baby has a variety of all-natural products for both mother and child. Their lovely gift baskets are perfect for an expecting or new mother.
Adam – Give a subscription to GOOD Magazine, and read about people and businesses that are changing the world. 100% of the subscription fee goes to the charitable organization of your choice.
Shopping For Others – For that loved one who already has everything, why not give a gift in his or her name? Gift It Up lists organizations that let you cover the cost of shipping antibiotics to 100 patients in Gaza, or pay for one night of shelter for a BGLT survivor of domestic violence. You can give ducks, honeybees, or cows through Heifer International. You can even use Heifer International to register for weddings and anniversaries
Sponsor An Animal – A great gift for children and animal lovers! When you “adopt” a sea animal through Oceana, not only will you help protect its habitat, but you’ll also receive an animal-shaped cookie cutter and sugar cookie recipe for the holidays. With Defenders of Wildlife, sponsors receive an animal photo as well as a plush toy.
Fair Trade and Sweatshop-Free – Just want to give a pair of socks or a sweater? Check out the International Labor Forum’s handy-dandy 2008 Shop With a Conscience Consumer Guide. The Fair Trade Federation maintains an awesome search engine to help you find fair trade and/or women-owned businesses in your area.
Good Eats – Give a share in a CSA—Community Supported Agriculture. Local farms sell subscriptions for a year or a growing season, and will deliver boxes of fresh, locally grown vegetables right to your door.