Sunday, December 03, 2006

Tips for Holiday Shopping with Ethical Considerations in Mind

As the holiday season descends (or rather POUNCES) on us, I found a few cool sites online to check out that you might find helpful as you think about where to shop for gifts for others that reflect ethical considerations. For example, you could buy green/recycled products made into cool stuff, fair traded goods, organic, vegan, handmade products, etc.

  • Ten Thousand Villages (”Fairly Traded Handicrafts from Around the World”)
    (I’ve seen their stuff in Cambridge area and I support their fairly-traded, BEAUTIFUL handicrafts from around the world theme and I thought I’d add it in. They even have gift registries so if you wanted to have a wedding gift registry, consider this place. Personally, I love beautiful, ethnic stuff. They make for great gifts for those with exotic or artsy tastes.)

  • Greater Good (”Show Where it Matters”) affiliated with Oxfam and found through a link on Oxfam site
    (They have some really FABULOUS, beautiful ethnic stuff priced pretty reasonably as well as mainstream popular vendors. You can also give unusual gifts like $40 to pay a teacher's salary in Afghanistan or $90 for business grants for rural African women. Certain products that you purchased will then translate to a percentage of profit going to a cause of your choice posted on the site.)

  • Oxfam Unwrapped
    (Gifts that help others around the world. Need an unusual gift? How about a camel or a water pump? What about a coffee mill or an emergency toilet? This holiday season, give a gift that helps people in need.)

These sites below were mentioned on the MSNBC "Today" show and listed on its site:

  • Viva Terra (”Eco Living with Style”)
    (I think they are one of the more tasteful and interesting sites listed here with some really nice products that you guys might want to give to folks. I like their dining and kitchenware particularly as well as their home decor items in particular. This site is geared toward women site visitors or gifts for women.)

  • Hip & Zen (”Modern Lifestyle Products that Nurture the Body and Soul”)
    (If you’re seeking some nice clothes and accessories for women and some items for men, babies from many brand collections, this is the place since they have a larger collection for women than most of the other sites on this list. They have limited collection of home decor items though. A great feature of their site is that it indicates whether a particular product is fairly traded, recycled, vegan, handmade, natural, organic, etc. They offer some urban punky cool stuff like laptop bag from recycled movie posters.)

  • Branch (”Sustainable Design for Living”)
    (looks like a pretty nice site with some good options)

  • Our Green House
    (eco-friendly baby products and stuff for an eco-friendly home if you have a kid or want to give gifts to someone with children or for baby showers)

  • GreenKarat (”Ecologically Responsible Jewelry”)
    (some nice jewelry designs that you can buy for yourself or for others. They can customize a jewelry design to your specs I think)

  • Earth Friendly Finds

  • Green Feet (”The Planet’s Homestore”)


(Of course, another cool idea is to also shop from local artists to support grassroots artists which I like to do as well :))
** I don’t get paid for any endorsements above so these are impartial suggestions based on things I thought people might find useful along with my commentary on these sites after reviewing them a little.. :P

- Janet Si-Ming Lee
Principal Designer, Siming Cybercreative

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