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8 Fair Trade Stocking Stuffers

8 Fair Trade Stocking Stuffers

“Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.”

O Holy Night by Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure

Christmas is a time to celebrate and be joyous, but that leaves no excuse for trampling anyone, despite what Black Friday shoppers seem to think. During this season of Advent, we should be particularly conscious of the needs of others. ‘Tis a season of giving, not grabbing. This year, many people will spend Christmas on the farm or in the factory where they are enslaved. They will have no time off for the holiday and no Christmas bonus. Remember these people as you celebrate with your friends and family and think of them when you do your shopping.

Fair trade purchases ensure that the money you spend goes back to the laborers, helping them to support themselves and their families. What better way to show your kids or friends that Jesus is really the reason for the season than by giving them gifts that seem to say, “truly He taught us to love one another”? What better way to give back this year than by being a part of breaking the chains of our slave brothers and sisters?

That is why I’ve come up with 8 Fair Trade Stocking Stuffers. I hope you enjoy this list of ideas!

1. Theo Holiday Chocolate Bars

These cute and tasty fair-trade treats are available at Kroger in the organic section, on Amazon and at theochocolate.com. The chocolate industry is a huge battle ground of modern-day slavery and buying products that use ethically produced cocoa is important.

2. Justin’s Chocolate Hazel Nut Spread

Justin’s products are not certified fair trade, but I believe they use fair trade cocoa. Stuff a stocking with these easy-squeezy packets of Nutella-alternative or a whole jar for that crazy fanatic! Justin’s various delicacies are available Kroger, on Amazon and at justins.com

3. Gorgeous earrings from Noonday Collection

Noonday Collection is a huge fair trade company with lots of beautiful products, but their earrings strike me as a particularly nice thing to pull out of one’s stocking. Gift these to a sister or friend and they’ll be impressed with your excellent taste. ;)

4. Ornaments 4 Orphans

Pink-Circles-Elephant-400x400

To quote part of their mission statement, Ornaments 4 Orphans stands to: “empower indigenous artisans through the fair-trade purchase of their products, invest in the holistic care of orphaned children with our profits and provide customers with a seasonal opportunity to purchase items that bless others.” We bought one of their glass beaded stars this year. Really lovely!

5. Wood Block Stamps from Connected Goods

wood-block-stamp-hummingbird

I had a really hard time deciding what to share from Connected Goods. They have a huge selection of beautiful products. However, these stamps struck me as unique and special stocking stuffers, so I’m displaying the hummingbird stamp. I also love the goldfish!

6. Toys from Come Together Trading

Come Together Trading started right here in Texas! They have products from all of the world in their Tyler store and also sell online. One thing I love from them is their toys. The wooden toy tractor, the miniature animals and the finger puppet nativities are all adorable. I gave my mom a set of their bird chimes last year…very cute.

wooden-toy-tractor-5

7. Fair Trade “Reese’s” Alternatives

I don’t know about you, but there’s just something about the combination of peanut butter and chocolate that brightens my day. We are no longer buying our beloved Reese’s because they are likely made with unethically produced cocoa, but we’ve found some delicious alternatives. Try Newman’s Own (they’re not just for salad dressing anymore) or Justin’s. Buy them in the organic section your grocery store or online.

8. Punjammies!

PRIYA Capri Front

I really can’t say enough about Punjammies. Adorable pajamas made by women who have been rescued out of forced prostitution in India…well, I wrote a whole review of them for Adornabelle! The girls in my family love these. I would not be opposed to pulling another pair of these out of my stocking on Christmas morning!

How about you? Have you found ethical stocking stuffers this year? Please share!

Other Resources:

“All’s Fair” (my Pinterest board for all things fairly traded!)

Gifts that Give Back shopping guide at rageagainsttheminivan.com

Ethical Shopping Guide at theartofsimple.net

Products Everly Loves

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table talk and a new series

fall colors

The meal was a simple one of eggs, bacon and fried potatoes but the preparation had been almost strenuous. My dad had fried the bacon on a skillet on our grill, my mother had fried the chunks of red potatoes one little batch at a time at the stove and I had scrambled eighteen eggs (which barely landed a pile on each plate.) The meal had been gobbled, glasses of milk and pomegranate juice guzzled and coffee sipped. My mom leaned her face on her palm.

“Does anyone have any ideas for Thanksgiving this year? I know we’re all thinking about Christmas already, but we need to remember to be thankful first.”

We glanced at each other over sticky forks. Jubilee started off on a rabbit trail about what she wants to get everyone for Christmas. “You did say something about Christmas, didn’t you?”

Eventually we circled back around and began to open up. Jubilee ran and grabbed a few leaves off of our thanksgiving tree and we read the verses aloud. My dad begins to speak and soon we were all sharing things we are thankful for: warm clothes, warm water. A homeschool football team. Unusual fall colors (thanks to our Autumnal rainfall!) The benefits of living in a large college town. It’s amazing how a good conversation is sometimes just a question, or a paper leaf, away.

thanksgiving tree

Soon the talk turned to those “less fortunate” and how we might help them by sharing what we’ve been given. Earlier my dad had to told us about the little girl he’d seen in the ER the night before. She suffered a head injury and may never wake from her coma. He tells us her mother is beside herself. We talk about aging out of foster care, about homelessness and abuse. We mention human trafficking, abortion, hunger and jiggers. We talk about slave children on cocoa farms and how every single purchase really does make a difference to somebody.

I begin to share about the lady I’d met just that morning who doesn’t have a sink in her bathroom, and how she told me she was going to spend Thanksgiving at a place where they serve meals to the needy and I how I thought she was going there for a meal, but she is going there to serve. My voice snags at the thought and I stop talking and just wipe away the tears. We are so blessed.

The children ask questions and we travel from Haiti to Latvia to Bryan, Texas in our conversation and we are trying to hammer it into them that, around the corner, down the road, Jesus’ feet need to be walking and His hands need to be healing and that’s us. I tell them about Ann’s talk at Allume and the part where she told us that we’re all Queen Esther-s inside of the palace walls. We’re the only people that can help those begging at the gate.

thanksgiving tree 2

The dishes cease to clank and our stomaches are heavy with (too much) good food. We collect the plates but there are no “fragments to gather” because we’ve licked the platter clean. We cheerfully help each other rinse the grease off under purified water and load the glasses into the shiny dishwasher and pour Mommy’s homemade detergent into the door.

I make my way upstairs in a hurry and open my lap top. There’s this series I’ve been dying to write here but I’ve just been floating down the river of thought gathering things from this bank and that but now I’m tipping over the waterfall and I have to write.

(Would you join me in a short and likely scattered blog series on the idea of “gathering up the fragments”? Thoughts on gratitude and giving? Reflections on Emmanuel and why He came to us?)

Last night as I breathed under my covers, I looked out the big window I’ve stubbornly kept uncovered and marvel at the audacity of the Christmas story. I wonder how many folks going to Christmas parties this year with their cross necklaces and cheery nativity sets and chocolate Advent calendars actually believe the story. Have you thought about it lately?

I mean, God the creator, ruler of the universe, all-knowing and all-powerful, chose to be conceived in the womb of a poor virgin girl, born among livestock and manure in a stable room, raised by a carpenter, rejected, betrayed, tortured and finally butchered naked on a cross at the age of thirty-three.

He who knew no sin knew our sin intimately at that moment. Every evil act, every creepy motive, every cruel word. Every moment of hatred and bloodshed. Every desecration and rebellion. He bore that sin and became it and then gave up His spirit. He was buried in a borrowed tomb and then returned to His dead body after three days to clarify things for us one more time before ascending into Heaven and promising to return for us.

This is not Frosty the Snowman singing, “I’ll be back again someday.” This is The King of Kings promising to return for us. We who refused Him room at the inn. We who started an infanticide in hopes of ending His life. We who called Him crazy. We who betrayed and denied Him. We who pulled out His beard and spit in His face. We who doubted, and doubt still…

The moon has gone behind a cloud and I can hear raindrops plinking on my balcony furniture. I roll over. There’s nothing to see out in the dark and my mind is back at that stable. I’m somewhere between the piglets and the llama, kneeling in the grimy hay. I’m staring at a seemingly ordinary baby and my jaw is dropping in utter confusion. “Why, Jesus? Why would you come for us?”

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14

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the why and how of fair-trade chocolate

halloween is really scary when you're a slave on a cocoa farm

tis the season to stop supporting slavery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Pin these images and spread the word!)

The bitter truth about chocolate is this: it’s not made by an eccentric man with a flying elevator and his happy umpa-lumpas. It’s made by kidnapped children forced into slavery.

When I first learned this, I wanted to ignore it, but somehow I couldn’t. After all, I drank chocolate milk with Hershey’s syrup in it almost every morning and I had since I was four or five. I didn’t want to give that up. As a matter of fact, I was scared to. When I realized that my life-long Hershey’s purchases were paying for slaves, I finally put my foot down. Unable to find any fair-trade chocolate syrup, I gave up my chocolate milk addiction. I lost a little weight and tried not to complain about my lemon water when in fact, I very much missed my old breakfast.

Thankfully, I have discovered ways to continue to enjoy chocolate without throwing my ethics out the window. I would like to say though, that if there was no such thing as fair-trade chocolate, I would have to give up chocolate entirely. There is no excuse for funding companies that blatantly maintain the slave trade.

Many people still don’t realize that mainstream chocolate companies such as Hershey’s, Nestle, Dove, Ghirardelli and Mars purchase their cocoa from The Ivory Coast of Africa where child-slavery is prevalent. Not only this, but these companies have been informed of this atrocity and continue making profit through slavery.

You might hear “child slaves” and wonder if I’m exaggerating. Are we talking about 15-year olds who aren’t technically supposed to be hired but needed the work and were hired secretly? Are we talking about kids working on the family farm after school? No.

We are talking about traffickers kidnapping children from their parents in other African countries, trucking them to the plantations and forcing them to harvest cocoa beans with machetes. We’re talking no chance to go back to school, no understanding of the language, no contact with their parents, no hope.

And all this so I can have my chocolate milk in the morning.

If this bothers you in the least, I have news for you. There is a way to stop slavery. Stop buying from slave-owners. If the whole world stopped buying chocolate, coffee, t-shirts and one-night-stands from slave-owners, slavery would be demolished. In the case of chocolate, one of the most straight-forward slavery operations I know of, we must support the fair-trade companies that are making an effort to stand against slavery.

As a chocolate lover, the discovery of the slavery issue entwined in the cocoa industry did nothing but launch me on a journey to find fair-trade chocolate. I have been on this journey for a couple of years now and, as I munch on this chocolate chip cookie, I shall give you my recommendations. (See? I’m a chocolate addict. It’s kind of a problem.)

1. Don’t give someone a slave for Christmas.

Holidays are no excuse to give in and buy unethically produced chocolate. With a little extra effort your trick-or-treating, Thanksgiving baking and stocking stuffers can all be fair-trade! Of course, fair-trade chocolate is more expensive (think of it as actual price as opposed to slave-produced price) so every bite is a little extra special. Consider passing out non-chocolate candies on Halloween or stuffing your stockings with other items.

2. You can still bake!

For a while, our kitchen was sadly barren of chocolate goodies. Now we bake with fair-trade chocolate quite often. Here are my top picks for baking at this point in my journey:

3. Got those candy munchies?

This past Easter, my sisters and I bought fair-trade chocolate and created several of our favorite Easter basket classics in our own kitchen.We made “Reese’s Eggs” and “Buterfingers” that I promise were better than the store-bought ones. Of course this was extra effort, but it was delicious and well worth it.

However, I don’t always have time to make my own candy. In this case, I might grab a chocolate bar while I’m grocery shopping. My all-time favorite is Green & Black’s milk chocolate almond bar. All of Green & Black’s chocolate bars are delicious and they can be found in the organic section of an ordinary grocery store.

4. Educate yourself..and the rest of the world!

Find out where you can purchase fair-trade chocolate. Adapt your family recipes to use fair-trade chocolate. Share this post on Facebook or Twitter to let others know about this issue and how it can be solved. Watch this short BBC documentary on YouTube and see the real-life story of a slave boy on a cocoa farm. Follow my “All’s Fair” Pinterest board for fair-trade ideas. Use other resources such as The Better World Shopping Guide to make wise purchases.

Remember, “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” -Anna Lappe

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