By Allison Berry
Welp, it's that time of year again: The halls are decked, the lists are being made (and checked twice), and the decisions are mounting about how to make it through the holiday season with minimal stress. For me, "minimal stress" can mean a lot of things, but something that's been weighing heavily on my mind lately is the sheer amount of missed opportunity for making smarter gift-giving decisions.
In the past, my gifting strategy has been as straightforward as they come: I decide who I need to buy something for, then purchase said item at the lowest possible financial cost. But something my ghost of holiday shopping past wasn't considering? The larger impact my purchases were having on the people selling them to me, and even the future generations who would still be living with the discarded packaging the gift came in.
This year, I'm taking a step back and prioritizing gifts that don't just bring joy to the people I'm giving them to, but have either a charitable aspect, or even a smart sustainable feature that can help minimize the negative impact it has on our world. For those of you with similar holiday shopping goals, read on for a list of gifts that will help you give better this holiday season.
A classic tea and honey pairing will never go out of style — especially one from a business like Bee Raw that you can feel good about supporting. The tea itself is single-source from the northern Fujian Province of China, and the accompanying honey is sourced from only wild or organic sources.
Speaking as someone who currently has a stockpile of candles in my pantry, I would personally love to be gifted one of these. The candle itself is simple and is fragranced with essential oils, but the story behind it is so much bigger than that. Each purchase helps provide a living wage to the company's workforce of resettled female refugees who are working to build a brighter life for themselves and their families in the United States.
We all know at least one person who drinks more coffee than they do water — this gift set will be right up their alley. The coffee beans themselves are fair-trade, and everything from the mugs to the coffee scoop to the gift box it all comes in was handmade by artisans from around the world.
The women behind Block Shop Textiles get it right: They're a fully-baked textiles operation that uses small-scale production and believes in fair wages and healthy working conditions for their workers. Plus, every year they invest 5% of their profits into health and empowerment programs in Jaipur. Check out their site for captivating pillows, quilts, scarves, and prints — or just make it easy on yourself and go with this vibrant coral pillow.
As it turns out, it is possible to feel even more relaxed when you're at home in your loungewear. This flowing robe is also from Block Shop Textiles and supports the same community in Jaipur with every purchase, so you can feel that much better about giving the gift of a lazy day on the couch to a loved one.
This adorable rabbit from Hazel Village has plenty of plush friends, in case the kids in your life are more excited by unicorns, fawns, cats, or foxes. Their toys are also ethically made by partners around the world who work to empower artisans with fair wages and job skills, so you can rest easy knowing that this is truly money well spent.
The holiday gifting season isn't complete without something sweet. These malt balls from Askinosie Chocolate won't just make your tastebuds sing — they'll also warm your heart when you hear the company's inspiring story. Started as an effort to bring more transparency to the global process of chocolate production, Askinosie partners with cocoa bean farmers in places like Ecuador and Tanzania, paying them directly as part of their Direct Trade policy, and prioritizing sustainability throughout the farming process.
Another standout from Askinosie Chocolate, this tasting kit contains four chocolate bars plus a flavor wheel and tasting instructions so you can host the chocolate tasting party of your dreams. Or, you know, you don't have to share with anyone at all. And with Askinosie's farmer-first mentality, you can taste easy, knowing your purchase supports communities around the world.