I hope you all had a good time to reflect this Thanksgiving. I love the advent season because it represents that God always comes through on His promises. I also love it because of Christmas shopping. So fun. This weeks suggestion of how to change the world will help you have a blast Christmas shopping while changing the world with the following ideas of how to make your gifts touch the people you love, and help someone.
1. Give charitable gifts according to interest.
I love this idea because it incorporates one of the best things about getting a good gift- feeling known and thought about. Consider the recipient’s strengths and interests, and give to something (in their name, of course) that matches said interest. For example, the year I did this I gave a Kiva card to a brother who is exceptionally business-savvy, and a gift to Mr. Holland Opus’s Foundation in the name of a brother who is a talented musician. Another way to do this is to buy gifts from the “stores” of these causes, such as a T-shirt, so that your gift recipient is honored through a thoughtful charitable gift AND has something to show for it.
2. Give a goat! (or a cow, or duck, or vaccinations, or school supplies…)
World Concern does a great job of commodifying the transformational work that they are doing around the globe through their Global Gift Catalog. With this online tool, you can select from a wide variety of gifts for people living in extreme poverty that will help them meet their needs sustainably. Then, a beautiful card explaining the gift will be sent to the recipient, or to you for the recipient. For example, a goat provides dairy for food, wool for fabric, and some income from the sale of these wares. By giving a gift like this, you are not only providing the animal but also education on how to use it in this way. A fun way to give this gift to a child would be to buy them a stuffed animal of the animal that a person in another country will receive. World Concern has a variety of gifts for a variety of costs, and they are rated as a four star charity by Charity Navigator.
3. Buy ordinary gifts, but make sure they are ethically sourced!
Your kid still needs toys, and your girlfriend may love a new necklace. Those are great gifts! You can change the world with these purchases by communicating through your purchases that you care about the way a product is produced! Use the Made in a Free World app in order to intentionally purchase items that do not use forced or child labor. I found out recently that many Christmas decorations are produced using forced labor- so you never know! So, if you buy fair trade gifts you are telling companies that you are not ok with that! A wonderful not-for-profit fair trade store called Ten Thousand Villages has some great gift ideas!