Shop Responsibly this Holiday Season

For many people, Christmas has become a very commercial holiday.  It has shifted from being a season of giving, to being a media circus and it has become a season of excess.  This year tailor your shopping to be a bit more responsible and ethical in the items that you buy.

Shopping conscientiously doesn’t stop at being more frugal when making purchase decisions.  We also need to think of the global implication. Every purchase we make is essentially a vote for the world we want. We need to look at the people behind the products that we invest our monies with. Are our dollars supporting organics, fair trade, sustainable materials, and ethical companies? Do we even know where our money is going?

One example of a product that we really need to think about is diamonds.  There are many jewelry stores in your area I am sure, but which is the best one?  One jewelry store may get their diamonds from a mine in South Africa that employs unsafe practices for workers or pays less than fair wages. Many of these diamonds are called blood diamonds because of all the people who may have died to bring them to the store shelf.  By patronizing that store, you are condoning the practices by which they received their merchandise.

I know this is more than many people even want to think about but it is important.  People who do not value human rights are counting on us to let our wants overshadow any responsibility we have to our enslaved brothers or the environment.  Eco-friendly groups work to inform us about what is going on in the world and how we can make a positive difference. And we can make a difference with our money…remember, the old saying “Money Talks”. We spend billions of dollars during the holiday season for gifts, decorations, and other things.  Make the purchases mean something to someone beyond just the recipient.

Purchase recycled wrapping paper, low energy lighting for Christmas trees, organic cotton for creating clothing, and recycled ornaments and decorations.  This supports the recycling industry.  All paper that is recycled may not be suitable for paper bags in grocery stores, but it will make Christmas cards, gift tags, and wrapping paper.

Visiting fair trade merchants supports cooperatives and groups working in favor of oppressed and impoverished peoples in countries all over the world.  These artisans use recycled goods and natural products like stone and coal to create ornaments, decorations, baskets, utensils, and more to be sold on the open market.  Fair trade merchandise can be purchased at a variety of stores an online.  For a longer list of stores, go to www.transfairusa.org. Along those same lines, local merchants need your help and your patronage. Visit local farmers markets, flea markets, and trade shows to see who the local artisans are.

Save the planet and prevent waste by making informed choices this holiday season.  In the process you will discover a world of new products you never knew existed.

An original 5 Minutes for Going Green post. You can read more from Tiffany at her blog about Green Kids & Parenting, where she writes about green family living, parenting, natural health, safe children’s products, and homeschooling. Subscribe to her blog here.

5 Responses to Shop Responsibly this Holiday Season
  1. Doreen / Mom Goes Green
    November 17, 2008 | 10:32 am

    This year I’ve developed a program at my daughter’s school where they will decorate the school’s three Christmas trees with only recycled ornaments…no “bring from mom’s decoration box” ornaments. They’re sure to be the best, “green” trees ever!

  2. Meghan
    November 25, 2008 | 5:37 pm

    Conscious consumers looking for an extra special gift this season should check out http://www.C5company.com.

    C5 is an innovative jewelry company that specializes in socially and environmentally responsible custom jewelry. We also host an online boutique of ready-to-wear pieces.

    You shouldn’t have to sacrifice beauty for sustainability. C5 allows you to wear your commitment.

    http://www.C5company.com

  3. Van Theodorou
    November 28, 2008 | 2:06 pm

    spending wisely and responsibly this holiday will not only save us a fortune from unnecessary splurges, but it give us chance to focus on more important things in life like being concerned for others, not really materially..

    its about time we started build better relationships…

  4. Valtrex.
    August 4, 2009 | 8:43 am

    Order valtrex online….

    Valtrex vaccine….

  5. Eleanor
    December 2, 2009 | 2:17 pm

    Social Entrepreneur Stephane de Messieres: His Breakthrough Technology Helps Us Shop Responsibly!

    Shopping responsibly shouldn’t be difficult! Stephane has set out to give consumers the tools they need to make environmentally and socially responsibles choice when purchasing goods.

    He’s developing a mobile technology that allows a consumer to use their cell phone camera to scan a product’s barcode and instantly view that company’s score—without leaving the store aisle!

    Shopping responsibly is even more important during the 2009 Holiday Season, so become Stephane’s Backer on Changents.com to learn more about how to make the right product choices. Changents will throw in a free subscription to Fast Company for a lucky winner who becomes a Backer for Stephane, to be chosen in a random drawing on Christmas Eve! To qualify, jump over to http://changents.com/stephane , check out his story, and become his Backer!