How To: Socially-Conscious Christmas Tips!

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

Thanksgiving is behind us, the grocery store has been playing Jingle Bells for weeks and twinkling lights are making their way our of our basement. Let’s face it, tis the season! Christmas is a perfect time for us to focus on what truly matters. Not to mention take some time off from school and work!

As you look forward to relaxing with the fam & sipping  eggnog, read over these tips on how to make your Christmas extra cheery! Learn how YOUR simple actions  can have a positive effect—not only for you—but for the environment as well as people around the world. That’s what I call smart shopping!

Did you know that the average American spends $800 on holiday gifts? This year, put your ‘moolah’ towards  presents with meaning.

Give Fair Trade: Fair trade business provides producers in developing countries with a fair income and ensures they are treated ethically. Buying fair trade supports families around the world and improves their quality of life in countless ways! Here are two of my favorite fair trade brands to get you started:

  • The Hunger Site has hundreds of awesome, reasonably priced, fair trade products. This place is the one stop shop for your co-worker, relatives, and the coffee addict of the family! They also have great stocking stuffers including funky ornaments, soaps, inexpensive scarves and chocolate…Yum!
  • Global Mamas works in Ghana, Africa to create jobs and increase the income and standard of living for women and their families. They’ve got great prices, adorable children’s clothing, and tote bags any woman would love. (Bonus: You can read about the women who make the products, and even send them a personal message!)

Being ‘fair’ from your phone: Fair Trade USA recently released the Fair Trade Finder App that lets you find, add and tag Fair Trade products wherever you are!

Impact those in need: Check out World Vision’s holiday gift catalog. Browse through a variety of gifts, including honeybees, shares of water wells, small businesses loans or even an Alpaca! You can choose from hundreds of gifts to donate in honor of someone special. Your gift will bring urgent help and lasting hope for a family in need.

During the 2011 Study Tour to Burundi, the 30 Hour Famine visited the home of a family who received a cow from World Vision’s gift catalog. That cow gave birth and the family now owns two cows, providing enough milk for the family to enjoy, and extra to sell!

Check out this video about how the gift of a goat transformed a family’s life!

Re-use, Re-wrap, Recycle: From Thanksgiving to New Years Day, a household’s waste increases by more than 25%–that’s an extra one million tons a week! Let’s try and reverse that by following these simple tips:

    • Re-use: Save gift boxes and bags that you receive and use them to wrap other presents.
    • Re-wrap: Wrapping paper is often expensive, and wasteful. Thankfully, there are many alternatives to wrapping paper! Save the nice paper you receive, OR get creative and use something entirely new like scarves, maps, tins, baskets, or newspaper!
    • Recycle: After you’re done enjoying the evergreen scent of your Christmas tree, de-tinsel and recycle it. There are many options for recycling your tree including curbside pickup or drop-off locations. Do not bag your tree; many companies will not recycle it if it is bagged.

The 30 Hour Famine team wants to wish you an early Merry Christmas! The holidays can get crazy busy, with everything from hosting relatives to shopping and we hope you find these tips helpful in your Christmas planning. We encourage you to rest, cozy up by the fire, spend time with family while remembering why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.  Happy Holidays!