With the Thanksgiving feast behind us already, we set our sights on Christmas — we’re officially in the thick of the holiday season.
Have you ever stopped to wonder what gift-giving is all about? Our planning and preparation and purchasing and presentation of gifts are a way to show our care and regard for someone. It’s a sign of gratuitous love.
If we intend to show our love with gifts, it’s worth considering the impact our gifts have — both on the people who receive them and on the people who produce them. The marketplace in which we make purchases touches real lives.
That’s why we’re captivated by this ethical trade gift guide from Catholic Relief Services. The products they offer here come from poor and disadvantaged communities around the globe. Our purchases not only support artisans with income from a fair wage but also provide safer working conditions and environmentally sustainable practices. On top of that, part of every purchase gets invested in CRS projects that change lives in places with little opportunity.
Here’s an example: When you go to Bethlehem (you know, the birthplace of the person behind all of this gift-giving in the first place), the streets are lined with workshops where Palestinian Christian woodworkers carve mementos and keepsakes out of olive wood. Purchases from this ethical trade guide have helped CRS renovate 18 workshops there, which were poorly ventilated and hurting workers and the environment.
Every gift in this guide is tagged with a location and community that produced it, which shortens that gap between us as consumers and the people whose hands and labor produced it. That connection allows us to make an impact in the lives of people in need as well as in the lives of our loved ones.