Christmas with a Cause Check-In

So. Remember how I was all determined to make this Christmas count? That I wasn’t going to purchase any presents that didn’t somehow benefit someone else—besides the person receiving the gift obviously.

Well. This is the check in. Where I hold myself accountable to all of you, and well, myself.

How did I actually do? I decided to put together a little summary and review of sorts. It was trickier and simpler than I imagined it would be all at the same time.

Trickier How?
The thing is, while there are so many people and brands doing great things and selling great products for a cause, there are very specific things they’re making and selling. Lots of jewelry and accessories, some clothing, coffee, bath and body products, and a few home goods. That means your options for people are fairly limited and you’ve got to be buying gifts at a very generalized level.

For someone who really enjoys choosing the perfect gift and taking into account likes and dislikes and inside jokes and memories, this was a real challenge. I found a lot of really nice products, but it was hard for me to find gifts that would be really thoughtful and meaningful and not like I just bought another tube of lotion or pair of earrings.

I also found it a bit harder to shop this way for kids. Outside of a few stuffed animals and some colored pencils, there weren’t too many options and I don’t know how I would sustain shopping this way for the same kids for multiple years.

I was also surprised by how self conscious this made me. I found myself thinking a lot, I would love to get a gift with this much cause and meaning behind it—even if it wasn’t exactly what I wanted—but what if the people I’m buying for don’t feel the same way? What if they feel like I just bought them whatever I could to serve a cause?

Simpler How?
I was pleasantly surprised to find more options and brands and websites than I expected! It was fun to browse these brands and know that any purchase I made was going to bless two fold. It made stumbling upon the perfect gift for someone that much sweeter.

I found a local event that hosted a lot of these companies in person so I didn’t miss out on the fun that is Christmas shopping! (At least fun for me) I grabbed a coffee and spent a Saturday learning about what so many people are doing to help others with their businesses and products and crossed a lot of things off my list. I did end up with some perfect presents for people that I wasn’t expecting to and actually did find some fun and affordable things for the kiddos in my life :)

It was a lot easier to spend the money because I knew that it was all with a lo of purpose. I enjoyed cutting back in some other areas because I was so excited about my Christmas challenge!

The Breakdown
The Giving Market (Seattle)
Causes Supported + Gifts purchased


Human trafficking recovery through art —mini colored pencil sets for the kids

Helping African women support themselves by using local resources and creating their own businesses—the most wonderful hand creams I’ve ever experienced

Clean water for villages around the world—a bottle of wine for some wine lovers in my life

Syrian refugees here and in Greece—earrings

Education and shelter for homeless kids—coffee

Helping people support themselves by growing their small businesses—yummy goodies

Online
Rescue Her (products support trafficking survivors)-candles and mugs

ABLE (products made by survivors of trafficking)-jewelry

The Tote Project: totes of course

ESPWA (products support restoration efforts and kiddos in Haiti)-: personalized accessories


Okay. So let’s be real. That obviously does not cover all of the gifts I had to buy and some of the things people wanted. Here’s what I did for the things I couldn’t get from these places. I shopped Amazon Smile. I feel like this is something most people don’t know about or easily forget about. All you have to do is go to smile.amazon.com and it works just like your normal Amazon and Prime except that you can choose to donate percentages of your purchases to organizations of your choice! I purchased everything else I needed here and chose to give my donated amount to A21.

I can’t say I did it perfectly, but there was certainly growth. I’m thankful to at least be approaching presents in this way and I’m beginning to find more and more simple ways to make a difference with things I’m already doing. Hoping I can make it count even note next Christmas!



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