My general guidelines still stand: Buy local, shop small businesses, gift charity donations, think vintage, buy from places that support women who are survivors of trauma and/or poverty. This year, there is a heightened awareness that corporations are playing a bigger part in our politics than many of us previously realized. So, there's even more of a reason to make sure you spend your hard earned money on a responsible gift that helps people and will make your loved one happy, too. Here are my favorite new finds in 2017. For more ideas, search in this blog with the keywords "Gift Picks" to find my suggestions from past years that are likely still out there!
1. Lemon Chef's Soap from Ten Thousand Villages
I love this for host/hostess gifts for holiday dinners or parties. If someone has been cooking for you, this is especially appropriate! Made in India by people of the marginalized Harijan community, this soap has a lemon scent that rids hands of cooking odors. It's crafted from natural vegetable oils by traditional soap makers. The fragrance is unique and derived from herbs, roots, leaves, and flowers. It uses palm oil grown on local plantations. This oil provides work to local farmers and does not contribute to deforestation.
Great for kids and chocolate lovers! Penzey's may have headquarters in Wauwatosa, WI, but there is a local store here for me in St. Louis. Penzey's is well known for the owner's open stance against racism and the President's remarks against minority groups. So, if you want to give the give of a relaxing, sweet, delicious beverage that makes you feel good about supporting others willing to take a stand, check out their Hot Chocolate with a Hint of Mint ($10.55 for a 16 ox bag). They do also have a regular flavor and also a wide range of wonderful gift boxes.
Something techie that will help people in poverty AND be good for the earth! This solar power bank can harass the sun to fuel your phone, camera, or any USB-powered device. OR it can provide up to 150 hours of light. It is weather and UV-resistant for camping and other outdoor activities. Plus, for every charger sold (just like the Little Sun lights I reviewed in 2014), the same exact product you buy is offered at a fair, locally-affordable price to someone in an underserved area. Pretty good deal for $99. On sale for $84.15 at www.thegrommet.com