It’s time for our FOURTH annual Slave-Free Christmas! If we’ve been friends for awhile, you know that I get so jazzed that regular people like us can get involved in the fight against modern day slavery. A few years ago when I realized that a lot of the goods we purchase to celebrate Christmas were made by people living in slavery I was horrified and felt helpless. What could I do, a regular ol’ mom living in the suburban U.S.? Jesus came to set captives free and I was inadvertantly celebrating him by contributing to the enslavement of men, women, and children around the globe.
So for four Christmases, I’ve made changes to the way I shop, pointing my dollars toward companies and organizations committed to helping people, not hurting them. I’m not perfect. I’m a regular shopper person. But I get so excited about partnering together to make a difference in the world with the gifts we give. And I’ve found these amazing companies and organizations doing incredible things. We’ve done this together. We’ve fed orphans and empowered artisans and raised money for childhood cancer research. Our stockings are filled with love and our trees are trimmed with freedom.
This year I’m organizing things a little differently to make shopping as easy as possible for you. I’ve created shopping lists by category to make your searching and sharing more streamlined. And when possible, I’ve collected coupon codes to help you out.
You’re busy, so I want to be your personal shopper for the season and bring everything right to you. I’ve organized everything into these five lists:
1. The Big List of Purses, Jewelry, and Scarves
2. Head to Toe: Clothes and Shoes for the Whole Family
3. Decking the Halls: Everything You Need for Christmas Decor
4. Elf Yourself! Toys that Give Back All Year Long
5. For Your Body: Food, Drinks, Lotions, and Soaps
Note: I’m aware that it’s November. I don’t celebrate Christmas early, but I do shop early, because from Thanksgiving through New Years, I want to focus on family and friends. You can wait till December to flip through these posts, but I’m putting them here early for anyone who’s like me and wants to crank it all out ahead of time. Your choice.
Over the last few years of changing up the way that I shop, I’ve found three things that help:
1) Buy less.
I’ve heard people say fair trade is more expensive, and that can be true. When people are receiving fair wages for their work, someone has to pay for that. I’ve narrowed my lists and when I shop for my kids, I use this guideline, and maybe you’ve heard of it: something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. And Alex and I don’t buy each other Christmas presents. We celebrate each other at different times, but in an effort to slim down Christmas, we’ve opted to not exchange gifts.
2) Buy early.
I try to get all my shopping done before Thanksgiving, that way I can focus on being with people and making memories. Also, I’m not paying for rush shipping, which helps. I get everything ordered and collect it over the month of November, wrap it all up, and forget about it until Christmas. We have two family birthdays in December, too, in addition to Jesus, so this just works for me.
3) Buy story.
I love good stories, and buying items that help other people is FUN. Each present we unwrap has a story behind it, a name, a person’s artistic hands. My family has gotten used to this and now looks at me expectantly when they open something, like “Well? Tell me all about this, Melanie. Where was it made, how many kids are getting to go to school now, and who’s receiving safety and a new life after being trafficked?”
So, here are some ways you can participate in Slave-Free Christmas:
Use the lists I’ll post over the next few weeks to discover great companies and organizations making a difference in the world.
If you know of great companies and orgs making a difference, give them a shout-out on social media and tag #SlaveFreeChristmas, so all of us can hear about them. And if you like the companies I find, share my posts, too. Here’s an image you can use:
3) Sign up.
Be my email friend! Sometimes you might miss a tweet or Facebook might not show you every post. If we’re email friends, then we can email each other and you’ll get my posts right in your inbox and not miss any fun shopping.
I hope you guys have as much fun with this as I do. I want to see what you buy, so send pics on social media to @UnexpectedMel!