As the holiday season approaches, it is a lovely time to reflect on our blessings and share them with others. Those of us with computer access and who can be part of the Sixty and Me community are indeed some of the luckiest women in the world. It probably means we have a roof over our heads, clean water and food in our cupboards.

So girls, how can we give back? Sometimes it is difficult to give to charity when we are on a budget and watching our pennies. Yet, a great way to support Sixty and Me’s mission in creating a global community is with mindful gift giving and shopping that gives back.

I am one of those women who never remembers to shop for a gift until the last minute. I often get caught unprepared and end up frantically rustling through my closet trying to find something to “re-gift” and hoping it is reasonably appropriate. It is quite stressful and embarrassing!

 
 

That said, here are my suggestions for stress-free gift giving that gives back to communities.

Gifts for Women from Fair Trade Organizations

It is incredibly inspiring to find beautiful, affordable and treasured gifts from fair trade organizations that help women improve the standard of living for their children and families. They are a joy to purchase and thrilling to receive!

For example, the retail store Ten Thousand Villages is a great destination for picking up unique gifts from faraway lands and generously supporting local artists.

And, for those of you who prefer to shop from your couch, there are truly inspiring fair trade organizations popping up online. Here are three of my favorite fair trade sites for the women in your life.

villages-handmage-gifts

Global Goods Partners

Catherine Lieber-Shimony, co-founder of Global Goods Partners explains, “Buying fair trade products is a concrete way to build a brighter future for women who struggle to live a life with dignity.”

They have identified some of the poorest regions in the world to lift women out of poverty, address social change and bring social justice through their work. All the products are linked with the stories behind them. Global Goods offers their women artisans technical assistance and small grant programs. For under $10 you can choose great gifts like a sparkly luggage tag, or a bright and lightweight bracelet.

global-goods-handmage-giftsGlobal Girlfriend

With a motto of “look good and do good,” the site Global Girlfriend offers sparkling images of woman artists from around the globe, with beautiful hand crafted gifts at reasonable prices sure to delight.

They offer adorable hand stitched cosmetic bags for a mere $10.00. Each is unique and lovely.

global-girlfriends-handmade-gifts

Global Mamas

The Global Mamas network of producers has grown from six founding members in 2004 to nearly 500 producers in nine communities of woman artisans. Check out the fantastic and simple products like African dandy lion black soap or batik fabric wine bottle bags as fun and inexpensive gifts to have on hand for any time of year.

As the old saying goes, “It’s the thought that counts.” This year, spend a little time shopping on these sites for a perfect gift at a fair price – and support our global girlfriends. Happy Holidays everyone!

What fair trade items do you regularly buy? Do you like to shop online from companies that work with talented artisans from around the world? Do you have a favorite fair trade store that offers handmade craft items? Please share with us in the comments.

Kari HenleyKari Henley is the Director of Community Relations for SilverNest, a unique roommate-matching service for Boomers and Empty Nesters with space to share, and is working on a documentary about positive aging stories from around the world.

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