make a difference by Christmas shopping {gift guide}

Christmas means so many things. Christ's birth, family, friends, cookies, twinkling lights . . . commercialism. With so much greed surrounding us, how do we participate in the joy of gift-giving without causing harm? Although I have, year after year, found myself drawn to the convenience of shopping on Amazon, I'm choosing something better this December. If you'd like to join me, here are some options for making a positive difference this Christmas, simply by doing your holiday shopping.

1. Fair Trade
Make sure the people who made your gift are respected and paid fairly for their hard work by choosing items that are Fair Trade certified. From a bag of coffee to a coffee table, you can find a Fair Trade option for just about anything! Check out this handy gift guide if you're not sure where to begin.

Gift ideas for bookworms, bloggers, and writers:
Fair Trade notebooks, chocolate, tea, coffee, or comfy socks.

2. Local
Instead of joining the crowds at WalMart or scanning page after page on Amazon, take a stroll down Main Street or check out a holiday craft fair and support your neighbors.

Gift ideas for bookworms, bloggers, and writers:
Locally made snacks or candy, a book from the local bookshop, notecards from a local artist . . . the options are endless!

3. Recycled
While you're browsing local shops, craft fairs, and Fair Trade stores, look for items that are made with recycled materials. Like-new used items can make great gifts, too! By choosing recycled gifts, you're helping keep useable materials and products out of the landfill.

Gift ideas for bookworms, bloggers, and writers:
Used books, recycled paper notebooks or stationery, a recycled materials pencil bag, or recycled cotton socks.

4. Homemade
Making something yourself ensures that you know exactly what went in it, plus it can be fun, comes from the heart, and might even save you money! There are countless tutorials and recipes online for creative homemade gifts.

Gift ideas for bookworms, bloggers, and writers:
Hot chocolate mix, homemade candy, bookmarks, or a box made from an old hardcover book.

5. Donate
For the person who has everything, a wonderful option is to donate to a nonprofit organization in their honor. Many organizations offer a printable gift card for the person in whose honor you donate, but you can also write a message in a Christmas card made by a local artist!

Gift ideas for bookworms, bloggers, and writers:
Donate to your local library, New Community Project's Give a Girl a Chance program (girls' education), Mennonite Central Committee (choose "Education"--or any category!), Books for Africa, or Room to Read.


I highly recommend going to brick-and-mortar stores, but if you prefer shopping online, here are a few options that fall under one or more of the above categories:

Amazon Smile -- still Amazon, but a portion of what you pay is donated to an organization of your choice
Better World Books -- online bookstore that donates one book for every book sold
Booksavers -- nonprofit used bookstore
Heifer International -- nonprofit organization focused on ending hunger and poverty
Ten Thousand Villages -- sells only fair trade items (TTV has physical stores too--see if there's one near you!)

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