Fair Trade

Published on November 24th, 2011 | by Vivian Nelson Melle


Turn Black Friday and Cyber Monday Green

Macy's holiday shoppers

Macy's holiday shoppers

Slay the Corporate Giants

I know Target carries cool items and Wal-Mart is so reasonably priced but we must acknowledge why they offer low prices. Somewhere a worker is producing that that item for very little pay and in unsafe working conditions. In all honesty, it may be a child in some foreign country making the items we purchase from the giants. Most of the big box stores follow similar methods for staying on top and it usually requires putting stress on the environment and their workers. The good news is there are ways to break away from the corporate giants by buying through local venders, making gifts ourselves or bartering. Here are some  ideas to help you turn Black Friday and Cyber Monday green.



Pottery for sale at a market

Buy Local

Buying local helps decrease transportation side effects on the environment while boosting the local economy. There is seldom a middle man so your profits go directly to the person who made your gift. Many artisans congregate at the local farmer’s market or similar street fairs so while you’re picking up your groceries take a look at the goods being sold. Call around local schools and churches and inquire about holiday fairs and holiday bazaars. Not only are you buying local you’re  also helping support  your community.  From jewelry to scarves and clothing to pottery, local artisans offer beautiful, handmade gifts that your loved ones are sure to appreciate.

{cc photo courtesy of Island Vittles on Flickr}


homemade brownies

Homemade Harelquin brownies

Make It Yourself

Don’t run away, even if you’ve never crafted there’s hope for you. Making gifts is becoming more common with an ailing economy just as inspiration and creativity have always spiked during the depression and times of war. This is the perfect time for learning or honing a hobby like crochet, sewing and paper crafts. Even baking is an art form opening the door to several homemade gift ideas. Brownies, cookies, breads and canned goods are just a few ideas that most anybody has a solid recipe for and which are absolutely appreciated. You could also think about a coupon book which offers a meals with a little advanced notice. Your eggplant parmesan may be the perfect gift for a busy mom needing a night off from cooking duties.

{cc photo courtesy of The Pack on Flickr}



Bartering is a good option during a bad economy


Maybe crafting or cooking isn’t your forte, that’s okay because there’s always bartering. Bartering allows you to use whatever skills you do have as payment for other goods or services. This, like the depression-era creativity, has become quite popular for those suffering from job loss, low-incomes or simply the rising debt situation. Insteading offers a great informational on bartering including the basics to help avoid being taken advantage of. Say you make great brownies, I mean they are magnificent, it turns out there are people out there willing to trade your brownies for a handmade bracelet or earrings. Maybe you crocheted a gorgeous shall. It just so happens a young woman may be willing to clean your house so she can gift that stunning shall to her mother this Christmas. Everyone has something they are good at, so why not give bartering a try instead of suffering through the lines on Black Friday or taxing Mother Earth with shipping on Cyber Monday?

{cc photo courtesy of  irina slutsky on Flickr}

{Top cc photo courtesy of Gustavo Faraon  on Flickr}

{Source: AlterNet}

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About the Author

Vivian Nelson Melle is a writer and life coach helping individuals, families, and businesses thrive. She supports small businesses especially in the areas of Green Living, Health, and Wellness. She can be found at www.viviannelsonmelle.com and www.craftyvivi.com

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