Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ

olesia buyar on unsplashAn incomplete but heartfelt list of lower-impact Christmas gift suggestions (some are 501C3s):


(Collected by the Rev. Jennifer Seaich and edited by Pastor Jeanne)

Gifts of time or experience…

Spend some time together doing something you enjoy -- Hockey tickets, concert tickets, a season pass to the Hillsboro Hops, a Portland Broadway subscription, a membership to OMSI the Portland Art Museum or the Zoo.

Take a class with someone: learn together how to dance or kayak, bake or create jewelry.

Give a donation to a cause that someone cares about: our church, Planned Parenthood, American Diabetes Association, Trevor Project, Nature Conservancy, Earth Justice, Rainforest Alliance, the Oregon Humane Society, Best Friends animal rescue…

Donors Choose lets you look at teachers’ classroom wishlists- want to buy art supplies for a kindergarten class in New Hampshire? Library books by diverse authors for a middle school in Montana? Science equipment for a high school in Oklahoma?

Lower-impact shopping ideas:

Support local artists and artisans, like our own Wendy Wallin Malinow (https://www.etsy.com/shop/eyefun//) or Andy Balmer and Patricia Burns (https://www.fernhillpottery.com/).

World HeARTS fair trade store in Oregon City has a variety of items that benefit artisans around the world: Palestinian olive oil soaps, jewelry and scarves from Bangladesh, cute nativities and ornaments, and much more.

Tirzah Bazaar. Gorgeous fair trade, ethically-sourced goods made by women artisans in safe, clean, community-based workshops. Tirzah International also provides microbusiness training and loans to their women makers so they can support themselves and their families long term. Their motto is "When women rise, the world rises with them". Their partnership programs focus on core issues affecting marginalized women, centering on micro-enterprise, leadership development and local sustainability and are led by local women

Gifts from Palestine. My favorites (hard to choose) are the olive wood Samaritan woman and the sterling olive leaf jewelry, but there is so much.

 

Goodee is a curated marketplace offering homewares, kid things, and other products for better living… a platform centered around responsible brands and artisans producing timeless everyday objects and consumers looking to make a difference with their purchases. A certified B Corps member of 1% For the Planet, GOODEE supports marginalized communities, increasing the circularity of their goods, and more.

 

Done good is another curated marketplace. Every brand is vetted for things like ethics and sustainability, along with affordability and quality.

Buy Me Once. Most consumer goods are of low quality and are meant to break and be replaced, which leads to wasted resources and more trash in our landfills. BuyMeOnce is a marketplace where you can find high quality goods in just about every category. To decide which products to sell, they look at the materials and craftsmanship, customer reviews, and whether the product was made as ethically and sustainably as possible. Some things even come with lifetime warranties!

Made Trade. Made Trade is a curated online shop with a wide selection of products that are eco-conscious, fair trade, vegan, and/or made in the USA, so you can shop by values. On each product page, you can find out a lot about the brand’s values and ethical practices, materials used, etc., so you can be an informed consumer (without spending a bunch of time researching.)

The Zero Waste store. Is a marketplace for sustainable products- shampoo bars, bamboo toothbrushes, makeup, cleaning products.

Thistle Farms- Products handcrafted by women survivors of systems of prostitution and exploitation- with free housing, healthcare and trauma care, and advocacy. Candles, lotions, jewelry, kiddo things, clothing, and more.

For Children:

World Wildlife Fund and similar charities allow symbolic animal adoptions. For $60 on WWF, you can adopt an endangered animal (you can choose or let the child choose), and then the kiddo will receive a stuffed animal, an adoption certificate, and information about their species: giraffe, panda, artic hare, sloth, penguin, sea turtle, and more. They learn about animals and are excited to know that they are helping creatures.

The David Sheldrake Wildlife Trust focuses on animal conservation in Africa. They care for orphaned elephants, rhinos, and giraffes. Donors have the option of fostering specific creatures, then receive, via email, a fostering certificate with a profile of their animal, its current status, a photo as well as an interactive map of where that animal was found. Then, each month, DSWF sends out a summary of the elephant’s progress with new photos. DSWF gives kids a full year of connection with a real-life animal they have helped!

Save the Chimps provides a permanent sanctuary for the lifelong care of chimpanzees rescued from research laboratories, the entertainment industry, and the pet trade. The rescued chimps live on three small islands in Florida. Caged for most of their lives, the chimps now have space, freedom, and companionship. You can adopt a chimp for a year and find out more about that chimpanzee or you could send food- carrots for one or oatmeal for a family of chimps.

Your kiddo loves Sea Turtles? Adopt one through the Sea Turtle Conservancy. Horses? Try World Horse Welfare or Equus Foundation. Hummingbirds? Try the American Bird Conservancy. Wolves? Maybe Wolf Haven International.

EarthHeroEarthHero, a certified B Corps, has green toys and ecokids art supplies. (20% off sitewide with code Giveback)

Coffee, Chocolate, and other Food

Fair trade chocolate and coffee make delicious gifts and empower others. We have lots of Equal Exchange chocolate, coffee, and other items at church. Here are a few other coffee, chocolate, and food sellers:

  • Stroopies cinnamon waffle cookies, woman owned and employing resettled refugee women. As part of their benefit package the women have 30 min of English class during their paid workday and go on several community building field trips each year.
  • Les Chocolateries Askanya, Haiti is bean-to-bar chocolate made from locally grown cacao and sugar in Haiti. Whereas most chocolate is made from cacao exported at impossibly low prices with the majority of profit being earned by manufacturers in the US or Europe, Askanya works to make honestly-sourced chocolate from beginning to end in Haiti.
  • The US Café in Muskegon, MI is run by a nonprofit focused on independent living for people with disabilities. Local Black Businesswoman who serves there also sells spice flavor packs. Kaja’s flavor packs- Cajun and lemon garlic pepper blends.

Clothing and Jewelry:

  • Elegantees aims to fight human trafficking in Nepal through employment opportunities. All products are made ethically, and most are made by women who have overcome trafficking.
  • Lev Apparel fights against sex-trafficking and the fast fashion industry by paying garment workers a fair and livable wage so they are not so vulnerable to exploitation.
  • Sela Designs gives away 100% of profits to a rotating list of charities. They sell beautiful handmade jewelry.
  • Trades of Hope is fair trade: "Your purchase helps provide Artisans in areas of extreme poverty and their children with access to education, health care, and clean water programs. Every purchase gives hope to families in India’s slums."
  • Able Clothing. Makes wardrobe pieces that empower both the women who wear them and the women who make them.
  • Haiti Design mantra is "MEN ANPIL, CHAY PA LOU", a Haitian proverb meaning many hands make work light.
  • Encircled Woman-owned, ethically and sustainably made in Canada work-leisure clothes.
  • Quince sustainable ethical fashion (including a$ 50 cashmere sweater)
  • The Starfish ProjectThe Starfish Project. Social Enterprise with a Holistic Care Program that cares for women escaping human trafficking and exploitation in Asia. Women and girls experience freedom, establish independence and develop careers.

Home Goods:

  • Every curated product sold by Remington is handcrafted meeting sustainable and ethical practices. Home goods, candles and more
  • Blankets and throws from Shopdignify I love the Kantha holiday throws.
  • Kana cookwear- environmental and sustainable. They have a bread baker’s bundle!
  • Eco friendly dinnerware
  • The CitizenryThe Citizenry keeps prices low and wages for makers high so rugs, pillows, tablecloths, gorgeous baskets, and more are affordable.
  • LeapingbunnyLeapingbunny offers a guide to cruelty free beauty products: hair, lotion, makeup
  • Cheekbone Beauty is an Indigenous-owned and founded Canadian cosmetics company creating cosmetics designed for low environmental impact.
  • Bishop and WildeBishop and Wilde is a queer- and woman-owned online bookstore (Brick and mortar coming soon in Portland!) with full access to the same catalog as major online retailers.
  • A unique hand-made stationery line. Bipoc owned and features black Americans. There is a series focused on women for Women's History Month
  • Kahini WalaKahini Wala. Beautiful toys and woven goods made by Bangladeshi women who are finding safe work outside of garment factories. 20% OFF (holidaycheer22)
  • Sojourn Studios Porcelain ornaments and jewelry, from women along the Thailand-Myanmar border.
  • West paw has treats, toys, and beds for our four-legged family members (the canine ones anyway) Made sustainably in Montana. I think Fergus is getting a new bed (and I hope he doesn’t eat it)
  • Support local artists and artisans, like our own Becky or Bonnie. I also love this women of the bible series.
  • You can even search Etsy for ethical gifts, for bipoc owned shops, and for queer owned shops, and purchase items made by humans.

Photo by Olesia 🇺🇦 Buyar on Unsplash