Posts for November 24th, 2007

Fair Trade Festivus

Jill Ensley November 24, 2007 at 5:47 p.m.

This is the first year in many, many years that I have not had to work retail on Black Friday. I am a happier, saner person because of it. I also did not leave the house at all yesterday. At least, not until 1 am, when I decided I wanted coffee at the Pig.And, okay, okay, so I nearly have a built-in audience for this, and I'm sure many of you already think and practice things of this nature, but there's always the chance that someone out there is looking for an alternative to throw-away gifts, plastic, and no-holds-barred consumerism. Granted, the best way to go would be to buy locally made, locally sold products, that way reducing the travel time of these items and knowing where it came from, who it benefits. Or, if you're feeling saucy, to just not buy anything at all. I mean, really, The Flying Spaghetti Monster gave you two hands, dammit. Use them to make something. Maybe a ceremonial spaghetti dish? Or some macaroni art... But if the spirit of giving overcometh you, there are some better options than just throwing a mass-produced, petroleum-based product at someone just to shut their pumpkin piehole.Recently, I bought [this][1] for a friend's birthday. They're extremely handy if you're a fan of loose-leaf tea, as you damn well should be. Get some [tea][2] to go with and you're set. Our very own Merc sells a full line of the Equal Exchange brand and many different kinds of loose-leaf. More products are listed in the [Co-Op America's Green Pages][3].Make a local gift basket of honey, sunflower seeds, handmade cards, etc. Stop by the [ECM's Fair Trade Holiday Market][4], which runs every day until next Friday. Or give a gift subscription of a [CSA][5].Give some coffee with a conscience. Locally roasted Z's "Perfect Day" blend with some homemade pumpkin bread would make anyone's day. Unless they're a robot. And robots are notoriously picky anyway. So, eff 'em. There's also [Just Coffee][6], which I can personally vouch for.Donate to the charity of someone's choice. Or, if they're a big fan of a certain animal, there's always [Defenders of Wildlife's Adoption Center][7]. Frankly, I'm not too sure about these sorts of things, since they sound good, but you get all this free stuff and you wonder where your money really went. Still, Defenders seems to be a decent organization and by god, I love penguins. Read up.For music fans, there are a couple good compilations out. One from [Waxploitation][8], benefitting Darfur-related organizations. And the other from [Yep Roc Records][9], with the proceeds going toward OxFam. I bought this one and it's a great bunch of songs. OxFam also has a special [Unwrapped][10] section where you can buy livestock, school supplies, trees and other things for people who really need them. For book lovers, I suggest a gift certificate to 1/2 Price Books or The Dusty Bookshelf. I don't know why gift certificate's get a bad rap. I likes 'em.Then, there's always eBay. Bless that bastion of second-hand crap. Sure, it will probably be something unnecessary, but at least it's being recycled, in a way. Of course, these are just a few options. Just google "fair trade", "organic", etc. and you'll find dozens of websites dedicated to such. Just know what you're buying, from where, read up and research. And don't buy things distant that you can buy here.Frankly, I'm just tired of getting things I don't need and I can't stand looking at something, knowing that I will decompose long before it does. Put THAT in your stocking.Now, if I can just get my family to read this... [1]: http://store.gxonlinestore.org/teainfusercraftlink.html [2]: http://store.gxonlinestore.org/tea.html [3]: http://www.coopamerica.org/pubs/greengifts/index.cfm [4]: http://www.lawrence.com/events/2007/nov/30/23328/ [5]: http://www.localharvest.org/csa/ [6]: http://www.justcoffee.org/ [7]: https://secure.defenders.org/site/SPageServer?pagename=wildadopt_penguin&s_src=WIY08C2ADOPT&s_subsrc=WIY08C2ADOPT_08ADOPTC6 [8]: http://waxploitation.shop.musictoday.com/Dept.aspx?cp=12510_12513 [9]: http://store.yeproc.com/album.php?id=12708 [10]: http://www.oxfamamericaunwrapped.com/

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