Ethical Gifts In An Not So Ethical World

It’s that time of the year, Christmas/ the Holidays. At the risk of sounding like a Scrooge, I hate it! Spending all the money you work for just to get that warm and fuzzy feeling that lasts all of 30 minutes. It’s stressful. My friends and family are hard to shop for. It takes months to decide on something just for Josue. My sisters? Forget about it. My mother? Pssssh. The worse is my dad. The man that is never pleased.

Not only is finding the perfect gift impossible, it’s boardline maddening to stay within in budget and keep things ethical. This will be my second year shopping fair trade for the holidays and I’d like to think that I’ve somewhat mastered the art.

So here we go, my go to stores for the holiday season.

Please note: I’ve comprised on a few stores I’ll be doing my holiday shopping at for my unethical bunch. Hopefully, this list gives anyone, who is searching for a last minute gift, some ideas.

For the Ladies, Home Decor, & Everything else

Ten Thousand Villages

Photo from IG: tenthousandvillages

I discovered this place a few years ago before I even realized fair trade was a thing that needed to be adopted. I’ve featured some of their products in previous posts. There’s a shop in Lancaster, Pa in the Rockvale Outlets that I go to and a bunch of pop stores have appear in my area for the holiday rush. I kid you not, they have everything here! Pottery, ponchos, jewelry, decorative pieces, purses, scarves, and the list goes on. The great thing about this store is villages and artisans from all over the world design and craft the products that you can buy and they provide a little back story. It’s eco-friendly/recycled material and above board. I have a few jewelry pieces and bought my sisters’ small trinkets for Christmas from this store, last year. The price range varies but, it’s an awesome place to get unique items. You bound to find something there within your budget, plus they have great sales.

The thing I love about this store is it’s unique. You’re not going to have to worry about gift repeats.

For Josue’s mother last year I bought a darling hand-woven Ecuadoran poncho It’s hella soft and the color is gorgeous. This year I snagged her a gorgeous handcrafted scarf that was ethically-sourced in India.

I’ve gifted a number of items from this store and I never fail to get  great response.

Here are a number of other gift items I’ve purchased through Ten Thousand Villages, just to give you a last minute gift idea.


I haven’t had the pleasure of actually buying from this retailer yet. I have a bunch of stuff in my basket that I plan on purchasing though. This company partners not just with artisans but, farmers as well. They sell furniture, jewelry, clothing, gift sets, and delicious chocolate.

Fair Trade Winds
Similar concept.


For the Time Keeper in Your Life


Photo from IG: Wewoodwatch

Got a watch lover to shop for? This company I considered buying from more so for Jojo.  Josue LOVES watches therefore, I wanted to get something for him that goes along with my moral stand point and his style.

WeWood is an Italian watch company that uses nontoxic materials to create a sleek and stylish wooden watch. In addition to that, they plant trees for every watch purchased; “an initiative in collaboration with nonprofit organizations such as American Forests and Trees for the Future.” Browsing the site their watches are moderately expensive, under $200 for the most part


Original Grain

OG is pretty much the same concept as WeWood expect they combine steel and wood to create their timepieces. Purchasing their watches results in their organization planting a tree in Senegal and feeding the locals.


The Artist

Karst Stone Paper

Want to give a gift that has a carbon foot print that is 60% less than its counterparts? For the loved one that just can’t stop writing or loves to stay organized consider purchasing a notebook or planner from Karst Stone. I came across this company on Facebook. The concept was so cool I just couldn’t pass it up. These notebooks aren’t like your average college ruled. They’re made from recycled stone. You read correct, STONE! We’re saving trees people!

They’re waterproof, tear resistant, and ink will bleed through!

Now, yes these notebooks aren’t cheap. I bought one for Josue’s father, who is an avid writer, and I believe I spent a little under $40. Therefore, I will disclaim that on a regular basis I probably would stick to 100% recycled paper notebooks. However, the concept is awesome. I just hope it catches on so that perhaps the price can go down a bit. I would purchase a annual planner though.

For every book that is bought, of course they plant a tree. (Are you sensing a theme here?)

Goodie Basket

Giving a gift basket? Chocolate is the way to go.

Am I the only one that loves giving baskets for gifts? I’m all about making my own however, for time sensitive purchases I typically go with one I can pick up from Home Goods. Next year I’ll probably try my hand at making my own personalized with DIY soaps and body creams.

For those looking for inspiration!

Divine Chocolate

This chocolate is da bomb! Ten Thousand Villages sell the div-001156chocolate bars in their stores which is where I first discovered it. However, I have been seeing them in a multitude of different places, like Michael’s craft store. The company website offers gift baksets which is way better for gift giving. Divine is the first ever fair trade chocolate bar. The company enables farmers in Ghana ownership of the Divine company, so they receive a piece of the profit and have a say in the direction the company is taking. Not only is it delicious but, it gives back. I might order myself a basket. The Dark Chocolate Mint Thins are to die for! nom nom nom.


There you have it. Ethical goods, that won’t necessarily break the bank.


Share this post if you’re shopping ethically this holiday season.
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Suggested posts:
Fair Trade Shopping: Jewlery Edition
Best Cruelty-Free Beauty Brands
Freelancing to Freedom 


  1. jessica

    divine chocolate is soooooo delicious and i just picked some up the other day to hand out as gifts…great list!

  2. Kasia

    These are all wonderful ideas. It’s definitely hard to get presents for everybody that they will like. These options are amazing. I’ve haven’t heard of any of these except for Divine Chocolate. That’s one of my fave chocolate brands. Not only ethical but so tasty. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Lisa

    Oh I just love Wewood! Planting a tree?! That makes me want to buy a watch from them and they look pretty well made too! Some fabulous ideas for gifts! The profit sharing chocolate is another win-win! Great picks!

  4. Joniamac

    Picking out gifts is so hard and stressful! These are some good picks. The watch and earrings are pretty.

  5. Niki

    Great ideas Brooke! I love ethical everything and I do wanna support those who produce their merchandise having this in mind. 🙂

  6. Kate

    I love this! Buying presents can often feel soul-sucking if you have any sort of awareness of the conditions of labourers around the world. I love that you focus on fair trade businesses with gifts that are ethical but also appealing. As consumers we can control the demand of the market and the onus is on us to make more ethical choices.

  7. Tahnee

    The new wooden watches are my fave! I also love a nice home made Christmas gift I make bath bombs and cookies xxx

  8. Matt

    Some great suggestions here. I too really don’t like the commercialisation that surrounds Christmas, I love your idea about going 100% Fair Trade. I can vouch we the WeWood watches, i actually have one myself and love it, it really stands out.

  9. Kartik

    Very Good thought Brooke! I think its extremely thoughtful of you to think of how your christmas can light up other small traders and entrepreneurs lives across underpriveleged parts of society

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