Looking for a different kind of gift this year? Consider giving gifts that give both ways.
Christmas is a season of hope, when we remember that our God was willing to enter our broken world and suffer with us so that we might be restored, that He made Himself poor so that we might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). At Christmas we celebrate the greatest gift of all time—that God gave us Himself. The gift-giving that’s part of our celebrations makes Christmas the perfect season to make a difference for the poor and needy. I’ve put together a collection of web-stores with fun and creative gifts, which also provide life-giving support to people in poor nations. Many of these sites are a part of projects to rescue, restore and introduce needy people to the ultimate Giver of life (indicated by *). So bypass the Black Friday lines, and do a little browsing at home. Then give a gift that will bless your loved one, bless the poor, and also bless the heart of God.
Sari Bari* – Products made by women around the red-light districts of Kolkata, using an ancient Bengali blanket making tradition called “kantha” (old cloth) to create decorations, blankets, bags and more. Each product is labeled with the name of the woman who made your item, in whose life you are making a real difference.
Home Décor, Baby, Accessories (bags, scarves, jewelry rolls)
Case for a Cause* – Buy a felt wool embroidered case for your iPad—all profits support women rescued from prostitution in Central Asia.
Yobel Market*—Yobel is the Hebrew word for “jubilee,” meaning freedom, release from captivity, turning the tables and celebration. Yobel Market is an initiative to turn things around for exploited people by providing them with sustainable economic opportunities from the sale of fair-trade products.
Jewelry, Scarves, Baskets, Bags, Journals, Baby Blankets, Chocolate and Coffee, etc.
Sak Saum* – The Khmai (Cambodian) word for dignity. This ministry focuses on rescuing and restoring the exploited women of Cambodia. Their catalog is full of absolutely adorable and fashionable bags and purses, as well as beautiful accessories ranging from baby shoes and nursing covers to aprons and headbands, all made by women benefitting from the ministry.
Global Girlfriend—fairly traded products including practical apparel (shirts, skirts, dresses) and accessories (jewelry, bags, scarfs, hats, stationary). Most products include a description of the location and project that you are supporting through purchasing their hand-work and each thing you buy puts money towards developing world micro-grants to help launch new businesses.
Equal Exchange—Through a co-operative partnership, Equal Exchange seeks to support small farms and big world changes. Buy coffee, tea or chocolate gift packs or purchase individual high-quality, organic and fairly traded coffee, tea, chocolate and other food products from their on-line store.
Samaritan’s Purse*—Give a gift of hope to a poorer individual or family in honor of someone. Gifts range from farm animals such as sheep or chicks to help a needy family support themselves, to clean water, vocational training, emergency food supplies, or rescuing a child from exploitation.
International Justice Mission*—If you know someone concerned about the exploitation of people around the world, they might appreciate a “gift of freedom” from IJM, the primary Christian ministry dedicated to the fight against slavery and exploitation around the world. Gifts include aftercare packages for women rescued from brothels, funding undercover investigations, training law enforcement in developing nations, providing for the needs of rescued slaves, and defending the land rights of widows and orphans.