Shop To Shape The World

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Thanksgiving is around the corner, the winter holidays are not far behind, and tvs started blaring Christmas-caroled commercials the day after Halloween.  America, with its innovative capitalism, has found a way to bottle consumerism into a tidy holiday package full of patriotism and guilt.  Fa la la la la… la la la la.

That’s not to say that exchanging gifts as a token of friendship and love is not important; the holidays serve to connect us with friends and family and create cherished moments.  Before Christianity and Hallmark turned Christmas into an unrecognizable consumer holiday, the winter solstice celebrated the life that would soon return to the ground after the first thaw.

Rather than spend our time in search of the perfect Christmas/Hanukkah/Festivus gift, I suggest we use our resources to spread goodwill to friends, families, and our fellow humans.   Here are some ways you can make a difference this year:

Kristen Bell collaborated with Erica Anenberg to create a line of handbags and wallets that will benefit the Invisible Children in Central Africa.  These are great gifts for the ladies in your life who want to combine fashion with philanthropy.

If you’d like to support the Invisible Children cause by adding more shirts to your wardrobe or a hipster messenger bag head over to the Invisible Children shop.

Timberland partnered with Ringo Starr to create a limited edition Earthkeepers® footwear to benefit WaterAid.  The limited edition boots will be available on eBay, through Timberland’s Canvas that Cares. A total of 75 pairs will be auctioned in men’s size 8, Ringo’s shoe size, with a starting bid set at $250.  This is an excellent way to make a unique fashion statement while also showing your commitment to providing safe access to water and sanitation for all.

TOMS, is unique in that the corporate purpose is to provide shoes to children who had nothing to protect their feet.  In the five years since the company was created, TOMS Shoes has provided more than 1,000,000 pairs of shoes to children in need.  They have also started selling sunglasses, which provide care to people with visual impairment. So if you are looking for a fun pair of shoes (there are even vegan shoes!) or a funky pair of sunglasses check out TOMS.

If you are addicted to auctions, Ebay has a sister site called “A World of Good” that allows you to purchase handcrafted products made by artisans around the world.  Of course if you’re looking for a more traditional present you can still make a difference by bidding on items where a portion of the proceeds is given to a charity or bidding on a special experience with your favorite celebrity to benefit a charity.

There are many ways to make a difference in the lives of others and I would love to hear your suggestions of products that give back or websites that promote philanthropic consumerism.  Join me this holiday season in celebrating the true meaning of the season; sharing joy, giving love, and celebrating happiness and health.

Full disclosure: This is not a promoted post by any of the people or organizations listed above.  I just believe in giving credit and commerce to people and organizations who make a difference with their products.  

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