Holiday Shopping Guide for People with a Conscience

Let’s face it, given the state of the economy, most of us are a little more strapped for cash this season. But that doesn’t mean you should skimp on your values. Here are some ideas for shopping this holiday season that will satisfy both your conscience and perhaps your pocketbook.

  1. Buy handmade – Who doesn’t love receiving something that was made by a real person? What’s even better is buying something from a young entrepreneur. BUILD’s annual Holiday Sales Bazaars are a great place to find unique hand-crafted gifts that were made by teenage entrepreneurs at affordable prices. (Dec 5 in East Palo Alto and Dec 11 in Oakland)
  2. Shop with your values in tact is a marketplace where you can purchase unique gifts that also promote a myriad of social values, like eco-friendly production, economic empowerment in developing countries, and animal welfare.
  3. Make it yourself – Awesome site has hundreds of user-uploaded how-to videos for how to make pretty much anything: chocolate truffles,  gift tags, flip book, note cards, and more.
  4. Give money to the recipient’s favorite philanthropy – This is a no-brainer, and always a good choice as we find our lives getting more and more cluttered with presents we probably won’t use. If so here are some of my recommended nonprofits to give to: BUILD (duh), College Summit (duh #2), and San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.
  5. Or how about… Buy NOTHING? 

I have my qualms about our society’s hyper-consumerist nature, especially when the holidays roll around. But I realize that people will still go buckwild for today’s Black Friday retail debacle, to the point that tragedies like this here and here happen.

Hopefully this little guide will help ease some of those holiday shopping blues and will bring the meaning of humanity back to the holidays. Happy Thanksgiving!