Shopping with a social concience is an idea that captured me years ago when I first came across Oxfams Fairtrade Soccer Ball, where they would donate a soccer ball to an orphaned or abandoned child in Pakistan. I know a lot of people donate to a charity at Christmas time in lieu of giving gifts or cards, but I am a sucker for christmas traditions. I love designing chrissy cards, shopping for presents, wrapping them and having them decorate our lounge room underneath the tree. So this year I have been seeking out what has turned out to be quite a nice collection of shops that make some sort of contribution to the world with each purchase you make.

There are a good portion of companies out there that have a charity they contribute to, stock fair trade products and have extensive recycling schemes and of course these are good choices over ones that don’t, but I am searching for the ones whose approach to the business is as much about the support they give as the products they sell.

My favourite at the moment and leaders in this arena are Toms, with their ‘One for One’ approach. For every pair of shoes purchased they give a pair to a child in need. I came accross these guys recently and  have ordered an early present for myself and Ava (can’t wait for them to arrive). One thing I find amazing about this shop is how affordable the shoes are, so not only do you get some funky shoes for a good price, you get to help someoone out at the same time. How good is that‽

As I do more research into this I am amazed and excited by the vision and drive people have to help others in need. Krochet Kids International have a wonderful story about sharing knowledge and enabling Ugandan women to free themselves, their families and their community from a cycle of dependence on government assistance. This is similar to the Kazuri model, who sell gorgeous handmade ceramic jewellery

Christmas with a conscience

1. Red canvas Tiny Toms $28US available in many other colours
2. Bright Red Shale necklace by Kazuri available in 18, 22 and 30″
3. Mens ‘A Clockwork Orange’ T-shirt Out of Print Clothing $28US
4. ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ Better World Books $6.98US Used $17.48US New
5. The ‘Thomas Beanie’ by Krochet Kids International available in Sea Blue, Black and Cream
6. Glossy Childrens Boots from Roma $54US available in Red, Yellow and Blue

The ingenuity of the individuals who start these companies is ridiculously impressive and I commend them for seeking and finding financially sustainable ways to improve the world. Sometimes these solutions are clever and unique like Indosoles footwear made from old motorcycle tyres and sometimes they are beautifully simple like  Out of Print Clothing, donating a book to a community in need for every t-shirt sold. Others I have found are the lovely gumboots by Roma boots, New and used books by Better World Books and beautiful handmade ceramic beads by Kazuri. With these I am getting a good coverage of products in order to buy unique presents for family and friends but I want this list to grow so if you know of any shops like these send me the link, I would love to hear about it.