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Holiday Shopping with a Conscience

Holiday shopping with a conscience is a great way to live your values while also enjoying the fun of holiday gift giving. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to figure out which charity stores actually make a difference in the lives of the people they’re meant to help.

[Links in this post are not sponsored or affiliate links.]

Charitable donations spike during the holidays, but for busy working families it can be difficult to sustain the costs of both gifts and charity. So why not do both with one purchase?

Where you buy your gifts makes a big difference. Absolutely, 100% start with local shops. If you can, seek out a shop owned by an immigrant family. They came here for a better life, and they pay taxes and build communities too. Outside of that, think about spending here:

War Child Canada

This organisation provides support for child victims of war. Children are often the forgotten victims, and War Child provides them with clothes, school supplies, computers for education, clean water, and a lot more. And 87% of their funds go directly to their support efforts.

Ten Thousand Villages

This is an amazing organization that supports artisans and craftspeople in developing countries around the world. Stores are staffed by volunteers, so the bulk of your purchase actually goes to the people who do the manufacturing. It’s fair trade at its finest, and if you don’t have a local store (check the listings on the website) they’re now offering purchasing online!

Me to We

We Day is a huge movement, encouraging kids to help in any way they can. The shop provides a great variety of gifts that represent real opportunities for people in developing countries while also giving your holiday shopping a much needed boost!

Under One Sun

A ridiculously cool shop Amanda and I found in Peterborough on our last fall drive. This store’s owner went to Haiti to help out after the earthquake, and ended up creating a full-scale craft business, primarily employing women. The workers are paid an excellent wage, provided with full medical benefits, and even daycare for their children. The products are mostly made from recycled materials. The American Red Cross took over $500 million and built six houses. This store is building an industry out of the owner’s pocket.

Manitobah Mukluks

Forget about Minnetonka Moccasins, who have been selling moccasins for almost 50 years, but have ZERO connection with indigenous culture. Manitobah Mukluks is 100% indigenous-owned and operated, and all of their sales go directly to the artisans who craft their products. These are high-end products, often one of a kind. Skip the imitation stuff and go straight to the source, while helping to build the self-sufficiency of indigenous communities right here in Canada.

Yes, this is where we do a lot of our shopping. It’s one way we can be supportive, inclusive, and sustainable, voting with our dollars and ensuring that our money goes into doing good work.


aDo you have a favourite charity shop you like to support? If so, leave us your holiday shopping tips in a comment below. We’d love to check it out!

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