Don’t let your gifts this year be “giftig”

Even if there are no big parties to attend or Christmas markets to visit this year, there’s still one holiday tradition many of us will take part in: exchanging gifts. And with fewer distractions from the gloom of the long nights, picking just the right gift for a loved one might seem more important than usual.

Something that could make gift-giving a great experience for both you and those you give to is being conscious of who’s benefitting from the money you spend. As most people are aware, many of the products we buy in the west are produced at great environmental cost by workers who are paid less than a living wage.

However, as awareness of this situation has increaseddemand for commodities produced more sustainably and by companies that assure workers are paid fairly has also risen. The market has responded by offering a variety of products meeting those demands.

Below, we give you three great options for finding a gift that will not only brighten a loved one’s day but will also help you use your money to promote a fairer, more sustainable world economy.

A growing number of experts and investors think that could change very soon.

Online shops focused on sustainable, fair products

One of the easiest ways to find gifts everyone can feel good about is shopping through an online retailer that emphasizes helping consumers find fair, sustainable products.

For example, the retailer GreenPicks has symbols you can find on the page of each item in their shop detailing what standards it meets (e.g., energy efficient production, organic materials, fair and socially responsible production methods, etc.). Typically, you can also read in great detail about what materials went into making each product, who made it, and more.

If you don’t find anything you like on that site, you can also take a look at any of the sites on a list of best green online shops from Utopia.de.

Get food and drink specialties directly from those who make them

Another website well worth exploring for sustainable gift ideas is CrowdFarming.

On this website, farmers sell directly to consumers. You can purchase, for example, a box of organic citrus fruits or avocadoes from Spain or “adopt” a goat or cow in your loved one’s name so they can get cheese made from the animal’s milk. There are plenty of other options, too, like specialty rice, coffee, and wine.

Everything on the site also comes with a story, which you can read before making a purchase to learn more about the farm and farmers behind the product you choose.

The gift of giving…and getting back and giving again

Probably the most classic sustainable gift is donating to a cause someone supports rather than buying something for them. However, if you give someone a gift card to the website Kiva, they’ll be able to use your gift over and over to support various causes of their choosing.

This is because Kiva is a site that allows users to loan money to people from across the world. Kiva loans could cover the cost of school books for a poor child, help a village create a safer water system, aid in the creation of a sustainable agricultural business, or many other things.

Kiva loans are interest free, and once they’re paid back, loaners can re-use the money to help a brand new cause. Additionally, loaners don’t have to cover the full cost of any one loan and can spread their money across a variety of causes and regions.

Happy holidays!

We hope we’ve given you an idea or two for how to make your gift-giving this holiday season even more special. And, of course, all of us here at TIP TOP wish you and yours a very merry holiday season!

Vocabulary

even if – auch wenn
take part in – teilnehmen an
exchanging gifts – sich gegenseitig beschenken
distractions from – Ablenkungen von
gloom of – Schwermut, Finsternis
great experience – großartige Erfahrung
be conscious of – sich bewusst sein über
spend money – Geld ausgeben
less than a living wage – weniger als ein Existenzminimum
awareness of – Bewusstsein über
increase – ansteigen
demand for commodities – Nachfrage nach Gütern
paid fairly – angemessen bezahlt
meet demands – den Anforderungen entsprechen
brighten a day – den Tag erhellen
sustainable – nachhaltig
retailer – Einzelhändler
emphasize helping – das Helfen unterstreichen
each item – jeder Artikel
organic materials – organische Materialien
worth exploring for – Wert sein, es zu untersuchen/herauszufinden
purchase – kaufen, der Kauf
goat – Ziege
making a purchase – einen Kauf tätigen
donate to – spenden an
support – unterstützen
rather – eher
loan money – Geld bereitstellen
aid – Hilfe
interest free – zinsfrei
loaners – Darlehensgeber

Excite Your Senses

On our YouTube channel, you can follow along as a native speaker reads this month’s Learning Nugget accompanied by music and pictures.