How Your Christmas Shopping Can Do Big Things
With shaky hands, the ninety-something-year-old gentleman seated in front of me in church struggled to slip off his winter coat. Then saving arms of a college student reached far across three seats and helped him untangle the fabric. The act between two strangers caught in my throat.
Because this is what we – as tender human beings – do….
We take care of each other.
How many times have we witnessed similar interactions? The tween who holds the door open to the lady behind him as the icy wind blows her in. The woman who grabs napkins to hand to the man who knocked his coffee onto his laptop while working at the cafe. The encouraging words that slip from the been-there-done-that woman’s lips to the young mom who’s wrangling her uncooperative toddler at Target, the bags around her eyes revealing her story.
When we see a need – we meet it. It’s in our nature.
But those are the “easy” needs to meet. What about the world issues that break our hearts? Poverty, sex-trade, untreated disease, dirty water, lack of food, fragile communities…etc. We want to help, we do. But, where do we even start?
We start with the one solution that threads hope into all these situations – provide people with jobs. Real jobs. Permanent jobs through organizations meeting needs with tangible solutions. A young woman from an impoverished community in Ethiopia now has an avenue through a company to sell her jewelry and support her family. A woman who has broken out of a red light district – known for sex trafficking – in Kolkata, India finds safety under the wings of an organization that helps her learn how to craft beautiful blankets, stylish bags and a better life. Food on the table, a roof over a family’s head, a woman with pride in her business, and companies that make this happen. Yes, please.
As we go into “shopping season,” the beautiful holidays where we recreate the feelings of joy people had when they learned Christ was born, we buy our loved ones beautiful things. The artisans of these various companies make beautiful things. It’s a good fit.
I know we all love a bargain. Life is expensive and a solid coupon and a reduced price makes us all happy, or at least it does me. But, a friend shared a quote with me that made me think differently about the power of purchase:
If we cast our vote (dollar) to companies that rescue and provide people better lives, we are empowering the kind of organizations we want to thrive and fill our world. Extravagant Hope thought it was important this season to not only highlight these companies but the beautiful local warriors who promote them in our community.
The following list is not exhaustive by any means. It is a list of local sellers whom we personally know – or were recommended to us by a friend – that are working for companies with a ministry to help those in need.
1. Noonday Collection: I love their mission: “To make a difference in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities, we partner with Artisan Businesses that share our passion for building a flourishing world. We develop these businesses through fair trade, empowering them to grow sustainably and to create dignified jobs for people who need them.” The bracelet I bought made from leftover shells from ammunition of a past fight remind me beauty can be coaxed out of tough times – plus it’s stylish. Local seller: Jennifer Holmberg
2. Better Way Imports: I went to one of these parties and was appalled by the number of women forced to be in the sex-slave-trading business. (Like my friend said, these women are technically being raped numerous times a day.) Heart. Breaking. But this business rescues women from this lifestyle through creating jobs for them. I ordered the weighted blanket because warm blankets and hot drinks get us through the 10 month winters up here. (Okay, I exaggerate – 9 months.). Local Seller: Stephanie Bychinski
3. Trades of Hope: The opening line on their about page hooked me: “So many women live in poverty, not because they lack abilities, but because they lack opportunity. We started Trades of Hope to give women that opportunity for a better life.” Our purchases create opportunities. It’s awesome. My eye is on their home decor – but I also love their jewelry, scarves and more. Local Sellers: Dawn Hansen, Jen Galley and Pam Thompson.
4. Paisley and Sparrow was created by a friend of a friend. (Got that?) Here’s her story: “A few years ago Paisley + Sparrow’s founder, Jen, went on the World Race, where she spent one year working with ministries and non-profits around the world. She was deeply impacted by the organizations who worked with women in a variety of difficult situations: women who were sex trafficked or abducted by the LRA, widows who were HIV positive, or girls who grew up as orphans. These organizations would provide women with counseling, education, medical support, and employment in order for the women to recover fully and live a hope-filled life.” Jen came home and created Paisley and Sparrow to support the life-changing organizations that moved her so deeply. The leather handbags caught my attention, or the beautiful journals…oh goodness, you just got to check out all the gorgeous products.
5. Global Avenues was formed by a Minnesota couple who lived in India for 20 years. They saw a need and did something about it. They created a market for products that sustain incomes for organizations that fight against human trafficking, support women at risk and do life-changing work. They have some unique products including these oh-so-cute kids’ aprons, fancy napkins and more. Also, read about who you support by purchasing these products with a kleenex nearby.
You guys – don’t let the enormities of our world problems make you think you can’t make an impact. You can’t help every single older gentleman take off his coat, but you can help one. And – let me tell you – it matters greatly to the ONE you helped.
Ideas for what you can do:
- Consider shopping at and these world-changing organizations or another one like them for Christmas gifts.
- Contact one of our local warriors and host a party.
- Go to a party.
- Share this post.
We’re not trying to guilt anyone into buying products you don’t love. (Plus, we don’t know your situation – YOU know what’s best for you and/or your family.) Instead, we’re simply reminding ourselves and you that when we hold a dollar we hold power – power we can use to help others in the world.
Happy shopping and Merry Christmas, dear friends.
PS – Before you go, Extravagant Hope has some Christmas freebies for you: Christmas Labels, Inspirational Printable, Names of Jesus Printable and Family Activity, and 6 Ways to Let Go of Holiday Stress & Enjoy the Season More. Grab the freebies here!Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash