With the holiday season comes lots of giving and receiving. It’s an opportunity to spread some holiday cheer with thoughtful gifts and support businesses who depend on seasonal commerce to stay afloat. Sometimes it can be hard to find something for everyone on your list, so we’ve put together this list of ways to do your holiday shopping with a global mindset:
1. Buy from Fair Trade Artisans Organizations
Bringing loved ones gifts from overseas is a fantastic way to spread holiday cheer with some international flair, but it’s not the only way to go about it. In today’s day and age, it’s remarkable easy to find crafts and goods from all over the world without leaving your house. You could start with an organization like the Fair-Trade Federation to browse their directory of vendors, or you could go directly to serrv.org, Ten Thousand Villages, GreenHeart Shop, or Fair Trade Winds.
2. Give Global Experiences as Gifts
Sometimes the best gifts are memorable experiences that will last a lifetime. Whether it’s a cooking lesson, dance class, or language course, giving someone the opportunity to learn about a foreign culture is the type of gift that could lead to a new hobby, relationship, or inspiration to travel abroad, all of which could be potentially life-changing.
3. Give Books, Movies, or Music that Teach About Foreign Cultures
Another great way to spark interest in a new culture could be via literature, film or music. My life was indelibly changed when I was 15 and my uncle gifted me a set of bongos. I went on to study African percussion which led me to minor in African Studies in college and study abroad in Kenya and Tanzania. You never know when a book, movie, or musical gift will broaden someone’s perspective and spark an interest in new places.
4. Bake or Cook An International Dessert
It wouldn’t be the holidays without the multitude of holiday parties that fill up the calendar. Instead of bringing cut-out cookies of snowmen and Christmas trees, why not give a more international dessert a shot? You could consult this comprehensive list of 46 different cookie recipes from all over the world, or you could try your hand with any one these 14 international holiday desserts.
5. Donate to Global Charities in Place of Giving Presents
Perhaps you prefer to approach the season of giving from a slightly different perspective. I’ve often wondered what global issues would be addressed in meaningful ways if instead of buying everyone we know electronics and clothing in excess, we used all of that money and donated it to charities. If that sounds like an idea you can get behind, there’s no shortage of global charities doing great work to choose from. You could use CharityWatch.org to find an organization that has high standards for giving and good governance. You can sort by cause to find one close to your heart whether it be International Relief and Development, Children’s Health, Women’s Rights, Animal Rights or a number of other choices.
What are you doing this holiday season to introduce some international flair to your Holiday giving? Let us know in the comment section below!
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