After we came home with Ana two Christmases ago, we realized we needed to up our Christmas tree game. She’s from Latvia, the birthplace of the Christmas tree, and we’d always been a “take the tree out of the box and plug it in” kind of family. We set out to cut down our own tree, a real tree. We had the best time
chopping watching Alex chop it down and decorating it as a family. The next morning we awoke to the house smelling like evergreen…and also tiny spider webs splaying out from the branches on all sides. Big shudder for nature.
However you do the tree thing at your house, here is everything you need for Christmas decor. (Also, check out my other lists so far – clothes and shoes and purses, jewelry, and scarves. And read this if you’re wondering what the heck is “Slave-Free Christmas.”)
Ornaments4Orphans – COUPON CODE: “SlaveFreeChristmas” (20% off entire order through 12.24.15)
When I first started learning about modern day slavery, I discovered that a lot of the ornaments we buy to decorate our trees are made by people living in slavery.
What. I had a total brain meltdown. I’m decorating my house in honor of Jesus with products made by slaves?!? This would not do.
Enter Ornaments4Orphans. They partner with Ugandan artisans earning fair, living wages to create beautiful ornaments. Then people here sign up to “host a tree.” We sell the ornaments, send the money back to O4O, and they use the money to invest in the lives of orphans and vulnerable children. You can host a tree, or you can just buy pretty ornaments for yourself or for teacher gifts or to tie on top of packages or to give to all the people you love. Last year I gave one to each of my kiddos.
If you need pretty tablecloths and napkins and homey stuff, I like Eternal Threads. This awesome organization also offers birthday party packages, bright raffia animal garlands, and accessories. You can purchase small business training, literacy classes, and sewing machines for women in Afghanistan and Nepal. Eternal Threads creates income generating programs that train and provide sustainable livelihoods to improve the lives of women and children who have been exploited and trafficked.
Amani ya Juu means “Peace from Above” in Swahili. Amani is a sewing and reconciliation program for marginalized women in Africa. They sell really cute nativities and home decor. Women from many African nations and cultures are learning to work together through faith in God who provides a peace that transcends cultural and ethnic differences.
Amani is committed to holistic development. The women in the program gain experience in stitching, quality control, purchasing, bookkeeping, management and design. As new women enter the program, they are mentored in quality workmanship with an emphasis on ethical business practices and harmonious relationships.
The Apparent Project artisans upcycle trash like old cereal boxes and oil drums into beautiful home decor and jewelry. Through their online market, they sell really great metal nativities, as well as ornaments, notecards, and accessories. The heart of the organization is to see Haitian families be able to stay together by developing skills and providing employment. They’re finding creative ways for Haitians to employ themselves so they can take care of their own kids with dignity and joy and keep them out of orphanages. They think of their artisans’ guild as an “un-orphanage.” I love that.
Melange works with community-based organizations in developing countries to bring us handmade, fair trade products. They ensure that the artisans receive fair, living wages, safe work environments, and that their cultural traditions are respected and upheld. Their holiday decorations are adorable, and they even have stockings for your pets.
FTO works primarily in Ghana, and if you need stockings, they sell stockings made of kente fabric that are stunning. They provide widowed moms with fair wages, artisan training, materials, and access to the global market, with the ultimate goal of generating income so that they can keep their families intact. They are doing the work of orphan prevention, keeping kids out of orphanages and with their mamas!
Serrv’s mission is to end poverty. They’ve been working on this for over 60 years, partnering with artisans and farmers from around the world. They are founding members of both the World Fair Trade Organization and the Fair Trade Federation. They sell everything from home decor and kitchen items to accessories and food. They have a large selection of Christmas nativities from around the world.
Slave-Free Christmas Giveaway
I want to make your Christmas shopping REALLY EASY and send you a big box of presents. One lucky winner will get a slew of Slave-Free Christmas gifts to wrap and stick under the tree. (And if you decide to keep them all for yourself I will not judge you…maybe just a little.)
Here’s what’s coming your way:
-dolman sleeved tee from 139Made
-“I am Free” necklace from One Beautiful Life
-beaded bracelet from Trades of Hope
-paper bead ornament from Ornaments4Orphans
-stuffed animal from Mission Minded Cuties
-clutch from Joyn
-socks from Mitscoots
–The Expected One Advent devotional by Scott James
Slave-Free Christmas Challenge
This Christmas, I’ve challenged myself to shop my entire Christmas list from organizations that are helping people, not hurting people. Today, 27 million men, women, and children live as someone else’s property. Slaves are making the items that I’m buying to celebrate the birth of my Lord and Savior. Somehow I don’t think He’s blessed by the blood on His birthday presents. For more information on my Slave-Free Christmas project, click here.