Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Shopping Challenge Update

This Christmas I took up a challenge when it came to buying my Christmas presents. If you read my post The Christmas Shopping Challenge you can learn more about it.

The heart of the challenge is to make sure that I am buying gifts that actually support what I believe. So how has this challenge going? 

Well there have been a lot of challenges. Since I decided that I wanted the gifts I purchased to either be made in the USA, eco-friendly, or fair trade products. I had some hunting to do. I found that shopping at some of the bigger stores the challenge was almost impossible. So I had to get really creative with some of the gifts. Here's a Chocolate Lover's Basket that I put together as one gift.

This is how it turned out. Everything that would keep a chocolate lover happy. So how did it develop. I know someone who absolutely loves chocolate. And well it is pretty easy to find fair trade chocolates if you go to the right places. So I decided to build a present around this. I'd eaten Divine Chocolate products before and I knew that it's great chocolate. The chocolate beans are farmed in Ghana. And the farmers manage the sale of their own beans. It's fair trade at it's best. I also included a Equal Exchange chocolate bar. All of this took was a trip to the local health food shop. That was the easy part.
What else do chocolate lovers want? I decided hot chocolate would be a good move. This wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. I look at a lot of packages and I discovered that most food doesn't really say where it is made. It might say it was packaged in the USA, but was it made in the USA? Finally a trip to Whole Foods solved the problem. The answer was Silly Cow Farms Hot Chocolate. It was a natural food product that is made by a small company based out of Vermont. Bingo! I ran by the local Goodwill to pick up a basket and found a cute mug to go with the hot chocolate.
Then I decided that S'mores would also be a great idea for chocolate lovers. This is where things really got difficult. Hard as I looked I could not figure out if the chocolate graham crackers and the marshmallows I decided on were made in the USA or fit into the category of fair trade or eco-friendly. Hard as I looked the packaging didn't state where the items were made. And I went to several different grocery stores. I finally decided that I had done the best I could and just purchased each.

So this present turned out to meet all of my criteria I think.

I found through this challenge that it was extremely difficult to find out where products are made. I looked online. I looked at packages. And I also found that some of the wording on labels. I searched online for products that were made in the USA, eco-friendly, or fair trade. I searched high and low in many of the big box stores. I was sad to see that I could barely find things in the big box stores that fit the criteria. And I also found it difficult when I searched online to find out where items were made. I had to do a little research on companies. I was also a little surprised that I didn't spend that much more on gifts that met all the criteria. We all complain that these items cost more, but when push came to shove. I spent about the same amount of money I would spend on gift baskets made from items that I had no clue where the items were made.

So was my challenge a success? Yes, I originally decided to purchase 75% of my gifts that were one of the three criteria. I was able to do this. But it took work. But I believe it was well worth the work. It took seeking out different sources for Christmas shopping, but it made the Christmas gift giving experience all more satisfying.

Music to blog by All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth by Alvin and the Chipmunks
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  1. Christmas shopping can drive a sane person mad, just saying, the crowds and the rude people you come across could drive one to have thoughts of murder and mayhem

  2. Such a great challenge! I think that people are often so tired from day-to-day life that they get lazy about things like this but the reality is that money talks. When people buy free trade, etc stores will start to carry it more. By you putting more effort into your shopping you may be helping bring such products into the "main stream" so that others will buy that way too!