Millions flock to the malls and big box stores for the latest toy, gadget or fashion.
However, most of those gifts are made overseas, generally with poor working conditions or child labor. Others are made with toxic materials or are of poor quality.
Once again this Examiner has some great ideas for local, made in America, fair trade and handmade gifts.
Made in Colorado
O’Toole’s Garden Center in Westminster sells a variety of sun and winter hats made in Arvada. The hats are ideal for ladies working in their gardens or want to keep toasty in the winter.
Looking for something made from recycled materials for the outdoor enthusiast, especially cyclists? Check out Green Guru in Boulder. They create and design bags, backpacks and panniers made from recycled materials like bicycle inner tubes and billboards. You can purchase online or visit their shop off of Old Pearl in Boulder
Support local businesses by purchasing gift cards or gift certificates from locally owned and managed businesses providing a service. These can be hair salons, restaurants, a membership to a local farm or buying the Chinook Book containing coupons from all sorts of organic and natural products and services.
How about the Maid Service gift certificate?
Ask your local businesses if they offer gift certificates.
Front Range Craft Fairs
Maybe you like to shop around and look for handmade, homemade or even fair trade items that help local charities.
Arvada United Church of Christ
The church will be having its annual craft fair and cookie walk on Friday, November 25th and Saturday, November 26th from 9AM to 4PM. Their church is located at 72nd and Simms in Arvada.
They will be holding their holiday bazaar on Saturday, December 3rd at the United Methodist Church located at 2320 South Bannock Street in Denver from 10AM until 3PM.
The bazaar will feature holiday decorations and candy, home-made cookies, fudge, breads, handmade jewelry, plus much more!
Greenway Park Holiday Fine Art & Gift Sale
This sale will benefit the Birds of Prey Foundation and takes place on December 10th and 11th from 10AM to 5PM at The Clubhouse located at 110 Greenway Park Drive in Broomfield.
When you purchase items made in the USA, you provide jobs for many Americans, reduce your carbon footprint by reducing the amount of energy required to ship the product from overseas, and American workers making the products below have fair and safe working conditions.
How about organic gifts like Maggie’s Functional Organics? Maggie’s makes certified organic apparel that is made in the USA and is certified “fair trade”. This Examiner loves their organic cotton made in USA socks.
Gently Loved Gifts
Are you on a budget and want to support a local charity? Check out your local thrift stores. This Examiner’s favorite thrift store, where things are not organized and the prices are per pound, is the Goodwill Outlet store. You can spend hours rummaging for clothing, household goods and books. The bins are routinely rotated. If you are a thrift store shopper, this is the place to get deals if you don’t mind rummaging through tons of stuff.
Looking for children’s books? Find an elementary teacher getting ready to retire or parent who still has their children’s books and doesn’t know what to do with them. Used picture books are excellent gifts for children.
Fair Trade Gifts
This Examiner just purchased a fair trade handbag made by Earth Divas. The bag she purchased was made by women in Nepal. Purchasing products from this organization helps those international communities to improve their lives.
Homemade and Handmade
The best gifts to give are those that you make by hand. This Examiner bakes goodies and cans locally organic grown and home grown peaches, apple sauce, salsa and pumpkin. She also dehydrates apples and gives as gifts.
Invite friends and family over to your home to a home-cooked meal and ask guests to bring their favorite dish, dessert or beverage. Top to evening off with a white elephant gift exchange where you get rid of those unwanted items sitting in your closet or collecting dust. The tackier the gift the better.
Go to a local dessert potluck in Denver being sponsored by the Denver Crop Mob. They are celebrating a successful year supporting locally grown food on November 29th at 910 Arts. Learn more on their Facebook page.
Volunteer your time to help those in need. Whether it’s the homeless, the injured or abandoned animals or children, your time is one the greatest gifts you can give to your community and to yourself.
Help a grassroots cause in your community like Occupy Denver.
Make your own gift certificate for a service you can provide to a loved one or neighbor like shoveling snow for the elderly lady down the street or mowing the lawn for that neighbor that never has to time to get it done.
Maybe your lover or spouse could be offered a massage or a bubble bath or a weekend get-away to the mountains or a weekend without the kids.
You don’t have to spend lots of money to make it a wonderful holiday season. Make it green and keep it local. The holidays are not about the stuff, but about the people.