This season is a time for giving, which let’s face it, equates to a time for spending. While I have made efforts to taper my own consumer spending habits for more reasons than one, I do still enjoy watching my loved ones unwrap gifts thoughtfully chosen by me. My trouble with this tradition however, is that too often I’m that last minute shopper who desperately pours over the “perfect gift”, and ultimately makes poor choices that only fuels the fortune of corporations, and perpetuates the cycle of overconsumption and waste, rather than support businesses actively trying to make the world better. I know I’m not alone in this, but don’t worry – because this year I have done the work for you. With this Gift Good Holiday Guide, you won’t have any trouble buying better in and around the GTA this holiday season, plus your purchases will go even further to make more people feel good in return.
- The Pale Blue Dot – This sweet little shop in Hamilton offers many mindful swaps for the Mom that doesn’t “need anything” on your list. Here you’ll find earth friendly upgrades to basic household items such as bamboo toothbrushes, metal straws and wool dryer balls. www.thepalebluedotshop.com
- JustOne – Behind each beautiful handcrafted accessory is an artisan with a story. Every purchase from JustOne empowers social enterprises in Uganda and Kenya, and collectively makes the impact of just one person that much greater. www.iamjustone.ca
- POC POC – Why not three French hens? Give the gift of a modern chicken coop, a dozen organic eggs a week, and high potency fertilizer to the handyman and DIYer in your life. Check out POC POC’s modular coops designed for the urban backyard and take advantage of their special Holiday Offer until January 1st. www.poc-poc.com
- Fresh City Farms – Make dad’s night to cook a total breeze with locally sourced organic produce bags, meal kits, or healthy chef prepared meals. Through a sustainable food system, Fresh City Farms is working to minimize the footprint from farm to table. Delivery is free at one of their Pickup Hubs and they also sell electronic gift cards, an ideal choice for the safe better. www.freshcityfarms.com
- A Million Elephants – Here’s where you’ll finally find a gift that your trendy (sometimes picky) sister won’t want to return, from handcrafted blanket scarves, home decor items and unique jewellery made using recycled bomb metal from Laos. You can shop their online store, find their products at ethical retailer sariKNOTsari, or catch them at The Trinity Bellwoods Flea Happy Holidays Market on December 16th. www.amillionelephants.com
- Etik & Co – If she’s a fan of Chuck T’s, she’ll get a real kick out of these. These sneakers are not only ethical, but embody the trendy and androgynous urban-chic style of Montreal. Fairtrade fashion looks good, but feels even better. www.etikandco.ca
- Junglewood – This Canadian company manufactures all your bro’s favourite things using bamboo, keeping their line of products lightweight, original, and sustainable. Shop their online store and check out their cool selection of bamboo baseball bats, sunglasses, skateboards, drumsticks and even a bamboo bike! www.junglewood.ca
- Fit Cricket Nutrition – Some call it protein for the brave, but crickets are becoming increasingly popular as a nutrient-rich superfood and sustainable source of protein. With three flavours of protein bars on the menu, find out if your brother can take the leap! www.fitcricket.com
- Fair Trade Jewellery Co. – Dazzle your special someone with ethical jewellery, unique gems, earrings and even luxury engagement rings. Custom orders are still being accepted for the holidays, but only until December 16th. www.ftjco.com
- Aequalis Athletics – This Canadian-made athletic apparel company donates a portion of their sales to programs that provide Canadian kids access to sports. Check out their affordable line of high-quality performance tees, comfy hoodies and hats. www.aeqathletics.com
- EcoEquitable – Sign your kids up for Sewing Basics and watch as weave their way to Upcycled Fashion. These sewing classes instill core values and skills that can go a long way to impacting their consumer behaviour in the future. They even offer Gift Certificates and a Teen Sewing Camp in the summer. www.ecoequitable.ca
- NCCT – The Native Canadian Centre of Toronto has a gift shop with a wide selection of items that would please anyone on your shopping list, but their popular Resilient and Relentless clothing line not only pays tribute to the ongoing indigenous struggle, but carries a message of solidarity and inclusion to anyone navigating the challenges of life. To amplify the impact of this already meaningful gift of consciousness and values, 100% of the profits go to the ENAGB Youth Program to create youth employment, programming and services. www.ncct.on.ca
- Saponetti – If you live in the city and are not already on the zero-waste Soap Refill train, grab a friend and hop on. Their soaps are not only friendly to the environment, but Saponetti employs a zero waste model that works AND is affordable! Purchase gift sets or grab a paperless gift card online and get to refilling. www.saponetti.ca
- Appleflats – This family run orchard in Wellesley, Ontario makes their own Sour Apple and Sweet Maple Crabapple Mixers, the perfect gift for the mixologist on your shopping list. The good news is you can find Appleflats products at over 200 retailers in Ontario, so you can bring these natural mixers with you to your next holiday party. www.appleflatsfoods.com
To browse through more social enterprises and buy-good options, check out the list of previous exhibitors at the Buy Good. Feel Good. Expo, or search through community members of the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto.