Fair Trade: Give a Gift that Tells a Story

If you are anything like the other 80% of America waiting until the last week before Christmas to nab those holiday gifts, avoiding the elbow bumping, tight squeezes and long lines to check out, wishing we had only started earlier this year… With so many gifts added to the list, it is no mystery why last minute shopping is now just another part of the season.

However, there is still a glimmer of hope to add joy back into the practice of choosing the perfect gift, a gift of Fair Trade. Purchasing gifts with a Fair Trade label, give the warmth of home-y, handmade thoughtfulness—without the mess of gluing, painting, or decorating all those individual mason jars. Besides, who can resist giving gifts with a worthy story behind them?

paisley640Photo by 10,000 villages & Paisley & Sparrow



Many of us are familiar with the idea of Fair Trade when it comes to our coffees, teas and chocolate. We buy certified beans, farmers in Guatemala receive a fair pay. In the simplest terms, the Fair Trade label does ensure that what we are buying not only pays workers a livable wage but covers areas such as safer working conditions, freedom from harassment, regulated work hours, absence of child labor and the best environmental practices. With more people asking, “Who made my clothes,”, the demand for more transparency as increased, therefore opening Fair Trade labels simply from coffees and chocolates to apparel, home decor, and accessories.


As the Fair Trade label continues to appear on shelves and apparel tags, so does the selection of goodies to feel good about purchasing. With so much more than the traditional “bohemian” pieces I came to expect from the Fair Trade label, I was astounded by the trendy flair in the selection of garments and accessories available. Not only was I able to find something for the goofy Great-Aunt Donna, as well as the mystery younger step-sister. I learned the stories behind each of the pieces I found, discovering things I could not wait to share about the items once they were free from their wrappings.

As a dreaded holiday shopper, going out to a Fair Trade boutique brought back the moments, I had been missing from true gift giving. The clerks were open and friendly, joyful in sharing why each piece was important. All the boxes were made from recycled materials, fit with an insert detailing how the necklace was made and whose hands crafted each piece along it’s journey.

Paisley PrintPhoto by Paisley & Sparrow

With those unavoidable people to buy for on your list, give a gift that says more than, sorry-I-hardly-know-you-here-is-a-cheap-ornament-or-pair-of-socks, but a gift with a story. Not only will you know exactly where your money goes to but you can feel the quality of a handmade piece in each pair of earrings, scarf or painting you wrap up this year.

Building back your personal connection to your gift giving this year, brings us back to the humble beginnings of why we gift in the first place– also giving us, that warm happiness often lost when the ribbons come off December 25th.


Some places to shop Fair Trade in the Twin Cities:

Moss Envy

www.mossenvy.com | 612-374-4581

Redefines value by providing eco friendly products that support a healthy home, sustainable lifestyle, and social awareness of people and planet.

Regla De Oro

www.regladeoro.com | 612-886-1247

Offers consumers a conscientious cultural alternative, while providing a market for unique local art & quality fair trade products.


www.facebook.com/TradeWindsTW2 | 651-815-7403

Trade Winds offers fair trade woolen & traditional textile accessories and rainforest jewelry.

10,000 Villages – Minneapolis

3825 W 50th St | (612) 920-3659

Minneapolis, MN 55410

10,000 Villages – St. Paul

867 Grand Avenue

Saint Paul, MN

(651) 225-1043

Ethique Nouveau

http://www.ethiquenouveau.com/ | (612) 822-6161

317 W 48th St

Minneapolis, MN 55419


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