Shopping with Meaning for ChristmasNovember 28, 2016
Christmas ads flicker on our glowing screens to convince us to buy crap we don't need. People shoot others to get a better parking spot or some other 'Black Friday' advantage. A political leader urges us to buy an expensive, golden tree ornament as a way to "celebrate" our King born in poverty.
We need a better way to celebrate the birth of our Savior.
So how about giving gifts that bring a little meaning? Considering the hateful political rhetoric about refugees over the past couple of years, it seems like a good way to celebrate Jesus would be to buy gifts that empower refugees. Part of the Christmas story includes the holy family as Middle Eastern refugees fleeing political violence. Now, the world faces the greatest number of refugees in recorded history.
Here are some shops that employ refugees, offering training and fair wages. I hope you'll join me in considering to buy Christmas gifts from these stores. (I have no affiliate relationship with these places, but am merely seeking to help us add some meaning to our Christmas celebrations.)
Ekata Designs. Based in Memphis, Tennessee, this shop employs refugees from Nepal, Somalia, and elsewhere to make beautiful bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and rings.
The Refugee Project. Based in Houston, Texas, this shop employs refugees from Burma, Bhutan, and and Nepal to make crochet hats, gloves, scarves, baby blankets, handbags, and other items.
Re:new. Based in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, this shop employs refugees from Burma, Somalia, Bhutan, and elsewhere to make designer bags and wallets.
Peace of Thread. Based in Grayson, Georgia, this shop employs refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma, and Pakistan, to make designer bags and wallets.
Preemptive Love Coalition. Based in Iraq, this project employs refugees in Iraq to make soap to both women and men.
Refugee Coffee. A coffee truck in Clarkson, Georgia, this company employ refugees from Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and elsewhere. No shipping so it's not good for gifts, but could be a great place to stop for a warm-up while shopping in the Atlanta area.
There are likely many similar shops, so feel free to note one in the comments. And you can also give money to organizations helping refugees - like Mennonite Central Committee. Let's give gifts that give twice. Le'ts shine a light in the midst of the darkness of our political rhetoric.