"War is the greatest threat to public health." - Gino Strada, Italian war surgeon and founder of the UN-recognized Italian NGO Emergency

Friday, November 23, 2012

Getting in the Spirit...

Greetings of the (shopping) Season my Friends,

It is that magical time of year when people's blood pressure goes through the roof as they engage in the seasonal madness known as HOLIDAY GIFT SHOPPING!!! 

I have no doubt that hospital emergency rooms see a vast increase in admissions of people suffering symptoms of anxiety, chest pains and other symptoms associated with the stress related to finding the right gift(s) for people on our list.

Besides the obvious benefits of creating a "naughty or nice" list (that can really cut down on the number of gifts one needs to give), we can simplify our shopping exploits as well as do our shopping in a way that reflects our desire to make the world a better place.

My personal favorite is giving the gift of time and presence.  It can be as simple as making a certificate or writing a card promising someone the gift of your time to do something (or go somewhere) together - taking that person to a museum, gallery, hiking or any number of activities.  Or maybe helping with gardening or other household tasks.

OK; so you still want to buy something you can put in a box and wrap.  You probably have lots of sources, although here just a few of my favorites.

I'll start with one I recently discovered. From War to Peace turns weapons meant to destroy us into art meant to restore us. They create jewelry and accessories from disarmed and recycled nuclear missile systems, "transforming swords into plowshares, hate into love and war into peace." The Nuclear Resister receives 20% of the price of your From War to Peace purchase when you use the coupon code "RESIST", and you receive an additional 5% savings yourself.Now that's a win win situation!  

SERRV.org - Fair trade, handmade gifts from around the world.  SERRV has been around for 60 years, and works to eradicate poverty through our direct connections with low-income artisans and farmers in the U.S. and around the world.  One of the first alternative trade organizations in the world, SERRV is a founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization (formerly IFAT) and a founding member of the Fair Trade Federation (FTF).  I love their beans soups, and organic olive oil from Arab farmers in Palestine working in partnership with Israelis.

Speaking of handmade things, depending on where you live you can probably find local artisans making all manner of things including soaps, honey and other food items, jewelry and clothing.  Nothing better than shopping (really) local (cutting out the "middleman") to stimulate the local economy.

 For me there is nothing quite like giving the gift of self reliance.  Heifer International represent gifts that literally keep on giving (and giving, and giving).  The recipients of Heifer's various animals receive support to ensure success with their animals to create sustainable income for their families, and agree to "pass on the gift" - to give at least the first offspring of their animals to another family.  Heifer's efforts have been responsible for helping rebuild the connections within communities torn apart by war and civil strife. Although you can't fit a water buffalo under the tree, Heifer has very cool gift cards.

Of course, there are countless other possibilities.  These, of course, come from my own experience.  But you get the point.  It's about being intentional, and a nice added benefit is ramping down the stress levels that seem to inevitably creep into our Holidays.

And just think of all the time saved not fighting for a parking space at the mall... ahhh; Holiday bliss!!! 

Peaceful Holiday Season to All,


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