Advent Conspiracy & Fair Trade

Why do we celebrate Christmas? Truly think about that question.

Christmas tree

As a follower of Christ, I celebrate Christmas because it marks the birth of our Savior. Jesus came down to earth to walk with sinners and eventually paid for our debts. But for some reason, Christmas is about wish lists and presents. We rack our brains trying to figure out the “best gift.” But is there ever such a thing as the perfect gift? To be honest, if you wanted something really badly, don’t you just purchase it for yourself anyway?

This past Sunday at church, I was asked to share about Advent Conspiracy. This is a movement to bring Christmas back to what it really means, the birth of Jesus, not the consumption of goods. It’s hard for me to completely give up the idea of presents because I really do love giving presents. It’s usually the one chance I can buy gifts for people and show them a bit of love.

I recently entered into a Pinterest contest hosted by Global Partners to showcase fair holiday gifts. Then I thought to myself, I can buy fair trade Christmas presents, a gift with a huge story and a huge impact. With fair trade products, you are breaking cycles of poverty and paying for someone else’s dignity and independence. When you buy these products, you’re making the world a little bit better, sometimes in the poorest and darkest countries in the world. God called us to love the poor, the marginalized, and the outcasts. Purchasing fair trade is an action that can display faith.

Ultimately, buying fair trade is a way to live out the Gospel.

I made some stickers to be stuck on credit card to remind people to purchase thoughtfully this season. They look like the “activate your credit card” stickers. Maybe you’re interested in giving these stickers to a few friends, colleagues, and/or your congregation. Feel free to print them out on sticky paper, and stick it onto your credit cards! Download the sticker template here.

Activate

I’m posting a fair trade gift guide for those of you that need some ideas – consumables, gifts for women, men, and the little ones. See some of the awesome things I found online. There’s a range of costs so you can buy something that is within your budget.

Consumables
1 Divine Chocolate Holiday Gift Set (6 items) $39.99 // 2 Choice Tea Sampler (12 ct) $3.49 // 3 Canaan Fair Trade Infused Olive Oil 2-pack $28.99 // 4 Alaffia Spa Gift Set $30.00 // 5 Thanksgiving Coffee 4-Pack $48.00 // 6 Trade As One Gift of Good (one-time gift) $99.00

Women
1 Sweetheart top from Mata Traders $37.99 // 2 Aquamarine studs from Given Goods Co $109.00 // 3 Arrow clutch from Sseko Designs $65.99  // 4 Lace and leather pouch from Hearts $14.00 // 5 Camera strap from Fotostrap $85.00 // 6 Stationary from Noonday Collection $18.00 // 7 Print from Sevenly $24.00

Gifts for men
Blackwood sunglasses by SOLO eyewear $78.00 // 2 Bottle opener and horseshoe magnet from Sevenly $28.00  // 3 Men’s chukka boot from Oliberté $140.00 // 4 Watch from Fair Indigo $55.90 // 5 “To My Health” flask from Sevenly $34.00 // 6 Print from Sevenly $24.00

For the Kids r1
Alpaca baby beanie from The Little Market $28.00 // 2 Balancing monkeys from Rosie Hippo $23.00 // 3 Wooden fruit set from Rosie Hippo $20.00 // 4 Wooden stable from Bella Luna Toys $179.95 // 5 Wooden marble run from Bella Luna Toys $94.95 // 6 Knit donuts from Rosie Hippo $19.00 // 7 Cotton receiving blanket from Rosie Hippo $14.00

Are there any products that are your favorite? Do you have any fair trade items you’re putting on your wish list? Perhaps now you can buy a bit more consciously this year.

Let’s bring Christmas back to what it truly means – Jesus and giving for good.

In His Love,
Jay
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For even more fair trade ideas, check out my Pinterest board

  

OCC

It’s Operation Christmas Child time!

Many kids around the world do not get gifts during the holiday season. It’s a sad but very true fact of life. Samaritan’s Purse has a program where people can pack shoeboxes filled with gifts to children all over the world. Ultimately the boxes are opportunities to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Every year my church hosts their annual OCC boxing event. The congregation eats lunch together, we sprawl out on the floor, and pack our boxes together. The church provides some of the sanitary/school items (combs, toothbrushes, soap, crayons, pencils, and pens), and it’s up to each individual to buy their toys.

Walking into the toy aisle always reminds me of when I was a little kid – aisle upon aisle of dolls, stuffed animals, legos, and games. To this day it’s still fun to shop for toys! MG and I decided to put together 4 boxes this year but to personalize each box by writing a letter to our kids and sending a a Lam family picture. It’s always nice to get a gift with a personal touch.

We made these cards at home with some stuff lying around the house (construction paper, twine, glitter, dollies, and cotton balls). These cards are perfect for little kiddies to make.

OCC Cards

I’m really proud of the snowflake one, so here’s how I did it!

Dollie
See the swirly design in the middle of the dollie? Basically trace the pattern with glue and sprinkle glitter!

Cards

Snowflake

So easy, and such a fun way to use items around your house.

Here are all the toys we purchased for our boxes! We got some jump ropes, a baby doll, a stuffed bunny, and some sidewalk chalk for 2-4 year old girls. For the 5-9 year old boys we purchased marbles, trucks, zombie figures, and putty.

Toys

PackingMG packing his boys’ boxes. I chose girls!

DoneAll done and filled to the brim! Enjoy little ones!

My favorite thing about OCC is watching kids pack boxes. For them to give up toys for other children in need is a profound understanding of love, a sacrificial love that Jesus has for all of us.

Kayla and KelseySweet, sweet Kayla and Kelsey

Abby
Adorable Abby

Niko
Very handsome Niko (maybe this guy got some help with his boxes)

I encourage you to pack a box for a child in need. For under $20, you are able to provide so much joy for a child that may have never received a gift before. Plus, it’s great entertainment for you to go toy shopping. There is more information on OCC and how to pack a box here.

Have you participated in OCC before? What is your favorite part of packing the box? If you haven’t done this before, is this something you may consider?

In His Name,
Jay