Fair Trade Gifts for the Holidays

Regardless of what holidays you celebrate, if any at all, December inevitably leaves all of us with a very deep hole in our wallets from food babies, work parties, hostess gifts, family giving sprees, end-of-exam-celebrations, winter vacations, and presents from “Santa” – We spend A LOT of cash this month. In fact, Canadians spend an average of more than $600 every December on gifts for other people alone.

As we are all trying to work towards being more conscious shoppers, we put together a list of local and easily accessible Fair Trade gift ideas to swap for some of those holiday purchases still sitting at the top of the to-do list.

Pleasing the parents

Quality bed and bath sets are loved by families everywhere. What better gift than a good night’s sleep! Fair Trade cotton is still in its infancy of growth, and most in Canada require large custom orders. However, there are still a handful of great companies offering cotton-made gifts for the individual shopper. Glo-Organic is one of those. On this site you can find sheet sets, bathrobes, baby gifts, and other household cotton gifts.

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If you’re in the market for some higher-end gifts, Fair Trade Jewelry Company is based out of Toronto and sells both pre-designed and custom Fair Trade pieces.

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If your plans involve spending the holiday season with your s/o’s family or you’re looking for something smaller to stuff your own family’s stockings, you can never go wrong with some quality Fair Trade coffee, chocolate, and tea.

A couple dozen holiday parties

Flowers, flowers, flowers! You can never go wrong with flowers to bring some brightness to your host’s home. Here in the lower mainland, you can track down some Fair Trade flowers at any choices market location.

Chocolate is always a holiday favourite, especially as a party favour! Here are some of our favourites:

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Whether you’re on your way to a potluck or a lunchroom work party, everyone loves a good dessert. Ben and Jerry’s has an entire page on their website of great baked dessert/ice cream pairings. The entire Ben and Jerry’s line of ice creams are Fair Trade certified! Chunky Monkey and Butter Tarts anyone?

Secret santa

Whether you’re playing a secret santa game with your squad or playing santa for the kiddos in your family, this gift giving tradition comes up in some way every year. There are a ton of stores both on line and in the city that sell Fair Trade handicraft gifts perfect for these occasions.

If you’re buying gifts specifically for the kiddos. Volo Athletics is a local brand that sells several sizes and styles of Fairtrade Certified soccer balls. And, they’re very affordable!

You can also check out the SFU Bookstore for handmade gifts like these:


The self-love splurge

Fair Trade clothing can be a tough arena to navigate. Especially when so many clothing brands claim to offer more ethical and fairly traded options. Although they do not carry certifications, here are some great clothing companies you can use to treat yourself thoughtfully.

and these non-certified, but ethically-minded brands:

The single BEST way to treat yourself is with the gift of self-care. Lush stores are located all over the lower mainland and products containing ingredients such as cocoa butter, avocado, and honey are typically certified by either Fairtrade International or the Fair Trade Federation.

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Far and away

If you’re going away this holiday season, don’t forget that you can buy fair trade products all over the world. In fact, Canada is behind many European countries in terms of its Fair Trade offerings. For example, we have few Fair Trade wines available for purchase in Canada, but Wines available in other countries are quite plentiful! Check out which countries you can find Fair Trade wines here: Whenever you are in a grocery store, keep your eye out for the Fairtrade International label (as this is the most well known Fair Trade label in the world). Fair Trade is truly everywhere!