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The following are excerpts from “Tis the Season of Caring” in the Fashion Globe magazine:

“TORONTO, Canada — All the glitters is not gold, but it certainly can be ethical or eco-conscious. The holiday season means parties to dress up for, gifts to share with your loved ones and opportunities to decorate your house with the holiday spirit. This also means trips to the mall, lots of new purchases and a huge consumer impact on not just the planet, but the people producing those goods as well. This holiday season, consider showing the planet how much you care, as you treat your loved ones and yourself.

Ethical gifting can come in many forms, such as purchasing from ethical brands, donating to micro-loan funds or charities in lieu of presents or embracing the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) movement. Whatever route you take, there are stylish and ethical options to add a little bit of spice to your holidays.

Ethical Shopping

One way to ensure your holiday gifts and stocking stuffers are fair trade or eco-conscious is to find brands that carry such products. There are a slew of brick-and-mortar boutiques and online stores that have emerged over a number of years that are as fashionable as they are ethically-conscious. Be warned, when purchasing online, always budget a little extra money and time for shipping and delivery.

Micro-loans or Charity Donations

If fashion is not your thing, another great gifting option is to embrace the true spirit of giving and donate funds to a micro-loan organisation or charity, on behalf of your friends, co-workers and loved ones.

Kiva.org is a non-profit organisation that allows individuals to support entrepreneurs around the world with a micro-loan of $25 or more via the world’s first and largest crowd-funding platform for social good. The organisation has a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Since 2005, Kiva and its global community of 1.2 million lenders have crowd-funded more than $600 million in micro-loans to over 1.3 million entrepreneurs in 75 countries, with a 98% repayment rate. The organisation offers Kiva Cards, which are $25 gift cards that allow your loved ones to provide funds to a variety of local and international micro-businesses, focusing on topics including food, fashion and clean energy.

Another interesting choice is to support a Canadian Charity through CanadaHelps Charity Gift Cards. With a gift card, the recipient can donate the value of the card to any of the more than 86,000 registered charities in Canada, making it easy to give to a cause that matters most to them. When you purchase a card online, gifters have the ability to select specially designed e-cards, add a personal message and receive a charitable tax receipt.

Do-It-Yourself

Want a gift, stocking stuffer, or outfit that is so unique it is literally one of a kind? Consider a do-it-yourself project that allows you to be creative and limit your carbon footprint.

Look online for great eco-friendly do-it-yourself blogs, websites, and YouTube channels. Remember to ensure you keep your costs in check as the cost of materials can add up, have a backup plan if things go awry and budget enough time to account for the production process.

Final Thoughts

Whether you have already started your holiday shopping or like to keep things to the last-minute, finding a unique and meaningful gift for everyone on your list is tough. Therefore, consider gifting something that is fair trade, eco-friendly, ethical or made with your own two hands, and show someone just how much you care.”

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