Finding Joy in (Fair-Trade) Gift Giving. ~ Melinda Haselton

Via elephant journal
on Dec 2, 2010
get elephant's newsletter

I don’t know about you, but my inbox has been inundated with holiday messages from a multitude of businesses–big and small–reminding me ‘tis the season’.

It’s easy to feel turned off by the materialism, but I have found a way to enjoy this time of year by bringing a little mindfulness to the process.

I put together my Christmas gift list and look forward to collecting special gifts for my loved ones. I remember last year, a few days before Christmas, laying all the gifts on my coffee table and feeling good that each one was either made by a local artist or by fair trade artists around the world.

Fair trade is more than a feel good purchase. It accomplishes so many things at once.

Gratitude: It allows us to give a thoughtful gift to the people closest to us–the people who enjoy life’s up and downs with us, who help us along the path and who we help along the path. It is a symbol of gratitude.

* Less is More: Because it is handmade, is it preserving craft and art forms that have been part of different cultures for countless years. These expressions are from the heart, they tell a human story and cannot be massed produced in factories with machines.

* Girl Power: 76% of fair trade artisans are women. That means that women are the ones benefiting from your fair trade purchases. They are receiving fair wages and health care, have access to literacy and health education among other great benefits. Learn more.

* Healing Communities: In my experience of working with fair trade artisan groups, I have seen communities uplifted by the alternative income and fair trade’s investment in education and health care.

When I think about giving gifts as a way that benefits everyone from the artisan to the recipient, it brings me joy. I hope some fair trade items make it on your list this year. Don’t know where to find them? Check out the Fair Trade Federation’s Holiday Gift Guide. All of the members listed in this guide are companies that are fully committed to fair trade principles. My business, Dolma, is featured on page 8.

Happy Holidays Elephant readers. I hope it’s a time of appreciation and abundance for all of you!

Melinda Haselton is the owner and founder of Dolma, a Burlington, Vermont-based fair trade company. She works with artisan groups and schools in India with the hope of healing communities through fair trade and education. She also serves as the Programs Director of Fair Trade Burlington. Find her on Twitter @DolmaFairTrade and Facebook.


About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive.


13 Responses to “Finding Joy in (Fair-Trade) Gift Giving. ~ Melinda Haselton”

  1. Sandy Wynne says:

    Melinda is an inspiration for all of us, and her company Dolma reflects her passion of helping to make this world a better place for everyone. Congratulations on a terrific new website showcasing gorgeous fairly traded artisan crafts. Fair trade is a win all the way around. Go girl! And happy holidays to everyone. Hugs, Sandy

  2. Paul says:

    In addition to supporting Fair Trade artisans by distributing their items, it's remarkable that you donate 15% of your profits to schools for children in need! Also, congrats on launching your updated site–it truly showcases these artisans and their handcrafts.

  3. Stevie says:

    Thank's Melinda for this reminder about gifts and giving in a way that will support so many who we don't know while expressing love and gratitude to those that we do! Blessings on the holidays!

  4. Billy says:

    What a great post! Thanks for such important work Melinda and thanks for helping us all be responsible consumers in this season of over-consumption!

  5. Christine says:

    What a wonderful article! Melinda is an inspiration to us all to become more conscious of our buying habits. It reminds us of the true spirit of this season.

  6. Thanks for your kind words. It is our duty to think about where our products are made and who is making them. I find it to be a very different experience of gift giving.

  7. Taraleighlove says:

    Melinda is the best. She is passionate about what she does and it shows. We are so lucky to have a person like her in our world!

  8. Jackie says:

    Thank you for reminding us all what this season is really all about. Fair Trade Rocks!

  9. Tara says:

    Thank you Melinda! You are an inspiration. You followed your dream and are making a difference in the world. Your article is a reminder of a beautiful way to give gifts this holiday season. Thank you!

  10. Dusty says:

    Thanks for this! A great article and a wise sentiments to keep in mind during the holiday season. Definitely will spread the word.

  11. Anthony says:

    Thank you Melinda for inspiring us to give responsibly. You are so special.

  12. […] from pure gratitude is part of the “selfless action” that Krishna was referring to. Maybe the gratitude-action is direct to another being, or maybe in general gratitude for the joy of life. Although there is usually some yuck in the mix, […]

  13. For the 2011 Holiday Gift Guide from the Fair Trade Federation, visit:….

    Happy Holidays!