How to Become a Hero c.j. hayden
   How to Become a Hero
   You Are the Champion the World Is Waiting For

   C.J. Hayden, MCC

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The hero's holiday shopping guide for 2007 

This holiday season, consider using your gift-shopping dollars to help make the world a better place. By purchasing gifts from fair trade organizations, social enterprises, nonprofit cooperatives, and other worthy causes, you can give a gift to the people on your list and to the global community at the same time. In what has become an annual feature in this blog, here are some suggested ways you can make a difference with your holiday shopping.

Ten Thousand Villages - Purchase fair trade housewares, jewelry, accessories, and other gifts from artisans in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. For the women on your list, check out the Vintage Appeal collection. For men, see the ideas on their Gifts for Him page.

Handmade Expressions - Choose from socially and environmentally responsible products from artisan cooperatives, including eco-friendly journals, shopping bags, tote bags, and purses from recycled materials, cloth dolls made from scraps, and jewelry created from locally sourced materials.

BuyChange - Select gifts from four different social enterprises that sustain worthy causes: Arghand Hand-milled Soap from Afghanistan, Food from the Hood Salad Dressing from South Central Los Angeles, Mr. Elliepooh Elephant Pooh Paper Products from Sri Lanka, and Hagar Handbags and Accessories from Cambodia.

A Greater Gift - This program of SERRV International provides development assistance to low-income micropreneurs and helps them market their products. In their online store, you can purchase jams and jellies from Swaziland, olive oil from Palestine, wild rice from the Native American Ojibwe tribe, tea from Nepal packaged in a satin brocade bag, and much more.

Palestine Children's Welfare Fund - You can purchase beautiful handmade embroidery crafted by Palestinian women in refugee camps. Your purchases help to support these women and their families, who have very few options for earning a living. Stop by the ConnectHer project to find out how your shopping dollars will help more women micro-entrepreneurs get started.

Heavenly Treasures - Help people break the cycle of poverty by purchasing handicrafts from livelihood projects in 11 countries around the world. Check out the banana bark holiday ornaments from Kenya, wool slippers from Kyrgyzstan, and silk scarves from Laos. If you're in the Los Angeles area, visit their retail store in Glendora.

Aid to Artisans - Buy jewelry, accessories, home decor, and crafts from this project to help artisans in the developing world learn business skills and find markets for their products. You can also find some ATA products at stores like Crate & Barrel and Pier 1 Imports.

iGive - If the wish lists of your loved ones include items from name brand merchants like Apple, Best Buy, Gap, or Harry & David, you can make these purchases and still make a contribution by shopping through iGive. Participating merchants will donate an average of 1-5% of your purchase to the cause of your choice. Since 1997, iGive has raised almost $3 million for charity.

JustGive - For the person who has everything, you can make a gift in their honor with a charity gift basket that donates the amount of your choice to a selection of charities in support of a single cause. Choose from causes like Support Women of the World, Create Peace for All, Plant Trees, or Provide Shelter for Animals.

For even more suggestions, check out my 2006 guide or 2005 guide to find sources for gift baskets, baby clothes, organic cotton clothing, bath salts, pet gifts, soup mixes, chocolate, and much more. Build a better world with your purchases this holiday.

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