GIFT WITH GIVING CHANGE

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There are a few special things I love to add to my tree and my dinner table, and with the festive season around the corner, it’s always wonderful to add items that give back.

When it comes to our Christmas tree, over the years we’ve dubbed it as a tree of memories. Every ornament on the tree has a unique story behind it: like the beautiful set of mirror ball ornaments we got last year are the first ornaments the twins helped me decorate the tree with. There are a set of giraffe ornaments which represent the twins because they have a large giraffe in their nursery. There is also a little dog ornament the twins helped me pick; this little cutie represents the neighbor’s dog whom they run out to meet every time she passes by our home for her morning walk. All of these ornaments, and so many more that are on our tree have one thing in common – they were handcrafted by makers around the world because I wholeheartedly support fair trade.

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This year, the twins again helped me pick a few ornaments, like this beautiful Red Glitter Star because they feel the tree looks ‘pretty’ with a star instead of the velvet bow (that’s what I had on the tree before). I agree with the twins, the beautiful red glittery star was handcrafted in India by the makers of Asha Handicrafts Association and it looks like it belongs on our tree. Another ornament I picked up was three felt doves that were made by makers of Manushi. Manushi helps disadvantaged women in rural Nepal earn an income. All of these ornaments are available at Ten Thousand Villages Canada, a non-profit business that connects global makers in a special way. It creates a platform for these people to sell their handcrafted work and comes with a beautiful story attached to their creations.

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Food is one of my favorite ways to bring family and friends over to my home and just reconnect. This summer, I got some beautiful small soft cloud ceramic bowls and a carafe. The stoneware bowl from Nepali Craft Trading was designed so beautifully that I grabbed the larger one this time (perfect size to hold my buttery soft cauliflower mash). I also included some new pieces that I spotted from the same group because I fell in love with the beautiful sage green tint that covers the rim of the ceramic bowls.

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Earlier this year, Ten Thousand Villages introduced Giving Change, a program designed to help makers they work with gain access to interest-free micro-financing loans. This allows them to focus on creating their products instead of worrying where their monetary support will come from. With Giving Change, we can help makers get access to loans to fund their future. Head on over to https://www.tenthousandvillages.ca/givingchange to learn more about the program and donate.

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