Last week I wrote all about having an Ethical Easter and I told you all the neat things I was planning to put in my kids’ Easter “baskets”, then literally the very next day a good friend who represents one of my favorite companies Noonsday (more on this company coming soon) shared an amazing fair trade Easter basket bundle put together by Mercy House Global. Despite almost being done, or so I thought, with the Easter baskets that sounded right up my alley so I HAD to check that out. As I was browsing around debating the bundle I stumbled upon their Fair Trade Friday Bags for Kids.
It was perfect. I thought, “ok what I can do is go ahead and get the girls each a bag and then pull from the bag for my youngest’s basket and save the other things for little gifts here & there or my oldest upcoming birthday.” I was also a little nervous about what might be included in the bags because I saw some of the girls items had hair clips & jewelry with small parts. Great for my oldest but not ideal for my just turned 2 year old. Still, I when I buy something for one I almost always buy something similar or the same of the other one because fights tend to ensue if we don’t keep things equal. So I just sent a little note with my order letting them know the order was for two little girls aged 2 and 6 and if at all possible could one bag not have small parts. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if the note would be read. Or if it was, I didn’t know if they would be able to honor individual requests. They are a small business, I have a small business, so I get that operations are set to run a certain way to maintain overall quality and consistency and often times mystery or grab bags like this are pre-sorted based on inventory and can’t be changed easily.
I love a good surprise but while I always make the kids wait for them, I am terrible about waiting myself. Its one of those do as a I say not as I do things parenting perks like eating chocolate anytime you want. So when their little bags arrived I couldn’t help myself, I was so curious I ran upstairs to have a peek. I open the big packing bag to find two good size bags, bigger than I was expecting. But before I had a chance to peek inside them another smaller brown bag caught my eye.
Free gift!?! Well that just about made my day! I am not a big jewelry wearer and when I do I wear very simple small jewelry so these earrings were perfect for me. It was like they knew me. And it only got better. No lie, I actually shed a tear when I opened each of the girls bags (cue Mike in the background saying “I don’t understand you women, so emotional”). These surprise bags were PERFECT. It was obvious they were put together just for my girls, not a pre-stocked bag. It was like whoever put them together for us not only had a beautiful eye for design & color collections but also understood EXACTLY what it meant to have two girls aged 6 & 2. The bags were perfectly equal, the “same but different” and each a perfect compliment for my children’s age and somehow even perfect fit for their personalities.
Each an beautiful pink & purple apron- but different designs. Each a little bag, but one a perfect tiny tote for my favorite little packer & a colorful playful zipper bag for my fancy big girl. Each a bracelet, but a safe adjustable one for my youngest and a beautiful beaded one for my oldest. Each an animal to play with, but a snuggly friend for my baby and amazing set of darling tiny creatures in a beautifully crafted basket for my big girl! The colors, the thought, the items select were just perfection. I was truly overwhelmed at what delightful curated collections they were.
But more that that, each piece had a tag with the location where they were made and many with the name of the woman who handmade the item. A woman who in most cases was a mom just like me who was trying to start & run a small business just like I do, sharing her passion for both her product & her family. Except unlike the multitude of opportunities and access I have, she was doing all this to provide just the bare minimum resources and often with the odds stacked against her. Her job doesn’t mean her family can do extra fun things like mine does. Her job means her family can eat, have a place to sleep, get medicine and her children could have access to education. Her job literally means everything to her & her children. Its the opportunity for a thriving life instead of just an existence.
So I choose to use my job to give her the open door to the world we all want, a better one. I choose to share this Fair Trade First idea with my kids so they can understand the world around them isn’t equal, but it could be. That beauty is everywhere you look, but its only if you cultivate that beauty that it continues to flourish.
Mercy House Global offers an amazing array of gifts for kids (actually they have a great selection for everyone). They aren’t the only awesome company like this and I am excited to share some of my other favorites in the future. But what I really want to share with you is that the best gift for kids, anyone really, is a gift that does more. A gift that opens doors, shares stories, empowers people, teaches, cultivates, is finely crafted and can be cherished for generations. I know, I know the chain retailers & internet superstores are cheap & convenient. This isn’t to say don’t shop there, because of course I still do. But what if you considered a fair trade, artisan made, socially conscious choice first? What difference could you make in the world both in the support you give now and the example you set for the future buyers in your home? What if you really could change the world by casting your economic vote, your dollars, in favor of someone like these women above and the small businesses that support them?