Green Christmas 2015: The Mission-Driven Girl's Wishlist

by - Thursday, November 17, 2016

family playing with mustaches

Our next Christmas Shopping Wishlist is from my cousin Rochelle! Shell is the kind of person who is always trying to do better and make the world better for the people around her. She loves to tell a story, and she has a lot of compassion for others. Not surprisingly, when I asked her to write me a Christmas list, she went above and beyond what I asked! 

In Rochelle's own words:

"I chose to focus on social responsibility instead of eco-friendly companies because the social responsibility was more important to me and I found that in most cases a company that practices social responsibility was also environmentally responsible but the reverse was not always the case.  Specifically, I wanted to find companies or stores that have a mission-minded focus.  I want the purchases I make to really mean something.  Not everything on this list will be mission-focused, but I think you’ll find that a lot of them practice some kind of mission."

Shelly made a list of things she wanted for Christmas:
Long Sleeve Shirts

Rochelle had really awesome ideas for where to get these things, so I am going to let her do most the talking and just add a few thoughts of my own onto the end of each item.

I love that she adjusted her list to address the issues that matter the most to her- you should do that too! Think about how your gifts can do more than just get someone another thing. I am in love with her list, so I hope you love it too! 
sudara pajama shirt
from Sudara

sudara punjammies pajama pants
from Sudara

1. Punjammies – "Every year my mom gets each of us Christmas pajamas that we open on Christmas Eve.  Usually she picks out sets from Kohls or the Gap (I usually pick out my own because I’m weirdly picky about my pajamas).  This year as I started to dig into various companies and social responsibility I found these pajamas and I am in love with them! 

Punjammies are made by a company called Sudara ( in India.  The women who work for this company are rescued from the sex trade in India and provided housing and education for both themselves and their children.  You can order these adorable clothes direct from their website and styles are available for women, men, and children.  Women’s pajama bottoms run about $45 and that cute India shirt is about $35.  That is only about $20 more than an equivalent sleep set from Gap."

My thoughts- Gah! These pajamas are definitely awesome, and price wise, they are about the same as anything I have found Made in America. Our family does Christmas Ever pajamas too, and I think you could cut down the price slightly by doing Punjammies pants and get a basic (but ethical!) shirt from American Apparel or another Made in America company. Bed Head makes their pajamas in the US as well.

2. Candles"I have been following Kristin Schmucker Shop on Instagram for nearly 2 years and I love pretty much everything in it.  Last year they added these adorable candles to the shop and I remember her posting a picture of her kitchen completely covered in mason jar candles – she makes these all in her own home! The candles are hand-poured with 100% natural soy wax from soy grown in the Midwest.  How cool is that?! And, they’re only about $11 on sale right now!"

My thoughts- Candles are an awesome thing to change course on, and they certainly make great gifts. Smelly candles are often made with paraffin that comes from petroleum! Boo! Using more sustainable materials (like soy or bee's wax) is better for your household and for the world (funny how often those go hand in hand).

Shelly didn't even mention my favorite thing about these candles- they have really pretty calligraphy on them (that seems to be Kristin's primary business) with bible verses. So awesome. If you are looking for other candle options, we are trying Eco Candle and Our Own Candle Company candles. I like the Tiger Mountain Farms beeswax candles and Silver Dollar Candle Co, but my absolute favorites are from Etta Arlene.

3. All the clothes from Altar’d State – "I love this store.  Like, I really, really love this store.  I started shopping here about 4 years ago.  My mom bought me my first two items right after I found out I was pregnant with my son and was tired of how bloated I looked (I show about 0.045 seconds after a positive pregnancy test – don’t tell me that I can wear my normal clothes well into the second trimester).  The long cardigan she bought me that day I still have and it is just now started to have a well-worn look.  Plus, it has adorable buttons on the cuffs.  Since then I’ve only bought a couple of items because, to be honest, the clothes are a little pricier than I usually buy.  All of that is seriously changing because  I’m no longer a “fast fashion” consumer and because I realized at the end of the summer that when I wanted to look super cute or put together I absolutely always reached for the two shirts I bought at Altar’d State at the beginning of the summer.

I can’t tell you that absolutely every item made in their store is socially responsible, but they do have certain stamps they put on some items that say “gives back” when the item is a part of their philanthropy program or the vendor is a partner in philanthropy.  This store donates 1% of all sales to local and international charities and they fund employee volunteer hours each month.  And their clothes are freaking cute.  Like, I seriously do want almost all of it.  These 3 tops were each about $40-$60 and the jeans are about $70, so like I said, it’s pricey.  But they last forever so they are great options for anchor pieces in your wardrobe.  The store also has great sales – I got 2 tops at the beginning of the summer for a grand total of $50 and I’m super sad that I can’t figure out how to make them work for winter."

My Thoughts- Altar'd States are all over the Southeastern region, but still remain pretty regional (you can shop from them online). But Shelly's love for them has inspired another Christmas season resolution: we should all take a second to explore a local shop. You know that one store that you walk by but haven't ever gone in? Time to check it out. There are small businesses all over the place that employ our neighbors and often have more priorities than "make more money, get bigger." But you don't know if you don't look, so let's all make a resolution to explore somewhere small before heading somewhere big.
4. The Marni Long Sleeve Shirt from KrochetKids – "Okay, this company is pretty incredible (and they are a vendor partner with Altar’d State!).  This company was started by three guys who were best friends in high school and all learned to crochet.  They started making beanies to sell to locals in their mountain community in Spokane, WA.  Some friends and family eventually encouraged them to teach people in developing countries to crochet as a means of escaping poverty.  They now have over 150 people in Uganda and Peru  who are working, receiving education, and being mentored toward a sustainable future.

What’s even cooler is that each item is signed by the person who made it and you can go to their website and write them a thank you note!"

My Thoughts- Super cool! I love their hashtag #knowwhomadeit.  We bought the bub a hat from them, and it is well-made enough to stand up through way more toddlers. 

colorscience makeup from sephora
from Sephora
5. Colorscience Makeup – "So I heard about this brand thanks to an impulse decision to follow Kaley Cuoco on Instagram.  Evidently this is the make up they use on the set of The Big Bang Theory (sorry, Barbara, I still love it).  This makeup is different for a number of reasons and costs about the same as any department store makeup.  I can’t tell you better than they can, so here is a quote from their website: “Made from 100% healthy, high-integrity minerals, pigments and nourishing ingredients, including antioxidants, peptides, breathable zinc and titanium dioxide. You might have heard or read that we’re doctor approved. This is completely true. We are, in fact, doctor-recommended all over the country.”  It’s makeup that’s actually good for you!

They also have a give back program called “Sunstoppable” with which they teach healthy sun habits.  They also partner with the Women’s Dermatologic Society and the Skin Cancer Foundation to raise awareness about the need for kids’ sun protection during recess and outside playtime.

Their “Everything Matte” set helps give you a shine-free complexion and the whole set will run you $162.40.  I spent about $200 on a similar beauty routine from Clinique last year."

My Thoughts- Awesome! I am currently on a mission to use up my giant archive of make-up, but I did write about green and ethical make up this year. Luckily, some more knowledgable bloggers have already thought about this! Buzzfeed has a very helpful article on sustainable products. Beautylish pointed to ones that don't test on animals!

toms booties
6. Tom’s Wedge Booties – We pretty much all know the Toms story by now, but these booties were so cute I had to add them (especially since it’s a company that practices one-for-one).  Again, pricey (since you’re basically buying 2), but they’ll last you ages.

My Thoughts- Shoes are tough to come by made ethically (and this is the most common complaint about Toms), but it's better to invest in something like this than just spending your money on something with less mission. If you want to do a one to one gift, you could also get someone a bear from Bears for Humanity, which sells super cute teddy bears (mostly made in the US), and for every one you buy, one is given to a child in need. 

A Few Bonus Ideas

If you want to give someone a gift that is really helping others, you have tons of great options! TONS. So don't buy from Susan G Komen- it's not a charity, it's basically just a brand. 

ornaments 4 charity cat christmas ornament
from Ornaments for Charity
1. Ornaments for Charity- A family in Nebraska makes Lego Christmas ornaments which they sell for a different charity every year. This year, they are giving 100% of the proceeds to the  Stephen Center and Space Haven. If that doesn't make you feel good about the universe, than what will? This is happening in our house this year, for sure. 

sela designs necklace
from Sela Designs
2. Sela Jewelry- Sela Designs, out of Wisconsin, sells their fair trade jewelry to give all proceeds to a charity. They also choose different projects- right now, they are working with a Children's Hospital in Ethiopia. I mean, come on. AND the jewelry looks gorgeous. This yellow necklace is currently my favorite. A little more expensive, but the splurge seems worth it! ho wouldn't love to receive a gift like this? 

3. Soaps- You can find tons of fair trade and local soaps, the most ubiquitous in Seattle probably being Alaffia, but you can probably fine something that supports a region that matters to you. I used to think that Bath and Bodyworks was the ultimate "I don't really know you" gift, but I think you could actually use more thoughtful soap gifts to keep loved ones clean and support things that matter to them. 

Does anyone have any other suggestions? How do you combine doing good for other people with giving gifts?

If you are loving this wishlist and want WAY more Christmas inspiration, check out my MegaList, which includes all of the shopping lists from this blog! So much to look at! 

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