For those of us who desire to live radically different, measured by God’s word rather than the status quo, the holiday season invites a slew of conflicting feelings surrounding the reason for the season. Should we lavish gifts on each other? If so, what kind of gifts? If our focus is on the advent of the birth and then full on celebration of the coming of Christ, how do we live like we believe that is true? While cause for contemplation and reflection, I would like to suggest a few specific alternative ways to give generously to our loved ones this Christmas. Ways that seek to honor our water-into-wine-celebrating God who constantly gives good gifts for us all to enjoy, while stopping to consider the ethics behind our choices.

Our sponsored child, Cristian

Our sponsored child Cristian

The following three options all support an organization near and dear to my heart, Lemonade International. There are many options readily available that honor the artisan, create avenues for mercy and justice, AND give beautiful gifts to those we are celebrating with this Christmas. Consider one of these—or discover your own.

1. Give  a donation in honor of your family and friends.

This can be a meaningful way to show love while providing shoes, food, and school supplies to children living in deep poverty. When giving Christmas to the children and teachers in Guatemala’s largest urban slum through a donation, you can receive a printable Christmas card to hand-deliver or mail to your family and friends.

Shoes made by Otto

Shoes made by Otto

2. Give beautifully crafted handbags, shoes and jewelry.

The Root Collective has made it possible for you to purchase the work of those whose livelihood depends on their crafts being sold. We met jewelry artisans Alma and Salma, as well as Otto the shoemaker, back in April. All three have stories of transformation and have learned how to utilize their creative gifts and talents in order to provide for their own families as well as provide work for others, as an opportunity to see another option in life besides thieving and violence. I have two pairs of shoes made by Otto, which I happen to love! These make great gifts!

3. Give ethically grown coffee beans.

La Limonada Coffee

La Limonada Coffee

You can order the “La Limonada” coffee online from Full Circle Coffee Project. In relationship with the Guatemalan farmer, beautiful medium-bodied coffee beans are being shipped to Raleigh where they are roasted and bagged. All of the proceeds go to the community development programs in La Limonada. As your loved one sips their coffee each day, they can think about the farmer who was paid a fair wage, the development work being supported, and the love shown by you in selecting such a gift!