4 Ideas on How to Shop According to Your Values This Christmas

It’s that time of year again where we think about those dearest to us and buy them a little gift to show our appreciation, but how do you know the companies you are buying from aren’t working against the causes you support? Well, here are four ways to help you make more ethical choices this Christmas.

1. Want to Shop Vegan Friendly this Christmas? 

There are a number of great websites to help you shop vegan-friendly this Christmas. The Vegan Society, which prides itself on animal product-free items that are also ethically sourced, has a range of clothing, bags and books that in many cases have broad appeal, and might be a good idea for little stocking-filler items.

Another great idea is to buy directly from small online businesses through sites like Etsy. You can get many vegan gifts including jewelry, items for around the home, and more. If you care about broader ethical questions, you might have to think about where people might be sourcing their materials to make these (often handcrafted) gift items, but this at least gives you a place to start your search.

If you are an avid believer in making your own gifts, sites like Pinterest offer a great way to see the many delightful gifts you could make. Search for vegan Christmas gifts to get links to great gift ideas. Obviously, you’ll have to check that these ideas are completely vegan, but this gives you a good place to find inspiration for your own little projects.

2. Care About LGBT Rights? 

Every year the Human Rights Campaign releases its Corporate Equality Index. The index serves as a tally to see how big brands do when it comes to LGBT rights. For instance, do they offer same-sex spouses the same benefits packages that are given to heterosexuals? Do they have inclusive nondiscrimination policies in place? And how do they spend their money? Have they supported LGBT rights in the political sphere, or fought against LGBT rights advances?

The index is easily searchable and through it you can quickly check how your favorite companies score. Click here now to give it a try.

It should be noted, however, that the equality index still undervalues trans rights in some key areas, and it is worth baring that in mind when you see perfect or high ranking scores. That said, as with all the guides and tools, this is one item to inform your wider decision making process and you’ll probably want to do your own research in addition to this if you are particularly wanting to support companies who in turn support trans rights.

To their credit, the HRC has started to work on this issue by listing companies that, for instance, offer trans health care policies. Here’s a list of 30 companies that have trans inclusive workplace policies to help in your search.

3. Buying Electronics?

Getting completely ethical electronics is almost impossible due to the environmental impact of the manufacturing process behind most of our smartphones and entertainment systems, but you can get electronics that at the very least don’t profit from minerals bought from countries torn by conflict or as a result of slave labor.

A score sheet by Baptist World Aid Australia could help you get a read on some of the leading electronics companies like Dell and Samsung. The score card rates the companies on over 60 different criteria but essentially it’s looking at things like manufacturing processes and worker’s rights. For more information on this electronics guide, head over to the dedicated Baptist Wold Aid website here.

If you are in the market specifically for a new phone, consider taking a look at devices like the Fair Phone, which is specially engineered using the Android platform to be as ethically responsible as is currently possible.

4. Use Websites That Do the Work for You

There are a range of websites that have already sifted through the kind of data you’ve seen above to make recommendations on which products are good both in terms of environmental responsibility and human rights.

The Ethical Consumer website has a great selection of product guides. While you do need a subscription to access some of its more in-depth content, the Ethical Consumer makes a lot of its guides freely accessible, so there’s plenty of information to browse on things like buying clothing, health and beauty products, as well as food and drink.

Another website you might like to look at is TOMS marketplace. This one is a bit different. In 2013 TOMS, the ethical shoe brand, launched a website selling a whole range of different style and clothing products. The idea behind the marketplace is that each retailer represented on the site gives money to various good causes when a customer purchases one of their items. This includes your purchases enabling a child in a lower-income country to go to school for a week, to supplying vital medical items, and also helping farmers in food supply-poor countries grow their own produce. The site allows you to shop by cause and to explore how your purchases will help the causes you care about.

So there you have it. Being an ethical consumer is difficult and unfortunately what might be good in terms of say LGBT rights (from companies like Kelloggs or Coca-Cola), might not be the best for the environment, but at least through the above guides, you can get informed about the causes that matter to you and make your purchasing power count this holiday season.

Photo credit: Thinkstock.


JL A3 years ago

good tips Steve!

Carol Johnson
Carol Johnson3 years ago

Noted thanks for sharing

Dave C.
David C3 years ago

I am all for less stuff......

Dave C.
David C3 years ago


Carole R.
Carole R3 years ago

The gift of love, however it is given, is best.

Peter Blattner
Peter B3 years ago

The best gift would be if you were to abolish the Consumerism Christmas tight!

Fi T.
Past Member 3 years ago

It's the message behind that counts, not the price