It is safe to say we are in the busiest most expensive time of the year. As parking lots are packed and the words “Holiday Sale!” are everywhere we are bombarded with what to buy and where to buy it from. I would like to propose one question to ask yourself this Christmas season; “Who made it?”
This past year these three words have become etched onto my heart. “Who made it? Were they treated fairly? Am I stewarding my money well?” Asking this question, “Who made the products I am consuming and buying?”, has become important to who I am and who I am as a Christ follower. The shoes I buy as a gift could have been made by young women who are treated unfairly and not paid a fair wage. Women who were forced into working through abuse or threat. Many of these women work in factories and environments dangerous and unsafe to their health and wellness.
Bangladesh is one of the largest producers of clothing and textiles made for American companies. In 2013 the world witnessed the worst garment-factory collapse in Bangladesh, which killed more than 1,100 people (https://goo.gl/mOHNS9). After trying to leave the building because of large cracks in the foundation they were forced back in by owners and forty-five minutes later the building collapsed.
Jesus cares about each one of His children. He cares about how they are treated and how they are being taken care of. He cares about the 18-year old girl working fourteen hour days to make $10.42 a week for her family as much as he cares about me. Each dollar we hand over is a vote for what we care about and the world we want to see. Many of the stores in our local malls and companies we support have huge negative impacts on the people who are producing those goods. 27 million people are caught in slavery today. 78% of those people find themselves in labor slavery. Many of them producing products we overly consume at cheap prices (https://goo.gl/5Xjboi).
This can all be widely overwhelming. This is not something you master overnight or can change in a few weeks. Give yourself and others grace through the season of learning. It has taken me years to get to the point in even thinking about this. But I am so happy to say there is so much hope! There are hundreds of companies, thousands of people, and millions of dollars moving to change the way we consume. Do not let this discourage you but be a moment of empowerment to ask the question, “Who made it?”.
Below is a list of fair trade companies who value people and a fair trade gift guide! My prayer is we begin to stop and think more about the things we do which have an effect on others. To be in a place where we are constantly aware of our loving Father and how He has called us to love one another. Give more than just physical gifts by giving ethically this Christmas.
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Photo Credit: Patryk Dziejma