Shopping, Social Conscious & Occupy Christmas

"Hear this, you who swallow up the needy, and make the poor of the land fail...That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals." Amos 8:4-6 So this verse was in our Wednesday night message at church and it struck hard with me because there are things I have been HEAVILY convicted about lately. Things that make me feel very weird and uncomfortable. So just be warned they might make you feel that way too.

I stopped shopping at Old Navy. And Target. Yeah, for those of you that know me you know that is HUGE.

Here is the thing though, at first glance those verses aren't all that convicting. I'm nice to poor people, I give constantly to organizations that support those people. Ummmm, one problem though the money I spend regularly was screaming a completely different message than the little bit of money I was whispering into non-profit organizations. I don't really know how to tell you this, but those companies and most of the others that I love? They use bad labor practices in places that are already desolate. Check the tag. Google it. Turns out it is pretty easy to find.

What that means is that I was basically selling the poor to save $5 or $10 on a scarf. Ouch.

Y'all these are PEOPLE. PEOPLE that could have been me or you had we not been born by the GRACE OF GOD in different circumstances.

I thought to myself, "I'll slowly make changes in my life that will eventually cut these things out" and really that is what I'm trying to do because it is harder and deeper in my life than I thought. Crazy enough though, this verse...

"...once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

Has come alive for me. It's been easier than I thought to walk away from chocolate (almost all chocolate, Cadbury, Mars, Hershey, is produced by child slavery on the Ivory coast.), Favorite stores, and cheap clothes and shoes.  When I saw this

It resonated with me. It turns out with just a tiny bit of looking these things are easy to find. You can find almost anything that you are looking for that is locally made, fair trade, or used.

Even better one of my families is doing a handmade family gift exchange. I LOVE that idea. Don't think your a homemade kinda person? Get on Pinterest.

So due to budget most of our Christmas gifts this year will be homemade, but everything else will local (US) or fair trade from other countries or best of all a gift that helps out someone else!

In case this makes you feel weird or uncomfortable too here are some great links to buying well for Christmas:

Rage Against the Minivan: Gifts that Give Back

Rage Against the Minivan: Occupy Christmas Gift Idea Link Up

Vitafamilae: Home for Christmas

or if you are local to the Amarillo Area I highly recommend THE NEST  my cousin owns it and is dedicated to fair trade, and local artists!