The holidays are officially on. It's almost like you can already feel the kindness in the air, the idea of Thanksgiving and the possibilities of Christmas are making us think outside of ourselves. On the plane this morning, the man beside me is lifting an elderly woman's bag into the overhead compartment, the flight attendant seems even happier than usual and although it's 6:00 AM on a cold morning in Omaha, Nebraska, I haven't heard a thing that wouldn't make Father Christmas proud.
This group of people will travel across the country to visit nursing homes, hug babies and volunteer their time. This is the group of people that will stand out in the cold and sing Christmas Carols to brighten someone's night. And starting this weekend, they will spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars to find the perfects gifts for the people that they love. Every bit of it is beautiful, or it should be.
This year, people like the ones I'm sitting with will spend 619 Billion dollars on Christmas gifts. That's 619 billion votes on the future of Christmas and the future of how working people all around the world are treated as they make our gifts.
This year, a significant percentage of those votes will be cast for products that are manufactured by one of more than 150 million child slaves. Still other gifts will be purchased from manufacturers who pay their employees too little to send their own children to school. The real tragedy in this, is that most of my airplane seat neighbors don't have any idea what they are about to do and even if they knew, most of them wouldn't know which brands to boycott and which ones to buy.
This Holiday Season, I don't have all the answers either. But as I pack up my laptop and wish my seatmates a happy holiday, I'm more determined than ever to research, collaborate and question my way to a different level of transparency in the products that we buy.
All around me I see customers, innovators and social entrepreneurs asking questions and demanding a new kind of honesty from the brands they buy from. It's brands like Faircloth Supply, Bull+Moose, SackCloth and Ashes, Henri Rose Decor and Patagonia that make me confident that we are on the cusp of a new era of business. An era where everyday people don't have to try to ignore the impact of their purchases but can proudly know that what they buy is changing the world.
Some additional reading:
Our Conscious Gift List for Men:
Our Conscious Gift List for Women: