Buying Local and Sustainable For Christmas


this is a sponsored post

A friend recently posted one of her handy-works on instagram. I had to have it for baby B. (My first official baby purchase, except I custom ordered it in a variegated purple!) This little shopping trip led me down a wonderful rabbit hole, so to speak.

Cute elf hat

I found her shop on Etsy and then went on to discover many other fabulous shops from readers.I had completely forgotten about Etsy. It hasn’t been on my radar for quite some time. But, then I started looking around. Wow, I need to get a teething toy as a gift. Oh, yes, somebody definitely needs those handmade Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle golf club covers. And, oh goodness, look at those upcycled wool longies made from a cute sweater. Those will be perfect for E.

I looked some more and found some amazing shops that make safe and environmentally-friendly baby toys; shops that upcycle all of their materials for their products. And it got me thinking.


Can I make better decisions this holiday season? Can I buy more locally made goods this year? Can I be aware of where these goods are manufactured? Are they safely made? Are they safe for my family?

Are the people making them getting paid fair wages? Are they giving back in a positive way?

safe prodcution + sustainability

Do they reduce, reuse and recycle? (I imagine many bikers could use some bike floss in their lives.)

Recycled Materials

In a nutshell, I need to be better about putting my money where my mouth is! I buy cloth diapers because they are good for the environment. I make sure that I purchase brands that are safe and workers are paid fair wages. But, why don’t I think about this when it comes to purchasing Christmas presents? Or any other holiday present for that matter?

So, this year, I’m making an effort to support the local urban crafter. I will try to purchase from individuals instead of big businesses when possible. A not so local company to me, but definitely on the up and up in the crafting and recycling department is Rickshaw Bagworks.

They create many different bags as sleeves, and they are made from recycled water bottles. I don’t think it gets much craftier than that. They really hit home the message to manufacture locally, employ locally and pay their workers more than fair wages (even including health care.)


At Rickshaw, they have they have a simple approach to business:

We also observe the “KISS” principle: Keep It Super Simple. By making products to order, we can offer a portfolio of bags designed specifically for our own lean manufacturing process. We don’t maintain a finished-goods inventory, and our materials are delivered just in time. We keep our supply chain as short as possible, purchasing most materials from American manufacturers and working with local subcontractors who specialize in the few things we don’t do ourselves. We also focus on direct sales, as opposed to wholesale, to improve profit margins and support higher costs.

Rickshaw Bagworks: Who We Are from Rickshaw Bagworks on Vimeo.

Maybe if you look around, you could find one gift that you could purchase from a local craftsman that is even better than the “same” gift that was already on your shopping list? You can check to see if your community has a local festival coming up, or even your farmer’s market. It seems like there are always more people with handmade and locally crafted goods available around the holidays. Or even check with your Facebook friends. Maybe they have their own shop or business you didn’t even know existed!

Will you make any changes this year with your purchasing power? Will you try to buy locally and sustainably?

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  1. This is a great post. I know that sometimes I make purchases without thinking of the bigger picture. This reminds me that, with a little research, I can find great local products for gifts and for myself. I love that Rickshaw make bags to order, I know its not something I would find in a big box store

  2. Often these gifts are more thoughtful than the usual gifting ideas. If families determined to replace even a portion of their gifts with handmade and recycled items, it could go a long way to help the economy and earth. Teacher’s gifts and hostess gifts are a great place to start. (And my teenager prefers many of the items on Etsy because of her fandoms and preferences.)

  3. It’s a great idea to buy locally. I always try to go to local craft shows around this time of year to buy presents for family that are created by local artisans. I always find something unique and handmade to give family…

  4. I always try to buy local and I will be doing so on small biz Saturday. We need to support our small businesses every chance we can get.

  5. I always look for new types of gift ideas, and sustainable gifts are always a great idea. These are gifts that you can not find in every store and are special.

  6. I haven’t given this much thought this holiday season, but I really should. Etsy has beautiful things and I am sure our monthly festival downtown has lots of handmade goodies that would be perfect for gift giving.

  7. It is a great idea to buy local, I do that a lot for Christmas. I am always finding something that’s unique and cool for the kids and myself.

  8. Those bags are so cool and what a great post. I think it’s more and more important to buy locally.

  9. I don’t usually buy locally, but your pos thas me thinking. I like het idea of the recycled water bottle bags.

  10. Those bags look like they’d be a good buy!

    I do try to pay attention to where something is made and what it is made of. Sometimes I get stuck because there will be a certain item at the top of my boys’ wish lists that I can’t find meeting that criteria!

  11. I’m so glad you wrote this. I used to pick a lot of cute things off Etsy, but haven’t shopped on Etsy for my holiday gifts. Heading over there now!

  12. we support local businesses whenever possible. i’m sure it’s cheaper to get soccer cleats and shinguards at target but there’s this family owned shop near us, pfau’s, and they’ve just got “it” and we always go there.

  13. I have always tried to shop in a way that supports local businesses. Perhaps the reason is that I am a small business owner and would like to be supported by my community.

  14. What a great post and reminder. Every year we attend our town’s holiday shopping nights. It’s a lot of fun and helps to remind and encourage us to shop and support local!

  15. I really love this new widespread movement to support local businesses. Sure, I may be able to get a cheaper version of something at Wal-Mart, but I would rather spend a couple of dollars more and keep that money and industry in my community. Plus, local goods often have a lot more character and are of a much higher quality.

    P.S. I love shopping on Etsy, too! That little cap is so adorable and perfect for Christmas! 🙂

  16. It’s awesome to see my hat at the top of a great post! I agree and try to by local as much as possible. It’s a great feeling to support a small business!

  17. I love to buy locally. I really enjoy buying things off of Etsy. I have found some great things on there.

  18. I love local and sustainable purchases and you often find extremely appealing and unique items. I know I appreciate such a gift.

  19. I always prefer to buy local, our local economy needs all the help it can get! Plus the gifts are unique and not the same mass produced stuff everyone else gets.

  20. I love buying local wherever I can. Also, that is the cutest hat ever!

  21. I agree in being environmentally responsible with the things we buy. I do recycle everything that I have finished using as I know that it will be created into another product that others will use.

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