Bangladesh Artisans

Not sure what to get him for Christmas? This holiday season, give meaning. Every handcrafted gift from Ten Thousand Villages feeds families, provides healthcare, sends children to school, helps to build safe homes and empowers women. With every purchase, we fight poverty and improve the lives of makers and their families around the world. Whether he’s your husband, brother or dad, he’ll love unwrapping these unique gifts that give back on Christmas morning.

Plaid Scarf

plaid scarf

If he’s a skier or snowboarder, he’ll love getting cozy knitwear for Christmas. This plaid chenille scarf was handwoven in Ecuador by the makers of Maquita. Maquita works with more than one hundred craft workshops in Ecuador providing marketing, production and design assistance to over 600 makers.

Cozy Socks

cozy socks

Skip ordinary socks this Christmas. These fair trade, organic cotton blend socks help change lives. Our friends at Conscious Step partner with non-profit organizations to fight poverty and support humanitarian causes around the world. This year, we’ve partnered with Conscious Step and The Kumbeshwar Technical School (KTS) in Nepal to make our own socks that give back. Every pair purchased feeds 10 children nutritious snacks through KTS’ daycare and school programs.

Delicious Coffee

coffee

If he’s a coffee connoisseur, gift him with his favourite coffee or try something new this holiday season! When you buy our coffee, you help:

  • Children in Colombia get uniforms so they can attend school
  • Farmers in Peru receive education so they can cultivate healthy, organic food
  • Communities in the D.R. Congo access vaccinations to stop the spread of disease

Divine Chocolate

Divine chocolate

If he has a sweet tooth, gift him with his favourite chocolate bar or try something new this holiday season! When you buy our chocolate, you improve the lives and opportunities of small-scale farmers.

What are you getting him for Christmas? Let us know in the comments below!

kids toys

Now that the snow is here (at least in Ontario!) and the holiday season has arrived, it’s time to start shopping for Christmas gifts. Are you struggling with what and how much to get your kids for Christmas? Then we suggest the five gift rule:

  • Something they want
  • Something they need
  • Something to wear
  • Something to read
  • Something to do

Something they want

doll

This is probably the toy that’s at the top of their Christmas wish list or maybe it’s a fun and new toy to surprise them with! Whether it’s a toy they want or a toy they didn’t even know they wanted, it’s sure to make them smile. This adorable Kenyan school girl was hand sewn in Kenya by the makers of OTICART.

Something they need

journals

This could be an item they need for their room like a lamp or a desk, supplies they need for school like a new pencil case or set of markers, or equipment they need for a music or sports activity they participate in. These three colourful journals were handmade in the Philippines by the makers of Salay Handmade Paper.

Something to wear

scarf

This could be clothing for the upcoming winter season like sweaters, knitwear or boots, or maybe it’s attire for a different season or a winter getaway trip you’re taking. This cozy scarf was handstitched in Nepal by the makers of The Kumbeshwar Technical School (KTS). KTS operates an orphanage, a nursery, a primary school for children of impoverished families and a workplace daycare.

Something to read

books

This is the perfect chance to get them a brand new book they’ve never heard of that you think they’ll like. If your child is an avid reader, you can get them the next book in the series they’ve been reading and waiting for!

Something to do

game

This gift idea is the perfect chance to spend time together as a family. Whether its tickets to see a movie or tickets for an amusement park, it gives you the opportunity to bond and make memories. This solitaire game was handcrafted in Pakistan by makers working with Dominion Traders.

Do you know what you’re getting your kids for Christmas? Do you have a set of guidelines that you follow? Let us know in the comments below!

With the school year coming to an end, it’s the perfect time to thank your child’s teacher. Show your appreciation with one (or more!) of these gift ideas. Plus, many of these gifts empower families in countries all over the world by giving the makers and their children the opportunities to apply for scholarship funds and attend school, literacy classes and training sessions. What better gift to give a teacher?

Mug

Ceramic mug

A mug is a classic teacher gift that every educator will not only love but use every day. You can even fill one up with a few chocolate bars too! Famous for its ceramics, this mug is from the village of Bat Trang where makers working with Mai Handicrafts have the opportunity to apply for scholarship funds.

Pencil Case

Pencil case

Help your child’s teacher keep their pencils, markers and pens secure with a pencil case. Crafted from jute, this pencil case was made by artisans working with Saidpur Enterprises. The organization offers literacy classes and training sessions on nutrition, women’s legal rights, educational awareness and financial advice.

Candle

Candle

Gift your child’s teacher with a unique candle. Since this candle holder is made from real marble, each one has a distinct colour and pattern.

Notebook

Notebook

Help your child’s teacher write out their lesson plans with a notebook. The intricate dyeing and weaving technique to craft this notebook takes years to master.

Socks That Provide Tuition

Socks

Teachers will love that these socks help to educate children! With the purchase of these socks, our friends at Conscious Step will make a donation to resource centres in India where children from marginalized communities are given the opportunity to learn, read and write.

Book

Book

Help your child’s teacher expand their classroom library with a new book. School Days Around the World explores stories of schools in thirteen different countries around the world.

Tea

Tea

But first, tea. Teachers who are tea lovers will love the chance to try something new. This tea is just one of the many types of fair trade tea Ten Thousand Villages carries. Pair this gift idea with one of our mugs for a tea-themed gift!

Basket

Basket

Gift your child’s teacher with a basket that they can use in their classroom. Made from kaisa grass and recycled plastic, this basket is perfect for holding toys or books. Pair this gift with some of the ideas above and fill it up with school supplies or books!

What are you getting your child’s teacher this year? Or if you’re a teacher, what would be the perfect gift for you? Let us know in the comments below!

Father’s Day is this weekend, can you believe it? If you’re unsure about what to get dad for Father’s Day, then check out our top 10 gift ideas. These gifts are sure to make dad’s day a great one.

Bicycle Chain Picture Frame

Bicycle Chain Picture Frame

Add your favourite picture of you and dad to a frame and you’ve got yourself a simple, yet sentimental Father’s Day gift. The frame pictured above was handcrafted from recycled bicycle chain by the makers of Noah’s Ark.

Wallet

Wallet

A wallet is a Father’s Day gift that dad will not only love but use every day. You can even surprise him by sticking a gift card inside! This wallet was hand-stitched by makers in Colombia and made with upcycled materials.

Socks That Provide Tuition

Socks

Keep it lighthearted this Father’s Day with a funky pair of socks. With the purchase of these socks, our friends at Conscious Step will make a donation to resource centres in India where children from marginalized communities are given the opportunity to learn, read and write.

Hammock

Blue hammock

Give dad the gift of relaxation this Father’s Day! He will love unwinding in a hammock on a warm summer day. This hammock was crocheted by makers working with Oyanca Artesania in Nicaragua.

Spectacle Stand

Spectacle stand

A glasses case or spectacle stand is the perfect Father’s Day gift for dads that wear glasses or forget where they put their glasses! This quirky spectacle stand was crafted by the makers of Asha Handicrafts Association.

Bottle Opener

Bottle opener

Cheers dad this Father’s Day with his favourite drink and a brand new bottle opener. Carried on for generations, Noah’s Ark makers pass this metalwork tradition from father to son.

Coffee

Fair Trade Coffee

Gift dad with his favourite coffee this Father’s Day and spend some quality time drinking it with him. If he’s a coffee connoisseur, he might enjoy trying something different. Pair some coffee with any one of the handmade ceramic mugs from our collection.

Chocolate

Fair Trade Chocolate

Dads who have a sweet tooth will love getting chocolate for Father’s Day. Gather his favourite chocolate bars together and arrange them in a basket. Have him try something new and give him one of our Divine chocolate bars.  

Hat

Winter hat

Dads who love winter and spend a lot of time outside will love getting a hat for Father’s Day. This warm and fuzzy hat was hand knitted using multi-coloured wool in Nepal.

Chess Set

Chess set

Spend some quality time with dad this Father’s Day and play a game with him. If he’s a fan of chess, gift him with a new chess set and then maybe let him win the next game. This chess set was hand carved by the makers of Dominion Traders.

What are you getting your dad for Father’s Day? Or what would be the perfect gift for you for Father’s Day? Let us know in the comments below!

[This post was originally published in Mosaic, the blog magazine of Ten Thousand Villages in the US. We liked it so much we thought we would share it with you. It’s reprinted here with permission.]

Weddings inspire generosity on a level that few other occasions can reach. And why not? Two people have chosen to spend the rest of their lives together “for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health,” and that kind of commitment takes support and encouragement from a loving community. After all, aren’t we stronger when we stick together? Whether support finds its way to the happy couple by means of gifts, advice, or time, you know it will be heartfelt and generously given.

Generosity is something that you should be prepared for. Accepting gifts graciously, whether you were expecting them or not, can be challenging at times. Setting up a registry can seem a little overwhelming, and choosing the perfect ‘thank you’ gifts for your bridal party or wedding favors for your guests can feel like a challenge. But, don’t despair! There are ways to give and receive in the days leading up to your wedding without losing sight of what the occasion is really about, all while consciously choosing to keep the well-being of you, your guests, and the world in mind.

festive1Decorating my home in holiday style is one of my favourite things to do this time of year! I love adding lights, sparkle and fun festive accessories to change up the look of my home.

I thought it would be fun to try two completely different styles on my mantel this year, to see which one best suits my style. I like both of these options quite a lot, so I’d love to hear from you which one is your favourite!

Tis_the_reasonNovember is here! And as anyone who has ever worked in retail knows, this is the week that kick-starts the holiday season into high gear. Exciting? Absolutely! Our stores and warehouse are brimming with unique gifts we can’t wait to share with you.

But here’s something else new we’re excited to reveal: Our ’Tis the Reason campaign.

All year, we’ve worked hard to understand what current and new customers truly want from Ten Thousand Villages. You spoke, we listened – and we have created a campaign that not only excites and motivates, but also incorporates our longstanding values that remain strong and true.

Nosey Spectacle StandIf I had to narrow it down to just one word that I hear used most often to describe Ten Thousand Villages’ products, it’s “unique.”

Without a doubt, we specialize in bringing things to the Canadian market that you simply can’t find anywhere else.

Not only that, but when I look at reports on the items that are among our bestsellers, I’m consistently surprised by some of the items that are the most popular. Take our Nosey Spectacle Stand, for instance. It’s so incredibly popular – and has been for years – that we like to joke that pretty much everyone in Canada must have one!

In our office, you only need to refer to “the nose” and everyone knows exactly what you mean. (Pun totally intended.)

BODY1 - love knot sculpturePractical. Unique. Fun. Meaningful. Quality. Stories. Hand-crafted. Functional. Affordable. These words popped up repeatedly while researching the topic of the perfect wedding gifts from Ten Thousand Villages.

Marriage and weddings are top-of-mind around here these days (as are babies … but I’ll leave that topic to another blogger), since FOUR of my co-workers are engaged to be married. Summer is traditionally known as “wedding season,” so I thought a post about great wedding gifts would be appropriate. And who better to ask for their ideas than our brides- and grooms-to-be! They all graciously agreed to be interviewed because, really, who doesn’t like to talk about PRESENTS!

Gifts are fun. They’re exciting. And there’s probably not another event in your whole life where you get to sit around and open dozens of boxes and envelopes, all filled with wonderful things (again, except perhaps for baby showers). I asked my four colleagues to walk through the New Hamburg store with me and point out items they would give as gifts, as well as an item or two they and their significant other would love to receive to mark the beginning of their married lives.

strutting-bird-tinFair Trade retailers like Ten Thousand Villages carry hundreds of pieces of beautiful work made by artisans from all over the world. Our mission is to bring these works of art to markets artisans wouldn’t otherwise have access to, while facilitating opportunities for disadvantaged people around the world to make a living doing dignified work.

When many people think about Fair Trade products, they often automatically assume they’ll be expensive, and that they’ll have to pay a premium to buy ethically. This simply isn’t true, though. Fair Trade retailers stock a wide variety of products that are inexpensive, while still beautiful and high quality.