While this holiday time of year brings joy, thankful reflection and quality family time there are also stresses. When should the tree go up? Fake or real? What kind of lights to use for decoration? And why is one bulb always dead, shorting out the whole string?! Who are we inviting for (insert your holiday here) dinner? How are we traveling to meet everyone? Will we wrap gifts after traveling? Not to mention, what in the world are we buying for gifts for (insert name here)?!
Artwork is the gift that keeps on giving. Every time your family member uses a handcrafted earthenware bowl, or looks at the framed photograph on the wall, they will have a memory of you giving it to them. You are giving a gift that not only pleases the giver, but also the creator! So many artists take other jobs to support their art career, why not help those artists realize their goals of living off of their work?! Below are websites that cater to this opportunity:
Etsy –> Etsy is a website that sells handmade goods.
RedBubble –> I have mentioned RedBubble before. I actually just made 4 purchases through RedBubble for the holidays…oh I hope my recipients like what they receive! RedBubble supports artists like myself who are trying to make a living through their passion. You can buy prints of work as cards, canvas prints, framed photographs, etc. And if you don’t want something for your wall, there are loads of fun and well-designed t-shirts for sale as well.
Arte –> Arte is an artist showcase that happens in Dubai every month. It is located in both Festival City Mall and Times Square Mall on different Fridays throughout the year. I went to check it out and saw: paintings, photographs, jewelry, clothing for children, baked goods, etc. Why not go to a craft show or similar market in your hometown? You will then know the work you purchase is original and unique for your gift recipient.
Or what about organizations that sell artists’ work (or promote it) who face terrible adversity?
Global Giving –> Global Giving allows you to donate money for people to finance their small businesses, many of which are tied to the production and sale of handicrafts. These people are trying to survive in highly impoverished situations. Why not donate in someone’s name? Last year I did and it brought thankful tears to my recipients’ eyes.
Kiva –> Kiva allows you to LOAN money to individuals in need; these people list their business proposals and you decide whom to help. When the loan is repaid, you can then loan the money to another aspiring entrepreneur or reclaim the funds through PayPal. Many of the businesses listed are tied to the arts. I just bought two gift cards, which allows my recipients to determine the nature of their loans. What is nice is that in the end, they can have the money if they really want it, yet they have helped someone else out along the way!
TEN –> TEN stands for The Emancipation Network. It is an organization I worked closely with when I lived on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. My students actively supported it and I myself still use products I purchased from TEN 5 years ago! The quality is there, not to mention it is made by women who have escaped sexual and labor trafficking. Why not buy something you know is actively helping someone else out?!
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Do you know of an organization selling products for the greater good of artists? We could create a resource of worthy charitable groups and artisan websites for people to refer to for gifts or just in shopping for themselves!