Earth2 Blog

Change the World before bedtime.

Holiday Shopping With Heart

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…local, small businesses that will help you put a little extra heart into your holiday shopping.  Earth2 is busy developing our BUYology division (the Science of Socially Responsible Shopping), so we  love being close to many Connecticut shops that celebrate artisans, fair trade, and eco-conscious and socially responsible products.  Here are just a few destinations that will inspire you in your gift giving.

Our first stop every year (even when we start our Christmas shopping in August) is the colorful, creative, curated-with-joy M!X Design Store in Guilford.  Visit for unique gifts for the home, for her, for him and for the kids.  Keep an eye out for stylish bags and placemats from Couture Planet, a woman-owned business that creates products from 100% post-consumer newspaper.  Or grab a key ring, necklace or set of cuff links from the Sherry Pruitt design studio.

Local antique maps highlight your preferred destination on these Sherry Pruitt Design Studio key rings, available at M!X Design Store

Handcrafted from local antique maps, reclaimed sterling silver and aluminum and a new soy-based resin, each piece is both earth-friendly and gives back to the Doctors Without Borders organization.  We also love the warm and gracious and talented owners Wendy, Betsy and Jennifer, because they sell our book, Change The World Before Bedtime, displayed among some pretty sweet children’s toys and gifts.

Flavours of Life in New London is open under new management, with a commitment to sourcing fair trade goods from clothing and jewelry to crafts and home décor.  We have nieces, moms, goddaughters and sisters sporting a variety of their rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces.  Shopping here means supporting a business that builds partnerships between consumers and the artists and producers in developing countries, putting people before profits, and using trade to mobilize positive change.

For another big dose of fair trade, head to Chapel Street in New Haven and visit the branch of Ten Thousand Villages, one of the world’s largest and oldest fair trade organizations.  Skilled artisans, who lack opportunities for income, craft distinctive home décor, accessories and gift items and receive a fair price and cultivate long-term relationships with retail outlets.

These hip bags, available at Totally Awesome Goods, are crafted from recycled Mosquito netting in Cambodia. The company that makes these follows Fair Trade practices with the goal of getting workers off of the street and instilling in them a sense of pride and purpose

On a recent visit to Branford, we wandered into Totally Awesome Goods.  Apparently, everyone knew about this groovy store except us.  Recycled, upcycled, handcrafted, fair trade and artisan gifts abound in all categories, from home décor to crafts and candles, jewelry, ornaments, bar and wine gear, accessories and toys.  For no reason at all, Josh now wants a knitted, stuffed warthog.

And make it part of your holiday shopping plan to spend time at Domestic Possessions in Madison.  It’s a beautifully staged collection of shops with an undercurrent of eco-consciousness and strong support for handmade and local items.  You’ll enjoy the “re-use, restore and reinvent” philosophy of the shop-within-a-shop This & That and the magical way that Annie Mame puts a little extra sparkle and love into her new, re-imagined and vintage gifts and accessories.

Eco-friendly soy candles are displayed among handcrafted clothing, dolls, vintage barware, re-purposed decor and more, in the Annie Mame shop at Domestic Possessions

And if you’re not a lucky local with access to these Connecticut shoreline gems or socially conscious shopping destinations in your neck of the woods, you can let Google do some of the hunting for you – there are online resources aplenty.  Try our friend Heather Snyder Ippolito’s brand new JaMii – Goods For The Global Good for fair trade, handmade artisan gifts that support and empower women and communities with whom she connected in Uganda, Cambodia and India.  An upcycled iPad case? A colorblock jute bag?  How about stuffing some stockings with vine-embroidered journals for the creative writers and doodlers in your life?

Year-round, we should all be inspired by our local, dedicated, hardworking small businesses, especially those who think about the greater good while building their own personal dreams.  And at holiday time, it’s even more important to find ways to add  kindness and consideration to your shopping lists.  ‘Tis the season…to change the world.