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Give Justly {Kid’s Edition}

by in Give Justly

This is a follow-up to my post: 7 Ways to Give Justly at Christmas.

Would you buy a toy for your child made by a child slave? For me, this is the point where my consumption behaviors had to (and still have to) change.

There is a reason there are so many toys, for relatively so cheap. The Department of Labor designates toys made in China as likely to be involved in child and forced labor. Most statistics claim 75-80% of all toys bought in America were made in China. This means that if you buy 4 gifts for your child at Christmas, 3 of them are very likely to be supporting child and forced labor.

This. Must. Change.

No smile on my children’s faces are worth enslaving other children.

But this is a daunting change. No doubt, it requires more time, planning and money to change the way we purchase toys for our children. So, here are some ways to do Christmas giving differently, justly:


  1. Give LESS. What if we only give a few gifts? This is the only way we can make better, more just purchases. There’s no question that toys not involved in child or forced labor cost more, sometimes much more.
  2. Give Differently. Give tickets to a game, a play, the movies. It might be a pass to a museum, zoo or park. It might be a family vacation.
  3. Give Practically. Give things your children need anyway. (See Give Smartly for specific company and product information.)
  4. Give in Honor. The options are vast, and you can make it fun, too, by wrapping up something to represent what you donated – maybe a little toy chicken, or a map to show where the donation is being used. This is a great way to remind your children that Christmas isn’t a self-serving holiday.
  5. Give DIY. Pinterest makes it easy to find ideas for making some of your own toys and gifts. You can also buy handcrafted toys on Esty.com.
  6. Give Locally. Craft fairs usually provide options for simple wooden toys or homemade hats, or check local toy shops for some locally-made products.
  7. Give Smartly. I’ve done my best to scour the internet for specific options. Here is a list of mostly Fair Trade, Made in USA or One-for-one companies and/or sites selling products for children. I’m not an expert on this matter, nor have I purchased something from each of these companies, so I encourage you to do your own research and make informed decisions. But from my research, I believe these companies to be worth consideration.

Fair Trade (some affiliate links included):

Made in USA (some affiliate links included):

One-for-one:

  • Toms, shoes, donates one pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair purchased – one-for-one company
  • Smiles Squared, toothbrushes (some made in USA), donates one-for-one to a child in need in the US and around the world
  • Roma Boots, rain boots with a one-for-one model – rain boots stuffed with educational supplies donated for every pair purchased
  • MiiR, water bottles and bikes, one-for-one, providing clean water and bikes to those in need (kids pedal-less bikes)

On Kids clothing, I pulled these ratings from Free2Work. (You can search under apparel there, and toys too.)

  • Gap: B
  • Old Navy: B
  • 77 Kids (American Eagle): B
  • Carters: D-
  • Genuine Kids: D-
  • OshKosh G’Bosh: D-
  • Child of Mine: D-
  • Garanimals: D-
  • Just One You: D-
  • Children’s Place: Not rated on site. Read their statement on social responsibility here.
  • Gymboree: Not rated on site. Read their statement on social responsibility here.
  • Cherokee (sold at Target): Not rated on site. No statement available on their website.
  • Suggested places to look: HaeNow (organic, fair trade blank t-shirts), PatagoniaWilliam + Leora (made in the USA, 25% donation to fight child trafficking)

As my three-year-old says, play is his work. I agree, and I want him to have the resources to do his work well; but I also want those resources to work well for all the hands that are involved in their making. Together, we can make this Christmas a little more merry for everyone.

Want more information on toy factories? Watch this or read this.

Be sure to subscribe to see the follow-up post with ideas for adults.

Do you know of a fair trade/USA made toy or children’s clothing company? Or a great idea for giving a different or DIY gift? Share in the comments! 

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