An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Bead for Life


Holiday shopping madness is upon us, and it would seem as though everyone- Young, old, wealthy, or of humble means- Is out in force, buying up anything that could possibly be wrapped up in paper and topped off with a bow. I’m not one to advocate such excessive consumerism, but if it’s possible to make conscious purchases that aren’t simply wasted on meaningless plastic and glass, I personally would certainly be more inclined to fork of my hard-earned money. Shouldn’t a gift be something of actual value, and not just the numbers on a price tag? If no store has that “perfect gift” and you find yourself at wit’s end, looking to please the person who has everything, I have one little suggestion to throw into the ring.

One of the most thoughtful presents I received in a while was this beautiful bracelet made of paper beads, from a good friend who seems to know me better than I know myself. Thanks to Bead for Life, an organization that allows women from Uganda to sell their lovely handiwork, it’s possible to support those in need and give a lovely piece of jewelry to the loved ones in your life. It’s like donating to a charity, with benefits for all those involved!

Being a compassionate consumer means taking into account the welfare of animals, naturally, but I think that the well being of our fellow man is often swept under the rug in this equation. Think about what’s going into your store-bought gifts this year, and decide: Do you want something mass-produced that’s supporting sweatshops and suffering, or something unique, handmade, and actually bound to send money where it’s needed?

Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

19 thoughts on “Bead for Life

  1. My first stop for holiday shopping (besides vegan-owned businesses, etsy, and the bookstore) is always Ten Thousand Villages ( Being vegan is not just about what you eat. It is about caring about all animals. Humans are animals, too!

  2. Thank you so much for the suggestion! I was looking for something to get the women in my family. I just bought five of their beautiful bracelets and look forward to giving them as Christmas presents!

  3. Great suggestion. I was recently the recipient of Bead for Life beads.

  4. Thank you for sharing this!

    I’ve been trying to get my gifts from local craft fairs so that I’m doing a small part in supporting the creative community and smaller businesses. It can be so easy to get caught up in the latest products, how much to spend, and such, but it’s so true that value goes beyond a simple monetary price!

  5. What a lovely picture Hannah,and thanks for telling about Bread-of-Life.

  6. I already love Ten Thousand Villages and now it looks like I’ve got another great source for beautiful gifts. Just looked quickly at the website and it looks terrific! Am going to check it all out. (By the way, I love the snowflakes drifting down this page, Hannah).

  7. Very very good cause.. and lovely beads!

    Having a friend like that is priceless. I have one myself.. a true gift.

  8. These are gorgeous! And I love giving gifts that have real meaning behind them, like these bracelets. It epitomizes the spirit of the season.

  9. I do really like the look of that, but unfortunately no one in my immediate family would really use it! My 96 year old grandma, for instance, has pretty traditional taste in jewelry… :P

  10. Oh that’s so lovely! I try to hand-make my gifts (thus they usually revolve around food) but I would definitely buy someone a one of these necklaces. One of my cousins, I know, would really appreciate the gesture!

  11. I love the idea behind this. There is a shop here in Rochester that is totally based on that. It’s not for profit, and everything sold is purchased directly from families in other countries for fair trade. I love shopping there for gifts.

  12. WOW, what a pretty bracelet, and for a good cause too! I am very much impressed at how “green” you are!

  13. Just to say : I really love the photos which you make !
    And the Christmas’ decoration of your blog is cute !
    It’s a pleasure to read your article, your good recipes ..!
    Have a good day, See you.

  14. What a great idea! I love supporting small hardworking people : ) A few years ago, I actually worked with a lady that made her own jewelry, it was very fun!!!

  15. My mom got me one of these bracelets at a storytelling event. You can buy loose beads, too, to make your own jewelry. It’s really a great campaign.

  16. Definitely some great stuff and a great cause to support!

  17. Awesome idea. I love that this suggestion benefits others and gives the receiver something awesome.

  18. I have been wanting one of these necklaces. A month ago, I picked up one at Bryant Park at the craft fair.

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