Top 5+ Ethical Places to Shop this Holiday Season

Abby Rose Activism Ethical Events Gift ideas Traverse City Website Winter

It's 2022, and you've decided you want to shop like you have a conscience this winter season. Congratulations! If words like "small business" and "fair wage" and "organic" and "handmade" perk your interest, here are 5 of the best places to shop in the coming months. These are all great places to shop for yourself, Christmas gifts, and other occasions. Read thoroughly to find even more recommendations, including links to the online stores of some of our favorite fellow Michigan makers!

5. A Food Co-op.Oryana Food Co-op November 2022 Website featuring BEH

Here in Traverse City, we love shopping at our locally owned Oryana Co-op. This is a great place to find delicious, organic, locally grown food for special holiday meals, weekly groceries, or any day lunch. Grocery co-ops aren't just for food! They also often stock ethically sourced goods like kitchen gadgets, candles, socks, and more. If you want to learn more about food co-ops, or find one near you, the National Co-Op Grocers is a good source of information. If you can't find a co-op near you, try to find a locally owned natural grocery store instead.

4. Arts & Crafts Shows

Many cities, towns, and even small villages have arts & craft fairs in November or December, where local makers (like us) sell their goods directly to the public (like you). If you live in an area with many such events to choose from, look for shows that have strict "handmade" requirements, but loose requirements about what "medium" vendors can bring. That way, you can shop knowing that you are supporting true makers with your purchase, and you can shop for a variety of goods all in one place. Shopping at a sales show that allows baked goods, body care products, ceramics, rugs, paintings, clothing, and jewelry is far more practical than shopping at a strictly "ceramics" art show.

Yana Dee is planning on selling her goods in person at two Michigan art shows this holiday season. First, Yana Dee will vend at the Shop & Sip, at the Park Place Hotel in Traverse City on Saturday November 12. Click here to learn more, click here to get tickets.

There are a few other vendors I'm particularly looking forward to shopping at the Shop & Sip. One is Maia Hausler's Wander & Gather booth. She does amazing watercolor illustrations of Michigan flora, and prints these images on cards, stickers, cups, and more. I covet the "Native Wildflowers of Michigan" poster!

I'm also very much looking forward to shopping at the Bear Hearth Herbals booth. We love this other sister company because Sierra and Summer bring plants to people through the best teas and salves. You don't have to be local to try their world-class goods! Click here to shop BEH online.

Yana will also connect with her Keweenaw roots this holiday season, selling her handmade clothing & accessories at the Poor Artists Sale, which will take place at the Calumet School Gym on Saturday, December 3rd. This art show is organized by the Copper Country Community Arts Center (click here for more details.) There will certainly be loads of other amazing vendors there, and we look forward to shopping at Mavis' Mineral Spirit Jewelry booth.

3. Your Favorite Charity's Thrift Shop

Shopping second hand items is an important part of the work we can do as consumers to build a circular, sustainable economy. Plus, in many cases thrift store shopping helps fund important nonprofit community services. My favorite place to thrift in Traverse City is the Woman's Resource Center Thrift Shops. If you haven't gone thrifting lately, you may be surprised by what you can find! Before you go, here are some thrifting tips:

  • Bring a smartphone to research brands & prices. You don't have to look up every item you decide to buy, but it's really nice to have the option.
  • Bring a load of like-new or gently used items to donate, so you don't end up cluttering your life up with too much stuff overall. 
  • Make a list of what you want. It can be easy to become overwhelmed if you haven't identified what you want to find. Keep in mind, thrifting is definitely not just for clothes! This is a great way to find quality, affordable baking dishes, holiday decorations, craft supplies, and more.

2. Downtown

If you live somewhere with a thriving (or at least not ghosted or dangerous) downtown, shop there! This is a convenient way to support locally owned businesses (so long as you avoid the chain stores). Shopping in a downtown area has so many side benefits, like excellent people watching, a little exercise and fresh air, and great lunch options. Traverse City and other thriving downtown areas are marked by art galleries, book stores, locally made clothing boutiques, coffee shops, and specialty shops of all sorts. Not everything you find to buy in a store downtown will be ethical, so remember to ask "who owns this store" and "who made this item" and "what is this made from" often! 

Make shopping downtown fun, by scheduling a date with one of your favorite shopping buddies. Whether you are avoiding crowds or looking for hype, check for events before you decide when to go. (Traverse City Locals, Click Here to see what events are happening downtown during the 2022 Winter Holiday Shopping Season. Yana Dee is planning to participate in Shop your Community Days, Black Friday & Small Business Saturday Sales, Men's Night, and Ladies Night.)

1. Yana Dee Ethical Apparel

Of course I put Yana Dee at the top of our own holiday market list! We've got all natural, organiczero-waste, and vegan gift options made by our sweet family & small team in Michigan. Yana Dee products are available on this website, and at our cute little brick & mortar boutique in Traverse City Michigan. In-person shopping is more personal, but you can also chat with us online, or give a call, for individualized shopping assistance. We just updated our online Gift Collection, to make online gift shopping easy for you. Click here to see the gift collection, and make sure to bookmark it because we'll be adding more great holiday gifts (like fresh one-of-a-kind quilts!) as soon as they are available online.



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