Valentine's, Bananas, Pooh & Rocks

We’ve got some major happenings this week… one might think that I’m referring to the “Grand” Opening of our new Salina store, but no.  I’m referring to Valentine’s Day.  It’s big time for first and third graders and we’ve got one of each in our house.

Atticus wants to give each of his classmates a banana again this year with personally written notes on the peal.  I’m for it! Sebastian is choosing to give heart shaped pieces of elephant pooh paper to each classmate complete with his own drawings.  Great!  (I would include a picture of the dung cards, but they are yet to be completed.  We still have one more day, for goodness sakes.)  

I’ve had some decisions to make myself, actually!  I’ve chosen to give each of the first graders a stone heart from Kenya because in August I thought it was a good idea to sign up for the favor on this holiday.  (Little did I know that the party would on the same day as our Grand Opening.  Surely reason would have kept me from signing up for anything extra had I known… surely.)

Holiday and celebration hooplah does not come naturally for me, actually.  I’ve gotten better only because of the good people who come into the store.  

Take our friend Susan for instance:
Susan lives in western Kansas and has befriended a couple of little girls.  Last month she thought ahead about what fairly traded gifts she could give these sweetpeas as Valentines and asked me to float her some ideas.  I happily took some pictures of new options and she choose a few to share with the girls.  We held these goodies until Susan had reason to drive through Lindsborg recently.  

Susan’s hope is that the girls grow up knowing and loving Fair Trade themselves.  She is bringing them along with these intentionally bought holiday gifts instead of buying whatever candy happens to appear before her in a random check-out line.  And Susan talks to the girls about Fair Trade, too.*   Pretty darned perfect example, I’d say!  

I wish that I would always follow through and make good decisions like Susan.  When it comes right down to it, sometimes I get busy and don’t prioritize things like this.  In fact, right now a large part of my being wants to buy a couple boxes of ready-made Valentine Cards, have the boys slap some stickers on them and call it good.  Maybe some of those cheesy plastic rings that all kids seem to love could be snapped up for the party favors.  But Susan has brought me along as she has those lucky girls.  

Holidays are indeed easy times to give fairly traded gifts.  Let's do what we can to encourage young ones to be conscientious consumers now and as they grow older it will seem completely natural to continue to do so. May it be so!

Please excuse me now.  I need to go gift wrap a heart for each first grade classmate because Atticus insists that this is how favors are to be given. He’s happy with recycled gift boxes and fairly traded ribbon instead of plastic Disney bags, so I think we’re good. (whew!)

*I’ve been a guest blogger on my friend’s site about how to talk to children about Fair Trade.  Click here if you would like to glance through that post.

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