gift

Christmas Gives Back Idea Book: Man Cans

Ever wondered what to get some of the guys in your life? How about a candle that smells like bacon or a new leather baseball glove or freshly cut grass? 

Man Cans are candles scented for men. Forget florals and sweet smells, these candles are infused with a heartier scent. Each candle is poured in a soup can with a manly brown paper wrapper, and the simplicity of the design is part of the genius of this social enterprise. 

Man Cans was founded in 2010 by a kid, then-13-year-old Hart Main, who (during his sister's candle fundraiser for school) wondered why companies didn't make candles with scents that appealed to men. So, he set about to make his own candle, deciding that a soup can would be the perfect vessel. Along the way, he decided he wanted his company to do something for his local community, so he began purchasing soup, donating it to local soup kitchens, reclaiming the opened cans and then pouring his candles inside. Thus, Man Cans was born. 

In the beginning, mom did all of the actual pouring (Hart wasn't allowed to mess with the hot wax). In later years, Hart began taking a more active production role, but then the company's success made a small kitchen enterprise impossible, so Hart decided to hire out the pouring. He chose Beaver Creek Candle Co., which exclusively hires mentally and developmentally disabled employees to work in their facilities. 

When you purchase a Man Can, not only are you providing a job for the mentally and developmentally disabled, you are providing meals for the disadvantaged at shelters across the country through Man Can's "One Candle, One Meal" pledge. So this Christmas, spice up the ambience of your home with a 'Santa's Beard' scented candle. Grab a Gunpowder scent for your favorite hunter. And the Memphis BBQ scent would be perfect for the guy that likes to fiddle with the smoker out back. Whatever scent you choose, your candle will feed the hungry and provide employment for the disabled--that's an awesome gift to give!

(PS--They also sell 'She Cans' in more traditionally-feminine scents and wax melts for warmers in both Man and She scents. Just in case that's more your style)

Christmas GiveS Back Idea Book: Jewelry from Hands Producing Hope

Simple. Elegant. Sustainable. Those words describe the jewelry of Hands Producing Hope and their mission. 

Founder Rebecca Gardner encountered the Guaymi people of Coast Rica and felt drawn to their story. Marginalized, discriminated against and ostracized, the Guaymi people frequently live on reservations with little hope for the future. Rebecca and an in-country family of missionaries started Hands Producing Hope with the idea that "all people (regardless of gender, ethnicity, or geographical location) be afforded opportunities to have dignified and respectable work, and to provide for their families and flourish in their communities."

Now, Hands Producing Hope is operating in two countries: Costa Rica and Rwanda. They hire and pay artisans above-living-wages to create the jewelry products, frequently using indigenous seeds or natural elements in the jewelry. The artisans and their families are welcomed into the HPH community, which teaches them life skills, provides educational and training opportunities for future advancement, and are taught about the incredible love that Jesus has for them. Hands Producing Hope involves the larger community to be a part of their mission, and as relationships are formed between the Guaymi people and the surrounding communities, small steps are being made toward racial reconciliation. 

Here's a great video depicting their work and how it began:

 

This Christmas, give the gift of beautiful, sustainably-made jewelry that will empower a woman and help her find dignified work. There are so many elegant options to choose from, here are a few of our favorites: 

So many lovely options, sure to delight your gift recipients! Top left:   Orlando Bracelet $15  . Top right:   Kaia Necklace $24  .  Bottom left:   Maria Elena Necklace $52     Bottom middle:  Irma Bracelet $10 . Bottom right:  Shalom Necklace $32

So many lovely options, sure to delight your gift recipients! Top left: Orlando Bracelet $15. Top right: Kaia Necklace $24.
 Bottom left: 
Maria Elena Necklace $52 Bottom middle: Irma Bracelet $10. Bottom right: Shalom Necklace $32

Christmas Gives Back Idea Book: Leather Goods from Mission Lazarus

One of my favorite smells is the scent of leather--isn't it just divine? (Although, our vegan friends may not share that opinion.) And I love how quality leather develops more character over time--it gets even more lovely after years of use. But hand-stitched leather goods have come under intense scrutiny in the pat few years, as laborers in developing nations are often paid a pittance to stitch the goods in deplorable working conditions. 

However, you don't have to give up your love of leather goods entirely! Meet Mission Lazarus, a social enterprise that works in rural communities in Honduras and Haiti to provide opportunity. The impoverished are invited to attend Mission Lazarus free vocational schools where they learn sewing, how to create leather goods or are trained to work on one of their organic agriculture farms producing coffee. All students and employees are paid a living wage that is 25% higher than the established, local Fair Trade wages and all employees are eligible for healthcare. 

Mission Lazarus' approach in working with communities is comprehensive and multilateral, impacting the areas of agriculture, education, medicine, church planting, orphan care, and social enterprise in every community they serve. Since it's inception in 2002, Mission Lazarus has grown to directly employ more than 150 people and has planted 27 churches in Honduras and Haiti. By purchasing one of their products, you'll be supporting their important work. And I can't imagine anyone NOT being pleased to receive these gorgeous goods under the tree this Christmas! (But, just in case you have a vegan on your list, remember that there's always coffee!)