Shopping for quality gifts for family and friends deeply involved in community organizing and activism can be tough! It can be easy to overthink this, so we’re sharing some basic tips to get you started and some suggestions to inspire you!
Start by thinking about what you admire and appreciate in your friend. What are the issues that they care about? What is their role in activism spaces?
Gifting can support the activism our friends are involved in. What does it look like to be a conscious shopper? Can we spend our privilege with our money in ways that align with our values?
We can also support our friends in ways that are not necessarily rooted in the consumption of products. For example, giving with affirmations, time, or acts of service.
Here are some examples of what answers to these questions might look like:
- My friend is super active in the movement for Black Liberation. She is usually the one with the megaphone at rallies, physically putting her body on the line, and tends to over-extend herself. While shopping for gifts, I’m going to shop exclusively at Black-owned businesses or larger orgs committed to the 15 percent pledge. Bonus points for merchandise that kicks back funds to grassroots organizations or is involved in the community.
- My friend is very passionate about environmental issues. Since they were a kid they’ve forgone birthday gifts and asked folks to “adopt” different endangered species. They’re super mindful about their consumption, so I’m considering a different kind of gift like a donation in their name. Should I purchase any items, I will definitely avoid traditional wrapping paper options!
- My friend is a huge disability justice advocate and consistent participant in mutual aid efforts in his community. I know he believes firmly in building communities of care and values acts of service. If I’m shopping for any products, I’ll make sure the business is involved in their community and try to shop at local worker-owned coops.
Now that we’re in a mindset of what feels really specific and special to our friends, here are some suggestions. The categories are meant to help spur additional thoughts and ideas — it’s certainly not an exhaustive list! Feel free to email us at email@example.com with additional suggestions!
ART — Creative Resistance
Toni Cade Bambara said, “the role of the artist is to make the revolution irresistible.” For any activist in your life, spurring creativity can be both fulfilling and practical towards their activism. This could look like some quality time where you carve out time for you and your friend to have a creative night. Maybe you paint, write, make music — you don’t have to be doing the same thing to share creative space. Or you could purchase some activist artwork. Here are some of our favorites:
CARE — "Rest Is Resistance"
The Nap Ministry phrase “Rest is Resistance” are words to live by. Audre Lorde said, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” That said, we are strong believers that sometimes we need community care in order to make time for self care. This is where we can come in to show up for our friends. This can look like offering to help with childcare, laundry, or running some errands for them. It can also look like gifts that may help our friends slow down:
FUN — Joy Is Resistance
The poet Toi Derricotte revolutionized feminism with one line in a poem — “joy is an act of resistance.” When we feel like there is so much work to do, it can be hard to believe we have a right to joy. We're here to affirm that we absolutely do. Consider — what’s an activity that you know you and your friend will have an absolute blast doing? This could look like spending time with children or puppies or singing your hearts out to 90s music in the car. Additionally, here are some items that bring us a lot of joy:
PRACTICAL — Feed the Resistance
Julia Turshen’s book Feed the Resistance is based on the premise that when people search for ways to resist injustice and express support for civil rights, environmental protections, and more, they begin by gathering around the table to talk and plan. Her book outlines dishes that foster community and provide sustenance for the mind and soul — we highly recommend checking it out! For fun gifts that will be a great complement to this book, check out:
As we mentioned above, we also believe in community care to get our needs met. We’ve also definitely been in situations and activist spaces that have felt too urgent or too busy to sit down and eat. Consider putting together a basket of your friends favorite food items or cook your friend a meal!
We see and appreciate you showing up to support your friends. These are the types of actions that create abundant cycles of caring actions that build and strengthen community.