Toy Monday: Handmade

Black Friday is coming. I know you’ve seen or heard advertisements about it from companies large and small. Why Black Friday? Because this coming Friday is the day in the calendar year when most retailers go into the black financially—all because so many people brave the danger to rush out to drive themselves crazy and buy something cheap all on the same day.

If you are really looking for a bargain this Friday, I have a suggestion.


Buy Handmade

When you are considering holiday gifts for your child, consider buying natural toys from small toymakers.

With handmade natural toys you get

  • wild variety and beauty
  • high quality with extreme attention to detail
  • naturally safe materials like untreated wood and organic cotton & wool
  • likelihood that you will know or can find out the provenance of the toy
  • support for small manufacturers
  • confidence that your toy is made by people who are happy in their work as toymakers


Handmade Toy Alliance

A group of toymakers, retailers, importers, and other small businesses came together a year ago as the Handmade Toy Alliance. Many of these toymakers are making cloth dolls and wooden cars and puzzles and sock monkeys and building blocks by hand because they want to create safe and natural toys for children.

Now, under a new U.S. child safety law (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of CPSIA), many of these safe, natural toys are threatened because small businesses have no way to comply with laws written in part by and certainly favoring massive international toy companies. It is likely that there will be changes made to the law that will allow these small toymakers to prove the safety of their products without the cost and testing burden written into the law right now.

These changes are not guaranteed, though. If no changes are made to the law or to the interpretation in regulations, most of these natural toys will be things of the past.

This year, while it is still legal in the United States, consider buying an endangered handmade toy for your child. Skip the crowds and Black Friday and choose a naturally safe toy.


The Handmade Movement

Handmade isn’t just for toys. The movement to buy handmade builds on a deep philosophy of DIY. Last year tens of thousands of people pledged to buy handmade. If you are ready to move beyond just toys, check out the resources from Buy Handmade on the broader movement, on conscious consumption, and on the challenge against mass production and selling.

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