The Fa la la la Llama (& Alpaca!) Gift Guide

HANDMADE. You can pick your favorite colors for this fun, festive, made-to-order hand-felted garland.! $35.62

HANDMADE.
You can pick your favorite colors for this fun, festive, made-to-order hand-felted garland.!
$35.62

It is always amusing to see what themes will pop up for each holiday! This year we're seeing llamas everywhere...and we aren't mad about it! What's not to love about these furry cuties invading holiday decor and gifts?! We've seen a lot of llama products at big box stores such as Target and from designers such as Johnathan Adler, so we went hunting around for our favorite fair trade, handmade items with impact!

By the way, llamas, alpacas, and their smaller, wild cousins, vicuñas, are easily confused, so we've combined them all here and labeled them...enjoy! Oh, in case you were wondering:

- Llamas have long banana-shaped ears while alpacas have shorter spear-shaped ears.
- Llamas are roughly twice the size of alpacas
- Alpacas
produce more fleece in a wider variety of colors.
- Vicuñas are the smallest related to llamas and alpacas that live in the high Andes. They almost went extinct, but through conservation efforts are on the comeback.
 - Vicuñas' fleece can only be shaved every three years, and is highly valuable. It provides critical income for impoverished communities in the Andes. 

Now you know!

While we love seeing products shaped like llama, er, alpacas, er whichever one it happens to be, we are even more excited to see alpaca clothing options over the more traditional winter fabric, cashmere. 

Turns out that alpaca fiber is much more eco-friendly than cashmere. 

Cashmere comes from goats in Mongolia and China (the two largest exporters). Unmanaged growth of herds to meet global demand has led to an environmental crisis there. Almost half of Mongolia’s total livestock population are cashmere-producing goats, but falling and often volatile prices from the pressure of fast fashion has forced herders to keep larger and larger herds to shelter them against fluctuating prices. The population explosion has caused environmental stress: the goats' sharp hooves and high water demand have caused overgrazing, pastureland degradation, and desertification. And it's serious: today 90 percent of Mongolia is at risk of becoming desert. All for a cheaper cashmere sweater to hang in our closet. 

ALPACAS FREELY ROAMING IN THE ANDES MOUNTAINS CAN OFTEN BE MORE ECO-FRIENDLY THAN CASHMERE-PRODUCING GOATS IN CHINA AND MONGOLIA. 

ALPACAS FREELY ROAMING IN THE ANDES MOUNTAINS CAN OFTEN BE MORE ECO-FRIENDLY THAN CASHMERE-PRODUCING GOATS IN CHINA AND MONGOLIA. 

On the other hand, alpacas are more efficient and eco-friendly than goats. They don't overgraze and their soft hooves don't tear up the roots of plants. Alpacas also drink less water than goats, while still growing enough wool for four or five sweaters in a year. It takes four goats the same amount of time to produce sufficient cashmere for a single sweater, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council

Look for alpaca that is sustainably herded in the Andes Mountains where families have been tending their herds using traditional methods for centuries.  From there also look for garments created in fair trade workshops where farmers and workers are paid fairly and treated with respect and dignity. Scroll down for a few of our favorites!

gives back. this lloveable llama scultped CERAMIC mug features a sweet face, colorful blanket, tiny little feet that it stands on and a sweet reminder to "llive happY. $17

gives back.
this lloveable llama scultped CERAMIC mug features a sweet face, colorful blanket, tiny little feet that it stands on and a sweet reminder to "llive happY.
$17

HANDMADE. This llama holiday ornament is decked out in traditional finery to help deck the halls, and spiff up your tree. We think he's quite irresistible! Hand cast in lead-free pewter. 3.5 inches tall $24

HANDMADE.
This llama holiday ornament is decked out in traditional finery to help deck the halls, and spiff up your tree. We think he's quite irresistible! Hand cast in lead-free pewter. 3.5 inches tall
$24

FAIR TRADE. HANDMADE. ethically sourced and Handcrafted in Peru. Vicunas are tiny wild animals related to llamas and alpacas that live in the high Andes. $20.99

FAIR TRADE. HANDMADE.
ethically sourced and Handcrafted in Peru. Vicunas are tiny wild animals related to llamas and alpacas that live in the high Andes.
$20.99

FAIR TRADE. HANDMADE.  Made fairly by workers earning a living wage in Chiang Mai, Thailand. $22.90

FAIR TRADE. HANDMADE. 
Made fairly by workers earning a living wage in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
$22.90

FAIR TRADE. HANDMADE. You’ll smile every time you see this happy llama’s face! Hand-felted in Nepal by a women’s cooperative. Lined inside and has a fun zip-fob shaped like a cactus. By Fair Trade Winds.  $17.99

FAIR TRADE. HANDMADE.
You’ll smile every time you see this happy llama’s face! Hand-felted in Nepal by a women’s cooperative. Lined inside and has a fun zip-fob shaped like a cactus. By Fair Trade Winds
$17.99

HANDMADE. The ALPACA dryer balls add natural softness to YOUR clothing leaving no chemicals behind. HUSBAND AND WIFE JOHN & GLORIA hand-spin the fiber from THEIR own animals. Each ball includes the names of the animal its fleece is from. $20

HANDMADE.
The ALPACA dryer balls add natural softness to YOUR clothing leaving no chemicals behind. HUSBAND AND WIFE JOHN & GLORIA hand-spin the fiber from THEIR own animals. Each ball includes the names of the animal its fleece is from.
$20

HANDMADE. This sweet mobile features happy llamas with blush pink blankets and natural lace. Llamas are made out of highest quality wool blend felt and filled with hypo allergenic fiberfill. No unsafe buttons, the eyes and noses are embroidered with cotton floss. Fully hand cut and sewn. $95

HANDMADE.
This sweet mobile features happy llamas with blush pink blankets and natural lace. Llamas are made out of highest quality wool blend felt and filled with hypo allergenic fiberfill. No unsafe buttons, the eyes and noses are embroidered with cotton floss.

Fully hand cut and sewn.
$95

FAIR TRADE. HANDMADE.  Hand-loomed using an old-world technique of concentric diamond patterns, this baby alpaca throw is incredibly soft. Featuring a dusty blush hue and knotted fringe, it’s as beautiful as it is warm and cozy. Handcrafted by master weavers in a quiet mountain village in the Peruvian Andes, each throw takes about a week to complete. All made exclusively in a fair trade environment. Note: Alpaca wool is hypoallergenic, so this throw is ideal for those with allergies or sensitive skin. $135

FAIR TRADE. HANDMADE. 
Hand-loomed using an old-world technique of concentric diamond patterns, this baby alpaca throw is incredibly soft. Featuring a dusty blush hue and knotted fringe, it’s as beautiful as it is warm and cozy.

Handcrafted by master weavers in a quiet mountain village in the Peruvian Andes, each throw takes about a week to complete. All made exclusively in a fair trade environment.

Note: Alpaca wool is hypoallergenic, so this throw is ideal for those with allergies or sensitive skin.
$135

HANDMade. Purely Alpaca has an amazing collection of products, including these 100% alpaca SOPHIA fingerless gloves.  $36.95

HANDMade.
Purely Alpaca has an amazing collection of products, including these 100% alpaca SOPHIA fingerless gloves. 
$36.95

HANDMADE. cutEness with impact alert! This Adorable no-drama llama comes in three sizes: papa llama, mama llama, and baby llama. Sewn and screen printed by hand on natural canvas by local artisans IN KENYA.  $20 - $28

HANDMADE.
cutEness with impact alert! This Adorable no-drama llama comes in three sizes: papa llama, mama llama, and baby llama. Sewn and screen printed by hand on natural canvas by local artisans IN KENYA. 
$20 - $28

ALPACA CLOTHING

Here are a few of our favorite fair trade, ethically made alpaca clothing items. Heads up, alpaca is going to be more expensive. In fact, you might even do a double take at some of the prices, but for each of these items, the land has been taken care of (priceless), the farmer has been paid fairly (priceless), the artisan designer (in some cases) and worker who made your clothes has been respected (priceless), and these clothes are designed to last with thoughtful care. There is so much value stitched up into one item of clothing and that helps look at the price tag more accurately. 

fair trade.  The wonderfully drapey baby alpaca fabric is at once lightweight yet cozy warm, without the itchiness you’ll get with wool. Tunic length with a curved hem and button detail on side seams.  100% baby alpaca sweater knit $139.90

fair trade. 
The wonderfully drapey baby alpaca fabric is at once lightweight yet cozy warm, without the itchiness you’ll get with wool. Tunic length with a curved hem and button detail on side seams. 

100% baby alpaca sweater knit
$139.90

fair trade. a true heirloom quality dress that you can feel great about wearing. soft-draping knit that's just the slightest bit sheer – the perfect layer of warmth over a cami and tights. 100% baby alpaca sweater knit $139.90

fair trade.
a true heirloom quality dress that you can feel great about wearing. soft-draping knit that's just the slightest bit sheer – the perfect layer of warmth over a cami and tights.

100% baby alpaca sweater knit
$139.90

Scratching your head about the "baby" alpaca? As Fair Indigo explains, "Contrary to what its name may suggest, baby alpaca comes from the softest underbelly area of adult alpacas. It’s stunningly soft and lightweight, but also stronger than sheep’s wool. Baby alpaca is free of the lanolin found in wool so it’s hypoallergenic and less prone to pilling. In addition, it’s up to seven times warmer than wool while being more breathable because of distinctive microscopic air pockets found in the fibers." We're totally on board with that! 

Krochet Kids knew about baby alpaca when it set out to make the "World's Greatest Beanie" (below). The alpaca fibers used for the World's Greatest Beanie are sourced from Mallkini Ranch. Mallkini Ranch prides itself on being a socially and environmentally conscious space. Located in the Highlands, the alpaca are free to roam across the acres of land and while receiving the highest level of care. The resulting fibers are pretty much a cloud on your head. 

HANDMADE. Special edition created with Conscious Commerce. 100% baby Alpaca. $70

HANDMADE.
Special edition created with Conscious Commerce. 100% baby Alpaca.
$70

FAIR TRADE. HANDMADE. Handmade in Bolivia by a Fair Trade women's collective, this adorable knitwear combines traditional craftsmanship with modern design. Made with 100% baby alpaca wool. $100

FAIR TRADE. HANDMADE.
Handmade in Bolivia by a Fair Trade women's collective, this adorable knitwear combines traditional craftsmanship with modern design. Made with 100% baby alpaca wool.
$100

Part sweater, part cardigan, you'll fall in love with this irresistibly soft and warm wrap. The fiber is sourced from small, sustainable ranches in the mountains of Peru and left undyed to showcase the natural beauty and variation of alpaca. $298

Part sweater, part cardigan, you'll fall in love with this irresistibly soft and warm wrap. The fiber is sourced from small, sustainable ranches in the mountains of Peru and left undyed to showcase the natural beauty and variation of alpaca.
$298

ECO-FRIENDLY Lunya looks to do sleepwear differently, using eco-friendly fabrics, minimizing waste, and being fanatical about fit and comfort. Try out these leggings and hibernate this winter in something soft and warm. 85% Alpaca, 15% Lycra $178

ECO-FRIENDLY
Lunya looks to do sleepwear differently, using eco-friendly fabrics, minimizing waste, and being fanatical about fit and comfort. Try out these leggings and hibernate this winter in something soft and warm.
85% Alpaca, 15% Lycra
$178

HANDMADE. Peruvian Artisan Wilber Calapuja designed this original long cardigan with a rare three-quarter length sleeve and a flirty fringe.  100% Alpaca 132.99

HANDMADE.
Peruvian Artisan Wilber Calapuja designed this original long cardigan with a rare three-quarter length sleeve and a flirty fringe. 
100% Alpaca
132.99

gives back. In partnership with unicef, This purchase can provide 50 packets of lifesaving nourishment to children suffering from acute malnutrition. Designed by Andean artist Alfredo Falcon, the elegant garment is handwoven from 100% alpaca wool and draws inspiration from the the legacy of the Native Andeans. $91.49

gives back.
In partnership with unicef, This purchase can provide 50 packets of lifesaving nourishment to children suffering from acute malnutrition.

Designed by Andean artist Alfredo Falcon, the elegant garment is handwoven from 100% alpaca wool and draws inspiration from the the legacy of the Native Andeans.
$91.49

JUST PLAIN FUN ; ) This pair of alpaca blend reindeer socks is 100% warm and 100% festive! From Sun Valley Alpaca Company. $19.99

JUST PLAIN FUN ; )
This pair of alpaca blend reindeer socks is 100% warm and 100% festive! From Sun Valley Alpaca Company.
$19.99

Those are just a few of our favorites! If you have your own fa la la la la llama products you love, share them in the comments below! And if you're looking for a unique sustainable, healthy, ethical gift, let us know!