Since it’s better to give than to receive, the holidays can be a gigantic financial stress in your life. Where is the money supposed to come from?! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, here’s an idea: giving gifts that give back to charities might make you feel a little less guilty about giving into consumer commercialism. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be a conscious shopper, right? Bonus points if you or the person you’re gifting is also super invested in charity work and community service – there’s definitely a cause that’s attached to some awesome gift that they will love.
These below gifts all give back by donating a portion of your purchase, if not all of it, to a charity. The holidays are a time to give to your loved ones, but they can also be a time to give back. Most of these options are one of a kind, crafted by small communities, and are thus made in limited quantities. So, if you’re buying for someone who already has everything, these unique gifts are perfect.
These gifts either directly support communities in need of help by sustaining their local economy or organizations that are working directly with providing support to people who need it. If you think about it, you buy a shirt from the mall when you need one, but do you know who made it? The websites you can buy these gifts from also are really good about being upfront about how much of your money gets given in direct support, linking to organizations they’re affiliated with, and showing how your support matters. It’s a one way ticket to making your heart happy and truly buying maybe the most important gift this holiday season.
Here are 20 gifts that give back:
1) Headphones necklace
This headphones necklace from BluBond goes towards the organization, Manifest Your Destiny, which works towards engaging and inspiring youth towards achieving their goals. BluBond connects up-and-coming designers and brands with charity organizations in an online store. All of their goods sold are made through ethical and sustainable practices. You can browse more charities they work with here
You can buy this from BluBond for $59 ($20 goes to charity)
2) Bureo water bottle
Give this reusable water bottle (with a lifetime warrantee) to your friend who’s car looks like a gave yard for plastic water bottles and help the ocean out a little. Bureo works with NetPositiva by supporting recycling ports for fishermen to dispose of their fishing net. Discarded fishing net makes up a staggering 10 percent of the ocean’s pollution and NetPositiva along with Bureo collects these fishing nets and turns them into skateboards and other goods with their signature minnow design.
3) Panda espadrilles
Joy and Mario are revamping the classic espadrille shoe with environmentally friendly practices and with their World Wildlife Collection, they are giving back to endangered animals in the wild. These shoes are designed with paw prints on the bottom of their soles to remind people that they are sharing this Earth with these gorgeous animals… to walk in their shoes, if you will. Other animals available here, but pandas are my favorite animal of all time, so I’m biased 🙂
4) Hamsa tote bag
Bloom & Give has partnered with Educate Girls to help send girls to school in India. Educate Girls is a girl focused education program that gets girls in school and makes sure that they stay in school and succeed through mentorship and ensuring that they re-enroll. 50 percent of the money from your purchase goes towards this wonderful organization.
5) Home state baseball tee
Available in all 50 states, you can purchase your home state apparel in any kind of top you can dream of, and if you’re from the south, feel free to get a “y’all” shirt instead. The Home T donates 10 percent of their proceeds, at minimum, to Multiple Sclerosis research. All shirts are made in America and they’re super cozy.
6) Boombas socks
Socks are the most requested clothing item in homeless shelters. Boombas works on a buy-one-get-one system, so if you buy a 4-pack, they will donate four pairs of socks. Socks are a classic stocking stuffer and these socks give a clean pair to someone in need.
7) Unicorn Alex & Ani bracelet
Like BluBond, Alex & Ani have a shop-by-charity feature in their Charity by Design collection. 20 percent of the purchase price from this unicorn charm, for example, goes towards Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. There are other charities to choose from, but this unicorn was super cute (and it goes towards helping sick kids!).
8) Essential oils kit
Perfect for your hippie friend, these oils come in their own boho carrying case. Thistle Farms is a sanctuary for women who are survivors of abuse, addiction, prostitution, and human trafficking in Nashville, TN. They freely offer housing, medical care, therapy, job referrals, and receive no government funding, so really, everything you buy directly helps these women.
9) 3-tee shirt give bag
Sevenly typically runs a new campaign every 7 days with all new tee shirt designs benefiting a new cause (guaranteeing true one-of-a-kind/you had to be there status), but this give bag with three apparel items contains designs from their Autism Speaks collection and will donate seven percent of their proceeds to Autism Speaks.
10) Cotton block printed scarf
Made by Survivors provides jobs to women who have survived human rights violations in Southern Asian countries where issues like child marriage and slavery are still huge issues. This program gives these women entrepreneurial skills and in some countries where working with metal is a strictly masculine job, this program also brakes the gender binary with their survivor-made jewelry.
11) Droplet necklace
31 bits connects Ugandan artisans to the international market through their online store. They have a five year program which gives these women critical skills for maintaining their own business, providing support, engaging the men in their lives – it sounds completely awesome and definitely inspiring. Also, this minimalist necklace is classic and can layer perfectly with the rest of your jewelry.
12) Citronela flower pajama pants
Goodbye Malaria raises funds for on the ground initiatives in Mozambique who are there to spray down houses with mosquito repellant which thereby helps prevent malaria from spreading (it’s spread through mosquito bites and it sucks). These pants feature the citronela flower, a well known mosquito repellant.
13) Tsaka small stud earrings
Purple, fuchsia, and a small glitter pattern make these earrings pop. All of their jewelry is hand crafted and thereby one of a kind and made with love. Kurandza provides job opportunities and fair wages for their work to women in Mozambique living with HIV. The word ‘kurandza’ means ‘to love’ in Changana, the local language spoken by the artisans who make these goods.
14) Colbalt blue flats
To The Market champions survivor-made goods, values their stories, and provides each survivor with multiple channels of commerce as well as services and resources that they need, specifically. For example, these shoes from The Root Collective helps alleviate poverty in post-conflict areas by giving people the tools needed to sustain their own businesses and employ others in their communities. You can read all about Otto and his amazing story in the sidebar next to these flats he made.
15) Love life green tea
The perfect stocking stuffer for anyone committed to fighting HIV and AIDS (and also loves a nice green tea). 50 percent of all proceeds go directly toward the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, an organization fighting the AIDS epidemic and advocating for all lives affected by it.
16) Thicket fitted hat
For every item purchased, Ten Tree will plant ten trees (get it?) around the world. Each item contains a ‘tree code’ that you can input in the ten tree website so you can see where your trees, specifically, were planted. Ten tree is committed to reforestation and revitalizing the Earth’s oxygen supply.
17) Purple flower crown
Headbands for Hope donates a headband to a child with cancer for every headband you purchase. They believe in the strong ability of fashion to regain a sense of positive self-identity during a time of crisis. You can click here to read more about them and to watch their adorable video featuring little girls who lose their hair to chemotherapy in their new headbands.
18) Brass charm bracelet
Sseko (pronounced ‘say-ko’) Designs provides employment and scholarship to women in Uganda. Through their program they’ve enabled 60 women so far to matriculate to a collegiate level. In societies where women are not offered equitable employment opportunities or necessary education, it’s important that women have the tools at their disposal to provide for themselves in a meaningful way. These charm bracelets are made by those artisans and additional charms can be purchased to tell you unique story (this one pictured is ‘whimsy’)
19) Brave bracelet
The word in Khmer for brave is ‘klaa-han’ and is featured prominently on this bracelet. According to their mission statement, at the Brave Collection, all artisans in the post-genocide Cambodia are provided with fair wages, a dignified work environment, health insurance, and education stipends for their children.
20) Janet earrings
Committed to giving hand-ups, not hand-outs, these earrings were made by local artisans in the Philippines. Founded by first generation Filipino Americans, The Cayetano Legacy Collection enables the creation of jobs and economic growth in the Philippines.
Which of these gifts is your favorite? Are you going to buy these for anyone? Tell us in the comments!
You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.