‘Tis better to give than to receive, so why not go the extra mile to find a gift for your loved ones that works overtime by paying it forward to an important charity?
From kid-friendly accessories to alcohol for stocking the holiday bar, there are a wide variety of covetable gifts that will do more than delight your recipient: They’ll give back to those less fortunate, too. Whether you’re still aiming for a great Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal (whether an Instant Pot or tech gifts in general), finding one or two gifts that give back can’t hurt. Here are nearly two dozen of our favorite picks, many of which are from companies who aren’t simply donating money during the holiday season, but supporting worthy initiatives year-round.
Best fashion, clothing and footwear gifts
Every woman on the go knows you can never have too many tote bags. And this statement-making version comes from FEED, a company that makes fashionable and functional bags and accessories, and is renowned for their commitment to donating nutritious school lunches to children around the world. With each purchase of their tote, FEED donates 10 school meals to malnourished kids in need. The brand also works with local artisans and cooperatives to help provide sustainable livelihoods in small communities. We say skip the gift bag, and stuff this practical (and fierce) tote with goodies for your favorite girl boss.
We also love this FEED Mom on a Mission Tote.
Not only are these hats a trendy gift for the chilly fashionista in your life, but the company gives a generous 50 percent of profits to nonprofit partners fighting pediatric cancer, and has given over $4.7 million to date. The product line also includes regular beanies and knitted headbands, plus blankets and scarves, in a variety of colors — something to keep everyone non your list warm and cozy this year.
You may have seen some of your favorite celebs sporting these necklaces — actresses like Brooke Shields and Cynthia Nixon wear the delicate chains. There’s a lot to love about these lariat necklaces. They are available in a variety of styles, including 14K yellow gold plated silver, rose gold plated silver and 925 sterling silver, and feature inspirational words like Love, Hope, Woke, Boss, Soul and XO. Best yet, the company donates 10 percent of sales to a different women-centric charity each month.
Founded by two former UN emergency relief workers, Alice + Whittles produces handmade (and Vogue magazine-approved) rainboots from locally-sourced rubber in Sri Lanka. Throughout the entire production process, A+W gives back — building long-term relationships and paying a premium on rubber that’s placed into a fund, with the community voting on how to use the money. The boots themselves are chic and minimalist, and are a firm international-fashion-girl favorite for braving the elements in style.
Chances are, there is a jewelry lover on your list. Instead of picking up any necklace or bracelet at the department store, consider a handcrafted bracelet (or two) from designer Brett Lauren. Each piece is assembled by women from local residential homeless shelters. In addition to giving them paid work, Brett mentors the women, teaching them about the manufacturing practices and costs, plus mentors them on their everyday obstacles, in hopes that they will eventually move on to a more skilled position elsewhere. The designer also works with charities to create original designs, and donates a portion of the proceeds to their cause.
Made in India by women who have escaped human trafficking, these lightweight men’s flannel pajama pants are perfect for lounging by a fire. (They have lounge wear for everyone else in the family as well.) As a company, Sudara’s mission is to empower women through living-wage jobs, education and skills training to help them work toward freedom, independence and dignity. Their non-profit, Sudara Freedom Fund, provides women with microloans, helps fund safe housing, provides equipment for sewing centers, and facilitates back-to-school programs.
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Is it a tradition to gift your sibling or BFF a snarky, clever or poignant T-shirt or sweatshirt? This year kill two birds with one stone by choosing from one of the hundreds of designs at Bonfire, all which donate a portion of the proceeds back to a good cause (either an organization, project or individual). The charitable causes run the gamut: From animal rescue, women’s rights and adoption, to conservation and specific medical conditions. So you can pick a cause — and a fun or thoughtful design — that resonates with your giftee personally.
Best home, tech and accessories to gift
For the rugged guy who considers himself a bit of a maverick, consider an Original Grain timepiece. As part of their “Barrel Collection,” the brand has released two lines of handcrafted wooden watches using repurposed wood from American Oak bourbon barrels, as well as sustainably sourced materials. Thanks to a partnership with non-profit Trees for the Future, a tree is planted in Senegal for each hardwood-and-stainless-steel watch sold.
Get your kids in on the tracker trend while also teaching them the important lesson of giving back with the UNICEF Kid Power Band, an activity tracker specifically designed for the littles. Every step gives kids a point reward, with can be used to make nutritious donations — funded by Star Wars: Force for Change and Target — to malnourished children around the world. Bands are available in different kid-friendly colors, as well as three limited-edition Star Wars bands. More than 8.2 million ready-to-use therapeutic food packets — enough to save 52,000 malnourished children — have been donated to-date.
For the hiker, camper or outdoor enthusiast, they won’t believe how incredibly easy it is to set up shop anywhere they can find two trees with this hammock. As members of 1% for the Planet, Eno donates one percent of their annual sales to nonprofit organizations focused on helping leave the environment in an even better place for future generations, plus they’ve partnered with Trees for the Future and plant two trees for each hammock sold.
Whether it’s writing down your to-do list or gratitude journaling, a beautiful notebook makes daily writing that much more enjoyable. Enter Public Supply, who has partnered with artists such as Edward Granger, Andrew Tarlow and Ty Williams to create gorgeous covers for their elegant, but practical, velvet and leather-bound notebooks with gilded edges. The company creates writing implements to support the arts in public schools, and 25 percent of the profits from each sale funds teachers in high-need classrooms who use the money for a project that drives creativity.
For the woman who has everything, and is leaving you stumped on the gift front, consider The Seed Box from Tory Burch, which features a curated selection of products from women entrepreneurs that encourage self care. Products include a hair clip and scarf, lotion, a facial roller, bath salts and a journal. One hundred percent of the proceeds benefit the Tory Burch Foundation, which advances women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship.
The limited edition gift set (featuring the colorful designs of artist Andrew Bannecker) contains some of the brand’s cult-favorites from the Calendula Skincare Collection — a foaming face wash, toner and hydration mask — plus Ultra Facial Cream for hydration. Toned and moisturized skin is just what we need this time of year, and what’s even better is that we can feel good giving it: For each kit purchased, 408 meals are donated to Feeding America.
These days, most people have particular causes near and dear to their hearts. Help your friends contribute to their favorite organization with a Charity on Top gift card, featuring more than 1.8 million charities to choose from. Whether you want to give $20 or $200, you select the denomination and then your recipient selects their charity of choice. Cards can be personalized for free with a photo and delivered via mail or email.
Best cooking and drinking gifts for the kitchen
A stocking stuffer perfect for city-dwellers, home chefs and anyone who appreciates greenery and enjoys working their green thumb (but not too hard). Urban Leaf turns your windowsill into an easy-care edible garden. The kit turns a decorative bottle of your choice into a full time plant-sitter. The Culinary Kit comes with the basics: dill, sweet basil and lemon basil seeds. But for the more sophisticated home cook you can opt for exotic basil plants or even edible flowers. One percent of all revenue is donated to Teens For Food Justice, which provides urban farming education to food insecure children and access to fresh healthy food for their communities. Plus, they work with Mid Hudson Works — a non-profit organization that provides employment opportunities for people with disabilities — the group responsible for the manufacture and assembly of the kits.
A Napa wine company founded with the goal of encouraging people to give back while imbibing, OneHope has donated more than $2 million to-date, including providing meals for over 2 million children, 105,000 trees planted and 33,000 vaccines. Each varietal is strategically paired with a different cause: Their festive Glitter Edition Brut Sparkling Wine is a light, delicious bubbly perfect to bring along to holiday celebrations that also provides 5 meals to a child in need with each purchase. Their holiday offerings also include a dog-lovers gift set with wine for them and toys for their furry friend (which helps fund pet adoptions) and a Christmas in a Box gift set which comes complete with a tabletop tree.
For the fitness fanatic, outdoor enthusiast and world traveler, consider this unique bottle that you can fill and re-fill from any tap, river, lake or stream. The bottle provides 5 years of safe drinking water protecting against bacteria, parasites, microplastics, chlorine and organic chemical matter, and comes in five new special edition colors and designs. Through LifeStraw’s Give Back Program, every product purchased provides a student in need safe drinking water and hygiene education for an entire year. To date, LifeStraw has helped more than 3 million students around the world.
Just Hit Send curates artisanal themed gift boxes for every occasion (from babies, to spa-themed, to male grooming and fashion) — you can create your own custom box filled with hand-picked items. We particularly love the Just Add Cheese Box, which, as the name suggests, contains everything you need to make a gorgeous DIY cheese plate (all the giftee has to do is add their favorite cheese!). In addition to saving you hours of shopping for those hard-to-buy-for friends and family, you can also feel good about your purchase, since the company puts reducing their carbon footprint and being environmentally responsible as a top priority. The boxes are made from 100 percent recycled materials with notes and interior packaging printed on recycled paper. Plus, every year proceeds from gifts sold are donated to One Tree Planted to plant trees in areas of need.
On a mission to end poverty and hunger while giving back to the Earth, Heifer International allows you to donate a variety of animals to families in need and also offers hand-embroidered holiday ornaments to place on the tree as reminder of the importance of charity. Donate a flock of chickens, honeybees or even a llama to a family and then wrap up a physical representation of the gift by choosing an ornament stitched by women members of a self-help group in India.
Made from recycled glass (and absolutely no plastic), these BPA-free water bottles from Love Bottle are designed by glass experts and feature uplifting messages and fun artwork. Not only are they environmentally friendly, but 5 percent of each purchase goes towards Global Water to help deliver clean water to those in need. All bottles are made in the USA, supporting small family businesses, and the company works with design artists from around the country.
Founded by firefighters (who know a thing or two about the importance of caffeine!), Fire Dept. Coffee offers a variety of roasts and blends for java lovers. In addition to a special Christmas Blend, the company also offers spirit blends, like Bourbon-Infused Coffee and Rum-Infused Coffee, and a percentage of each order supports firefighter and military charities to give back to hardworking servicemen.
Go holiday themed or let the recipient’s favorite hobby guide your way, whether they are a golfer, beach bum or nature lover. Regardless what you choose, the imbiber on your list will get beautifully hand-painted glassware to enjoy their drink of choice in. The designs come in rocks, pilsner and wine glasses, plus many have customization options to add a unique name or phrase. Amanda Lee isn’t only creating gorgeous glassware, but doing good while she’s at it. She hires young female artists to help guide their artistic practices throughout their art school experiences, plus she donates her space to local non-profit organizations for fundraisers and holiday events. On top of that, she frequently runs special glassware fundraisers, creating unique glass designs and donating a percentage back to the non-profit organizations. This season, 20 percent of the profits from the $20 pink snowflake glasses will benefit breast cancer awareness through Glimmer of Hope.
Perfect for the home cook who binge watches Food Network on Sundays. Stuff their stocking with a few spatulas from Wlliam Sonoma, who called on 13 celebrities, chefs and television personalities to personally design their own colorful, limited-edition spatula to inspire cooking for a cause. This years designers include celebs like Andy Cohen, Vanessa Hudgens, Guy Fieri, Ina Garten, Antoni Porowski and Lisa Vanderpump. Not only do they look fun displayed on the kitchen counter, but each spatula sold helps provide up to 40 meals for children in need.
More Gift Guides from BETTER
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