It’s that time of the year. Whether you like it or not, you have to give gifts to your loved ones, friends, and colleagues. Why not make it more meaningful and purchase something that also helps the community at large?
We have put together our list of Sustainable Gifts that are not only worth giving, but also give back to someone in need. Here are our top picks for Gifts that Give Back 2019:
Instead of picking up a random holiday card from the drugstore, get a cute sandwich shaped Food for Thoughts Card that feeds the hungry. With the purchase of each card, the cash equivalent of one PB&J is donated to an organization that feeds the hungry, such as food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens. Besides holiday cards, they also have birthday, thank-you and new address cards. They make wonderful teacher and office gifts!
According to Feeding America, 1 in 8 Americans does not have access to enough food.
TLD Candles $25
Two Little Dumplings are not your ordinary candles. These are made in New York, using all-natural coconut soy wax, low smoke hemp/cotton wicks, essential oils and nontoxic adhesive. The products reduce CO2 emissions by using reusable containers and all-natural candle materials, and recyclable packaging. They are also long lasting and smell great! A portion of all proceeds go to NYC Material for the Arts.
These meditating cat statues carved in wood is sure to make any animal lover smile. NOVICA empowers artists and provides them a platform have a broad reach. Browse for hundreds of handmade items from all over the world on their website or Amazon.com. We personally met with one of NOVICA’s 100-year old flute makers in Bali.
Every purchase is gift wrapped and comes with a handwritten postcard from the artist – in this case Nengah Sudarsana from Bali. He also says on the website, “Novica has created a much better life for me and my family. Before, I could hardly afford to live in a single room home. Now I live in a house with three rooms, and have my own car. Most importantly, I now support many other artisans who work with me.”
Instead of stuffing the stocking with a pair of socks, you can gift someone a sock subscription, where they will receive two stylish pairs of cotton socks each month. For every pair sold, Society Socks donates a pair to charity. Chose from 3, 6 or 12 months subscription and include a hand written note in your gift. If you love the idea, you can also get them personalized or subscribe to yourself!
Socks are one of the most needed, but least donated clothing items in homeless shelters.
Here is a cool gift for animal lovers. Wicked Dog Apparel is a Boston based clothing brand that brings together the love of Boston, dogs, and clothing, that includes t-shirts, hats, dog leashes, hoodies and more.
Wicked Dog Apparel sponsors a number of dog and animal related charities such as BarkHappy and International Doodle Day, as well as Christopher’s Haven‘s fashion show, and The Longest Day – 48 Peaks, a hike to fight Alzheimer’s. You can sport a nice look while reuniting lost and found dogs with their families, and saving abandoned, neglected, and abused dogs from high-kill shelters throughout the United States.
Lazy Turtle’s hoodies, tanks and t-shirts make a great gift for someone who cares about oceans, sea life, and the environment, or to teach young ones about marine conservation. The Florida family-owned company sells sun-safe beachwear (SPF 50), proceeds of which go to the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC), the world’s oldest and most respected sea turtle conservation group. Get one each for mom, dad and the kids before heading out on your next beach vacation!
The city focused accessories make a fashion statement and perfect gift for a pair – newly weds, mom and dad, young couple! The NYC taxi cab scarf for women and pocket square for men is made of Poly Chamuese (that feels like silk) in a beautiful grey-yellow pattern. NOFOSA Club provides employment, life skills, and confidence to women and men at the St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center, located in Flint, Michigan. They teach people how to sew, giving them a professional skill as well as employment.
Fair Anita employs 8,000 survivors of sexual/domestic violence around the world to create sustainable, fair trade jewelry, and accessories. Through this gift that gives back, the women employed at Fair Anita are paid 2-3 times more than the minimum wage, plus provided with health insurance and educational scholarships. Most items retail under $22 and are made from recycled materials, sourced locally from the communities where they are created. You can shop by country and learn about the artisans on Fair Anita’s website.
Yowie empowers kids and parents to make a difference in ecological conservation by eating one of their favorite things – chocolate! Every chocolate is shaped as a lovable Yowie character and comes with a limited-edition collectible animal. There’s a leaflet that features a picture of the real-life animal, its profile and level of endangerment, to encourage parents to start conversations about ecological conservation with their kids. Makes for delicious stocking stuffers and party favors. Available at retail stores, including Walmart.
This fun children’s picture book teaches kids about travel, diverse culture, and protecting the habitats of endangered animals, through the eyes of a traveling cat. Authored by Go Eat Give founder, Sucheta Rawal, the book is based on real-life characters and photographs. A portion of profits benefits Bali Children’s Project, a nonprofit that keeps kids off the street and gives them education (including books, uniforms, food, and tuition), so they have a better chance in life.
Go Eat Give takes travelers to Bali for culinary, yoga and volunteer journeys.
This charcoal soap does not only prevent breakouts and keeps your skin hydrated, it supports women in Tanzania and Kenya who are running charcoal-efficient stove businesses. Cooking over open fires is one of the world’s leading killers in developing countries. This gift that gives back will help to ensure that each soap made helps to provide a woman in East Africa with a stove; and each candle provides a family with solar light.
Grab a Women’s Bean Project delicious and organic snack for all your coworkers. The project hires women with histories of incarceration, women who are ex-gang members or former addicts with multiple felonies, and puts them to work manufacturing gourmet food items. Assortment of sweet and spicy flavors include Greek Yogurt Covered Blueberries, Ginger Zing Trail Mix, Ginger Zing Trail Mix, Ginger Zing Trail Mix, Chili Spiced Mango, and Thai Curry Cashews.
Artisanal food products are always popular among coworkers, hostess gifts, and foodies. The New York-based farm-to-table food and spirits brand with honey at its core offers gift baskets filled with organic honey, maple syrup, waffle mix, chocolate honey truffles, and more. During the crafting of their New York Rye Whiskey, spent mash is given to local farmers three miles away to feed their pigs; and a percentage of every sale is donated to environmental causes devoted to saving bees and other pollinators including Friends of the Earth and The Sierra Club.
With family, shopping, cooking, and traveling, holidays can be a stressful time. Pamper someone during the holidays with H.E.A.L’s Sleepy Time Kit and H.E.A.L’s Stress Reliever Kit. Created by Dr. Harmony, the kits contain magnesium bath flakes, relaxation oils, and body lotions. It is the perfect way to say “thank you” to the chefs, caretakers, and party hosts, while also giving back. These two gifts contain handcrafted items by single moms, people with disabilities, homeschool families. H.E.A.L’s products are available through their website, Amazon.com, and in Walmart stores.