Christmas Gifts that Give Back

Would I even be a real blogger if I didn’t throw together a gift guide for the holiday season? I’m not sure. Seeing as my last post was over half a year ago, I guess I can’t really speak to that. As Seth stated so eloquently the other night, “You’re like the Michael Bublé of blogging, you only pop out for the holidays.”

I’ve always wanted to do one of these, but this year I’m giving it a little twist. Instead of just a list of fun gifts, here is a list of fun gifts that benefit more than just the person you’re giving them to. These gifts help end slavery, empower women, provide education, feed children, give access to clean water, and offer other steps towards solutions for some of the big issues that our world is facing today.

Now without further ado, here are some of my favourite items for a cause (by recipient and price):

 

FOR CHILDREN

This award-winning chocolate that helps empower cacao farmers and supports education in rural Ecuador.

ME to WE Chocolate
ME to WE Chocolate (Milk Chocolate + Confetti Candy) | $3.99 CAD

ME to WE Chocolate That Changes Lives is made from Ecuador’s most prized cacao bean, Fino de Aroma, making it melt-in-your-mouth delicious. They even have the awards to prove it—from the prestigious International Chocolate Awards with the International Institute of Chocolate and Cacao Tasting to the Ecuador Chocolate Awards, each decadent flavor is award-winning. But what makes their chocolate truly irresistible? With every bar you empower the cacao farmers who made it to earn a fair wage and ensure children in Ecuador’s local communities have access to education. Doing good has never been more delicious! Read more or shop the Me to WE collection at shop.metowe.com.

 

This children’s book that teaches important values and provides one person with access to clean water for one whole year.

Zen Pig
Zen Pig: Where You’ll Find Love (Vol. 2 / Issue 1) | $7.95 USD

It’s heartbreaking that even today, approximately 1 billion people still suffer without access to clean water. That’s why the creators of Zen Pig have partnered with the non-profit Mocha, and for every copy of Zen Pig sold, enough proceeds are given to provide one person with access to clean water for one whole year. Aside from giving back to a great cause, Zen Pig also teaches children to practice mindfulness, gratitude, compassion, acceptance, and so many of the other values that generate a peaceful, happy life. Read more or shop the Zen Pig collection at zenpigbook.com.

 

These beads that provide ethical working conditions, fair wages, holistic care, and micro-financing opportunities for artisans.

Kids Jewelry Kit
Kids Jewelry Kit | $42 USD

31 Bits is committed to upholding the fair living wages of every place they work, with a goal for artisans to make a sustainable monthly salary that enables them to provide for their families and save for their futures. Most of the materials they use are sourced in the countries they work in because supporting local businesses generates more job opportunities and healthier economies for communities. They value caring for their artisans financially, mentally, physically, and emotionally and even go so far as to provide their artisans with micro-financing opportunities and mentorship. They also partner with a variety of organizations and individuals in the countries they work in that provide health care and treatment, counseling, financial education, and more. Read more or shop the 31 Bits collection at 31bits.com.

 

These adorable dolls that provide 10 meals for a child in need and fair trade employment for women in Peru.

Violet the fawn
Violet the fawn | from $62 CAD

cuddle+kind supports over 750 artisans with sustainable, equitable, fair trade employment. Each doll is handmade with natural materials in Peru. These dolls are some of the cutest I’ve ever seen and, according to the cuddle+kind website, they are some of the most well-made. In fact, cuddle+kind is so confident in the quality work of their artisans that they claim: “[the dolls are] suitable to be heirlooms handed down from one lucky baby to the next.” When you purchase one of these dolls, you’re not only investing in the lives of women working in Peru and hungry children throughout 65 different countries, but also in a quality gift that could last generations. Read more or shop the cuddle+kind collection at cuddleandkind.com.

 

This popular game (with special edition rules!) that removes discarded fishing nets from the ocean and educates players on what they can do to help.

Jenga Ocean | $39.95
Jenga Ocean | $49.95 USD

Jenga Ocean is made from over 25 square feet of nets sourced through Bureo’s Net Positiva recycling program. Featuring threatened marine animal block designs, players of Jenga Ocean are encouraged to ‘Save the Animals’ through special edition rules. Learning about the damaging impact of discarded fishing nets, which account for 10% of plastic pollution in the ocean, players will gain an understanding of how discarded nets are harming marine animals, and learn about what they can do to help. Read more or shop the Bureo collection at bureo.co.

 

These sustainable children’s toys that fosters creativity and learning while bringing positive social impact and world-class employment standards to Central America.

42-Piece Set
Magnetic Wooden Blocks, 42-Piece Set (Sunset) | $110 USD

Tegu blocks are a canvas for imagination and a catalyst for learning. They don’t include instruction manuals or electronics. Instead, these magnetic wooden blocks (which are ALL designed to work together) have been carefully crafted to foster creativity and freedom in play. Minimalistically styled and thoughtfully designed, these blocks also support child development. Tegu is based in Honduras with a goal of fostering a positive social impact through its business. They established their fully independent toy factory outside Tegucigalpa and pay their employees a living wage, prioritizing long-term career growth and development rather than simple task-based jobs. Tegu’s toys are also incredibly environmentally friendly. When harvested responsibly, wood is the most sustainable material available – that’s why Tegu works with local Honduran cooperatives who individually hand-pick each mature tree for use. Read more or shop the Tegu collection at tegu.com.

 

FOR HER

This vegan soap bar that does a whole lot for water, sanitation, and hygiene as well as child and maternal health.

650x650px_150g-Coconut-SoapBar_HR_1024x1024
Coconut Soap Bar With Exfoliating Coconut Husk 150G | $5.50 AUD

This soap is on my wish list – well, let’s be honest, all these products are (but I sure do love a soap with some natural exfoliants). This soap was created by Thankyou, a social enterprise with a goal to end global poverty in this lifetime. They commit 100% of the profit from our products to helping people in need, with a focus on water, sanitation, and hygiene and child and maternal health. In fact, they do such an amount of incredible, meaningful work in these areas that I felt I couldn’t do it justice in the space I alloted myself for each little product commentary. And if as all that wasn’t enough, they are planning on adding more! But if you’re interested, I highly recommend you click the links above or below and learn more about the statistics surrounding these specific needs and the work Thankyou is doing to meet them. Read more or shop the Thankyou collection at thankyou.co.

This beautiful pouch that helps fight human trafficking and supports survivors.

Free to Grow (Herb Edition) Pouch
Free to Grow (Herb Edition) Pouch | $20.75 USD

The Tote Project has a goal even more beautiful than their designs: to end slavery through spreading awareness, ethical manufacturing, and giving back. All the pouches they sell are handmade in a fair trade factory in India by women who have made the brave choice to journey out of the sex trade and into freedom. The tote bags (you can check out my favourite design here) are produced using fair trade certified cotton in a sustainable factory located in India. They also donate 10% of their gross profits to Two Wings to support survivors of human trafficking in the United States. Read more or shop The Tote Project collection at thetoteproject.com.

 

This multi-purpose gift that provides one week of safe, clean water to someone in the Central African Republic.

Tall Tumbler (Blue Jean)
Tall Tumbler (Blue Jean) | $26 USD

This is a gift that’s hard to go wrong with due to its multipurpose nature. It could serve as a cup, mug, utensil holder, makeup brush storage, planter, small vase, or a desk organizer/accessory. It also serves as a week of clean water for someone in need in the Central African Republic. Through MudLOVE’s partnership with Water for Good, every product you purchase provides one week of clean water to someone in need. Water is the first step out of extreme poverty.  Access to safe, clean water has the power to transform communities and save lives. It is estimated that women and children spend 140 million hours each day collecting water. When they have better access to safe, clean water women have time for jobs and family care and children can attend school, avoid preventable diseases, and live longer, happier lives.

Water for Good is the only well-drilling operation in the entire country of the CAR, and they believe in solving the water crisis for good. Based on this long-term goal, they’ve implemented a well maintenance program that shows villages the importance of maintaining their new water source. Communities are taught how to finance the repairs on their own water pumps. This keeps the clean water flowing forever! Four of Water for Good’s local teams visit these wells on a regular basis — fixing, maintaining, and reporting on their status. This service ensures reliable, safe water for over 1/2 million people! Read more or shop the MudLOVE collection at mudlove.com.

 

This life-changing book that promotes literacy by providing a book for someone in need and funding community programs.

A Simplified Life
A Simplified Life: Tactical Tools for Intentional Living by Emily Ley (New) | $26.02 USD

This is probably one of the best books that I have had the pleasure of reading in my 21 years. It will not only change the life of the giftee for the better, but it will also help fund Better World Books’ Annual Literacy Grants. These grants then fund literacy and educational nonprofits and libraries. The grants are used for specific projects with the ultimate goal of reducing global poverty through education and economic, social, and political freedom through literacy. And that’s not where it stops! Every time you purchase a book from their website, they donate a book to someone in need. Better World Books are also excellent stewards of the environment: as part of their commitment to environmental sustainability, they never, ever throw away a book. Any book they cannot find a proper home for is recycled. Every order made through their site also has the option to be shipped carbon balanced for just a few cents extra. Read more or shop the Better World Books collection at betterworldbooks.com.

 

This dainty choker that supports job creation for people transitioning out of homelessness.

Multi Tone Key Chain Choker
Multi Tone Key Chain Choker in Silver/Brave | on sale for $32.99 USD

These keys were created with the idea of “paying it forward”. The idea is to pick out one of the items with a word that has meaning to the giftee – a word that you know will remind them they are special and one of a kind (just like these keys). Then they wear it and embrace the word on it until they meet someone who they feel needs the message more than them. They would then pay it forward by passing the key on to them. Giving someone one of these beautiful key necklaces for Christmas means that you are giving a gift that could touch many people after them as well. But it gets better! Every purchase you make from The Giving Keys supports job creation for people transitioning out of homelessness – so whatever you purchase will have already impacted many lives by the time it reaches you. What an awesome thought! Read more or shop The Giving Keys collection at thegivingkeys.com.

 

This blanket that provides people in need with an equal quality item.

White Loom Woven Chevron Blanket
White Loom Woven Chevron Blanket | on sale for $89 USD

Give the gift of coziness this Christmas (and have it doubled)! For every item purchased, Miscoots will give an equal quality item to someone in need in the US through partnerships with various charities. But giving people on the street the right gear only solves part of the problem. They recognize that the greater issue stems from individuals in need not being able to provide for themselves. That is why they offer those in need (mainly those who are transitioning out of homelessness) an opportunity to get back on their feet by helping to package and ship all of their gear. Read more or shop the Mitscoots collection at mitscoots.com.

FOR HIM

This key chain bottle-opener made from recycled weapons with the goal of promoting peace and funding peace and social justice organizations.

Screen Shot 2018-12-14 at 4.02.55 AM
Beers Not Bombs “The Bomb” Bottle Opener Key Chain | $24.95 USD

From War to Peace is dedicated to creating a more peaceful world through the magic of transformation. They turn the most destructive weapons known to mankind into jewelry and art that symbolizes peace. A portion of From War to Peace profits are dedicated to peace and social justice organizations committed to transforming our world. From War to Peace is a green company, recycling everything, making the old newly useful. They recycle copper from disarmed nuclear weapon systems to create a remarkable alloy called Peace Bronze, from which they cast stunning jewelry and art for those who share their commitment to a world without war. Even their silver and gold dipped pieces are coated from entirely recycled metals. Their packaging is made from 100% recycled materials, their labels are printed with soy-based inks, and the rare plastics they use are plant-based and biodegradable. Read more or shop the From War to Peace collection at fromwartopeace.com.

 

This water bottle that saves the environment and helps fund the fight against AIDS.

(PRODUCT)RED | $35
(PRODUCT)RED | $35 USD

This bright red water bottle fits into the Christmas scene quite well, if you ask me. This (PRODUCT) RED S’well bottle not only looks great,  but it also helps fund the fight against AIDS. 20% of the retail price from every (PRODUCT)RED bottle goes towards supporting (RED)’s efforts to fight AIDS through the Global Fund. But S’well also has another cause they are fighting for: to rid the world of plastic water bottles. It’s S’well’s ongoing mission to create products that are both beautiful and eco-friendly, that infuse innovation with inspiration, and that continue to give back to communities in need. Read more or shop the S’well collection at swellbottle.com.

 

This toque that removes one pound of trash from our oceans.

 

United by Blue
United By Blue Cabin Pom Beanie | $38 USD

This cabin-scene-embellished toque was a real hit with Seth. I must have been on track with the “For Him” section because after I had him check it over, he added a few new items to his Christmas wish list. This was #1. And if Santa decides to pick it up for him, he can feel extra jolly knowing that every product purchased from United by Blue removes one pound of trash. United By Blue was created with the idea that a successful outdoor brand can do serious conservation work. They organize and host cleanups to make a measurable impact on the most pressing of environmental problems: ocean trash and plastics pollution. The amount of plastic waste in our oceans and waterways is mind-boggling: 8 million tons of plastic enter oceans each year. They believe that products designed for enjoying the outdoors should also be kind to the outdoors. That’s why they put a lot of thought into the materials that make up each piece and always opt for textiles that keep our oceans, air and soil a little cleaner. Read more or shop the United by Blue collection at unitedbyblue.com.

 

This package of socks that gifts four pairs of specialty socks to people in need, specifically designed for the unique challenges they may face.

Men's Holiday Sock 4-Pair Gift Box
Men’s Holiday Sock 4-Pair Gift Box | $65 USD

I’m not gonna lie, these socks seem super pricey at first glance – but if you think about the fact you’re actually buying eight socks of extreme quality, the price begins to make a little more sense (it works out to be about $8.15 USD per sock). Socks may not be your first gift splurge of choice, but, if they are, these are the ones you’re going to want to pickup. Socks are the #1 most requested clothing item at homeless shelters and Bombas is working to meet this need. Bombas was started to make an impact in the US and was built from the ground up around the idea of sock donations. For every pair purchased, they donate a pair to someone in need. But not just any sock, as they state on their website: “People ask us all the time if we donate the same socks that we sell. The answer is no, we donate something special. Working closely with our giving partners, we engineered a sock to specifically meet the needs of people who don’t have the luxury of putting on a clean pair of socks every day. An anti-microbial treatment ensures they don’t need to be washed as often, and reinforced seams and darker colors give them greater durability with less visible wear.” Read more or shop the Bombas collection at bombas.com.

 

This bag that will provide a backpack packed with essential tools for success to a child in need.

Screen Shot 2018-12-14 at 3.01.58 AM
Preston Messenger Bag | $135 USD

Purchasing this stylish bag is not only an excellent fashion choice, but it will also help address the immediate needs of children living with challenging – and in some cases critical – circumstances. For every STATE bag purchased, STATE hand-delivers a backpack packed with essential tools for success to a child in need; but their commitment goes beyond the a material donation. STATE Bags is also a Benefit Corporation, creating public significance by having a material, positive impact on society. The STATE Mission: To make beautiful, well-made, inclusively cool products while using the power of business to give back and shift narratives around social injustices. Read more or shop the STATE collection at statebags.com.

 

This hammock set that helps fund Explore Austin, an outdoor mentorship program that supports the growth and positive development of the next generation of leaders and decision-makers.

Camp Starter Kit Bundle
Camp Starter Kit Bundle (Aloe Green) | on sale for $230 CAD

Kammock is a 1% for the Planet company. Every year, before Kammock takes any expenses, salary, overhead or material costs out of the equation, they donate 1% to Explore Austin (which is actually a huge amount, if you think about how much they are making!). This non-profit uses mentoring and outdoor adventure to empower youth from low-income communities to reach their full potential. They promise 1,300 hours per child per mentor. Explorers begin in the sixth grade and Explore Austin’s volunteer Mentors stay with them through high school graduation and beyond into their adult lives. Research shows when youth have a long-term caring adult in their life, access to challenging outdoor activities, and opportunities to lead others and themselves, they are more confident and prepared to reach their highest level of success. Aside from that, they aim to serve you sustainably and minimize waste, recycling or reusing products whenever possible: “We take full responsibility of the products we create from cradle to grave. We want to avoid Kammok products in landfills or dark corners of attics at all costs. If a product has reached the end of its lifecycle, please send it back to us and we will find a use for the materials.” Kammock is also a B Corp. Essentially, a B Corporation is a company that meets performance and legal requirements by B Lab, a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement of people using business as an avenue to do good. Read more or shop the Kammock collection at kammok.com.

 

 

FOR THE PERSON ON YOUR NAUGHTY LIST

This coal that provides a family in Kenya with a new, charcoal-efficient stove and solar light.

Candle and Soap
Candle + Soap Gift Set | $45 USD

Know someone who deserves a little coal? Give this fun gift set from the Adventure Project and you will also provide a family in Kenya with a new, charcoal-efficient stove and a new solar light. Why stoves? 3 billion people around the world cook their meals over open fires. 4 million people die each year from respiratory illnesses, mostly women and children. The smoke is equivalent to breathing in two packs of cigarettes every day. This is one of the largest killers of children and biggest environmental contributors of black carbon pollution. The Adventure Project also support women entrepreneurs: 400 women in Kenya and Tanzania have also requested the tools and training to run their own stove businesses and The Adventure Project works with donors to work towards making their dreams a reality. Read more or shop The Adventure Project collection at theadventureproject.org.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read through this gift guide!

If you enjoyed this post, please share it and help bring awareness to these great companies. And if you purchased (or plan to purchase) anything from this list, let me know what you got!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas season and happy shopping. May all your orders arrive on time.

Jess

Disclaimer: Information and prices are subject to change. I am not sponsored by / affilated with any of the above brands and assume no responsibility for any issues with orders or products.

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2 thoughts on “Christmas Gifts that Give Back

  1. Hey Jess, I’m reading this a bit late (or early depending on how you look at it), but I just wanted to let you know that I think this guide is amazing! I especially love that you included low cost items, since often I feel like only big things make an impact. I can’t wait for the next birthdays and Christmas to hopefully use this gift guide!
    Thank you!!

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