You don’t have to choose between giving great gifts and supporting worthwhile causes. There are actually plenty of options out there for giving socially responsible, eco-friendly or charitable gifts that everyone on your list will actually like. Here are some gifts to add to your holiday gift list that also do some good.
Cause Related, Charitable and Green Gift Ideas for the Holidays
Support Independent Artisans
Plant a Tree
Forests are depleting around the world. But you can help by having trees planted in honor of your gift recipients during the holidays. The Arbor Day Foundation will allow you to donate to have trees planted in honor of friends or loved ones. And you can even present them with a certificate stating exactly what their gift will accomplish.
Adopt a Family
Around the holiday season, there are plenty of opportunities to give back to local families through religious or civic organizations. Contact local churches, shelters or similar organizations in your community to see if they have any families who could use some help during the holidays. Then you can have your team “adopt” that family and provide them with gifts instead of having everyone spend money on generic corporate gifts.
Give Locally Made Food Products
If you plan on giving any food based gifts this holiday season, you can make sure they have a minimal impact on the environment by buying local. Shop at farmers’ markets or you can even shop for local products at chains like Whole Foods.
Purchase Fair Trade Coffee
Fair Trade coffee is coffee that’s produced to certain standards, including trading partnerships with farmers to ensure quality, sustainability and ethical practices. So if you plan on purchasing any coffee as part of your holiday gift list, you can check out which popular brands meet Fair Trade standards.
Adopt a Wild Animal
Okay, not really. But you can support endangered species through the World Wildlife Fund’s Species Adoptions program. When you adopt a species, you get a kit that includes a plush toy, species card, certificate, photo and bag. So you can present that as the gift to any animal lovers on your gift list.
Share a Donation
Organizations like Save the Children offer programs that let you make donations in people’s names then present it as a gift. You can share the donation through a card or other item to let your gift recipient know all about the good their gift is doing.
Give Gifts That Are Solar Powered
Solar power is growing in popularity as a power source. And there are some simple gifts like solar battery packs that you can give so that people can charge their cell phones and other gadgets without having to use traditional power sources.
Choose Cups and Mugs That Reduce Waste
To reduce plastic water bottle use, which can lead to tons of unnecessary waste, you can purchase reusable water bottles or even insulated mugs for the people on your holiday gift list. Nalgene makes a variety of different vessels in various colors and sizes.
Purchase Eco-Friendly Clothes
Fast fashion brands can lead to tons of wasted resources. But some brands are fighting back and offering clothing items made with sustainable materials and fair trade practices, like Fair Trade Winds. So you can purchase clothing items from those brands to give clothing items that promote ethical manufacturing.
Give Clean Water
Charity: Water is an organization that works to make clean water accessible around the world. And you can purchase a variety of items, from t-shirts to candles, in the company’s online store. So by buying those products, you can give someone on your list a tangible gift and support a good cause at the same time.
Support Companies That Also Give Back
There are also plenty of companies that give out tangible items to people in need for every item purchases, like Toms shoes. So you can purchase such items as gifts this holiday season and also know that your purchase helped others around the world.
Purchase Natural Beauty Products
Beauty products can vary greatly in terms of their ingredients and ethical practices. But companies like Lush offer a variety of different items that include fresh ingredients and don’t get tested on animals. The company also offers some products where profits go directly to charitable organizations.
Research Electronics Purchases
Not all electronics are created ethically. Some smartphones, laptops and other popular tech gifts include conflict minerals that hurt communities around the world. You can research electronics brands before you make tech purchases, as some have better practices than others. Or you could purchase from a brand like Fairphone, which specializes in ethical electronics.
Help People Grow Their Own Food
Food production can be a huge source of waste. But if more people were to grow their own food, that waste could be drastically reduced. So if you want to help in that area, you could give grow kits to people to help them grow their own vegetables and other food items right from their homes.
Show Support for Causes Through Fashion
Even a simple gift like a beaded bracelet can do some good. That’s the idea behind the Rafiki bracelets from Me to We. The organization offers bracelets in different colors that represent different causes like education, health and even water. So you can choose to support a cause that’s close to the heart of those on your list and then offer the bracelet as a symbol of that support.
Repurpose Old Items
There’s no rule that says you have to buy a brand new product for everyone on your list. If you have any vintage enthusiasts on your list, it can be an eco-friendly option to scour thrift stores or antique malls for purchases that don’t require any manufacturing resources or waste.
Give the Gift of Music
If you have any music lovers on your gift list, you can give them a product that helps them enjoy music and gives others the ability to do so as well. LSTN is a company that sells a variety of headphones. And with every purchase, the company donates to the Starkey Hearing Foundation to provide hearing aids to those in need.
Attend a Charity Event
A gift doesn’t necessarily need to be a tangible item. Instead, you can give the gift of an experience. Look up events in your area that contribute to charity organizations or causes through ticket sales. And then offer that as a gift to your clients or colleagues.
Buy Gifts Through Amazon Smile
There are tons of gift options available on Amazon. And you can give back to charity organizations with your purchases by shopping through Amazon Smile. You can find the exact same products at the exact same prices, you just need to visit the Smile URL and choose a charity to support in order for your purchases to count toward those donations.
Green Gift Photo via Shutterstock