Last-minute shoppers, don’t despair! We’re here to save you from the holiday gift giving madness and help you make a difference at the same time. Instead of racking your brain and running wildly through crowded aisles desperately searching for that perfect gift, consider showing your loved ones you care by giving a gift with built-in social good. We’ve put together a roundup of our favorite items of the season. Because the best gifts not only give, they give back.
Through the end of the year, for every adorable fairy-tale themed toy sold from their “Soft Toys for Education” collection, the IKEA Foundation will donate one euro (approximately $1.35) to support UNICEF and Save the Children’s global education programs. Since the campaign’s launch in 2003, the IKEA Foundation has raised nearly €57 million, helping improve educational opportunities for 10 million children in 45 countries. The kids in your life will delight in knowing their present helped other kids like them.
Your sister will love this sweet, delicate necklace ($24) from Marc Jacobs and Stephanie LaCava for Child Mind Institute. The best part? 100 percent of the proceeds will go to improving the lives of children and teens struggling with psychiatric or learning disorders.
Mom will love drinking her morning coffee out of one of the new charitable mugs created by West Elm ($10). For every mug sold, West Elm donates 50 percent of the purchase price to one of the following causes: Teach for America, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Oceana, It Gets Better, Doctors Without Borders, ASPCA, Architecture for Humanity, or The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise.
Give the gift of hope, strength or courage to your loved with a unique Giving Key ($35) engraved by individuals transitioning out of homelessness. Each repurposed key carries an inspirational one-word message. When the wearer of the key encounters someone else in need of that message, he or she is encouraged to pay it forward and give the key away. This is truly the gift that keeps on giving!
Your BFF can ring in the New Year in style, and you can feel charitable with the gift of these Warby Parker sunglasses ($95). For every pair sold, Warby Parker works with VisionSpring and other nonprofits to distribute a pair of optical glasses to someone in need. The future’s so bright… you gotta wear shades.
Quench your thirst for doing good, by giving BPA-free, stainless steel MiiR water bottles ($15) to the outdoorsy types in your life. For each water bottle purchased, MiiR’s one4one initiative provides clean, safe drinking water to someone in the developing world for one year. See how it works here.
Round up your kids’ old T-shirts and send them in to Project Repat for a personal, unique Christmas gift that will warm laps and hearts. Project Repat works with NuPath, Inc. to employ individuals with disabilities to make the quilts ($80). This gift earns you double karma points – not only are you reducing, reusing and recycling, you’re helping improve lives through job creation too.
If you’re truly stumped and nothing above fits the bill, consider a social good gift card through globalgiving.org. Your socially-conscious loved ones can feel great about redeeming their biodegradable or electronic gift cards to fund any project they choose – from clean energy in Haiti to finding a cure for breast cancer.