Shop Small and Give Back: The Ultimate Gift Guide

Want to shop small and support worthy causes this holiday season? We’ve got 25 gift ideas, and there’s something for everyone on your list!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! If you haven’t locked down your gifts yet, fret not. I’m back with a brand-new list of gifts that give back. For every incredibly cool item on this list, there’s an even more amazing cause that gets support with every purchase. Everyone is covered — from your hard-to-shop-for boyfriend to your stylish, she-has-everything aunt, this list helps you shop small and is full of things you might just want to keep for yourself.

For Her

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1. Huipil Bucket Bag ($240), Ever Maya.

These bags are one of the most coveted shapes for bloggers this year, but the goodness doesn’t stop there. This bag was made by Guatemalan artisans using upcycled traditional fabrics, and a portion of every sale is donated to Education for the Children, a 501(c)(3) devoted to providing Guatemalan children with food, health care, counseling and education. Feel good about your purchase, and make your bestie look like a fashion blogger, all at the same time.

2. Burgundy Velvet Knot Headband ($16), Headbands of Hope.

Hands down the cutest way to keep your ears warm, this stretchy velvet headband is a go-to accessory throughout the winter. And these guys don’t just offer headbands — you can also snag a gorgeous hair pin worthy of Khaleesi. For every piece sold, Headbands of Hope donates a headband to a child going through cancer.

3. Mermaid Green Espadrilles ($35.95), Joy & Mario.

These affordable, comfortable and on-trend shoes are a party for the feet. These kicks are not only perfect for the lover of fun flats, but they’re also totally high-tech and eco-conscious. Replacing the old, stiff material in espadrilles, this company uses a new, sustainable shock-absorbent material, making these the comfiest shoes in the closet. They also use only recycled and natural materials. The earth will thank you (and so will your sister-in-law).

4. Silk Sleep Set ($78), Everlane.

Sometimes the biggest luxuries come in the smallest packages. This natural silk tank-and-shorts combo redefines “slipping on something a little more comfortable.” Everlane is a company that practices radical transparency, meaning they have close relationships with their factories and employees and they show you the costs and sources of all materials. This means everyone, from the artisan to the consumer, is treated fairly. Here’s hoping this business model catches on.

5. eKO Travel Yoga Mat ($40), Manduka.

Since yogis tend to be eco-conscious individuals, it makes zero sense for them to be using unnatural mats. Enter Manduka mats — a broad range of yoga blankets that are free of chemicals, dyes and phthalates. The eKO and PRO mats are emissions-free, zero waste and biodegradable. Give the gift of breathing a little easier where it matters.

6. Up and Away Phone Case ($30), Kidogo Kidogo.

Life tip: if your purse is a giant, thing-filled black hole like mine, do not use a black phone case. It takes five full minutes and a circus of tossing embarrassing items around in public just for me to miss a phone call. This is why I opt for colorful, eye-catching outfits for my little hand computer, and this case might just be my favorite. I want this print as wallpaper, and a romper, and basically on everything in my life. The coolest part, though, is that Kidogo Kidogo donates phones to women in rural areas, helping them maintain their businesses and livelihoods. Kidogo Kidogo also accepts donated phones, so grab that iPhone 4 from your kitchen drawer and put it to some use.

For Him

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1. Bowery Zebra Wood Earbuds ($50), Society B.

This gift snags two types of dudes — the one who loves a stylish detail, and the guy who can’t go anywhere without his headphones. Made with gorgeous zebra wood, these earbuds not only utilize high-tech gadgetry, promising top-notch sound, but a purchase also helps provide hearing aids to those in need through the Starkey Hearing Foundation.

2. Hannah Teter x Bombas Socks ($28), Bombas.

These guys are the TOMS of socks. For every pair you buy, they donate a pair, and so far they’ve donated over 1.5 million socks to people in need. Not only that, but they’ve completely redesigned the sock experience, inventing an entirely new, incredibly comfortable and trendy product. Your feet will never be the same.

3. Sampler Pack ($14.99), B.A.R.E. Soaps.

My boyfriend is hard to shop for. He’s manly, all function and no form, and he only wants things he can use. The only loophole I have discovered? Handmade bars of soap. My dude gets so psyched when I come home with a new bar of charcoal or patchouli goodness, and I think yours will too. What makes this company so badass is their 100% natural, 20% giving-back, never-animal-tested ways. And did I mention the packaging is plantable?

4. The Home Tee ($30), The Home T.

I’m so excited to write this phrase: AS SEEN ON SHARK TANK! These luxuriously soft crewneck tees are the perfect gift for the buddy who moved away, reminding him where his heart really is. This American company also donates part of their profits to multiple sclerosis research.

5. Kusa Reversible Bomber Jacket ($189.95), Cotopaxi.

There’s something about this vintage-style jacket that is just so dang sexy. It’s also extremely high quality, warm, weatherproof and durable, and its best feature is the lining. Cotopaxi uses a unique llama blend to insulate, meaning these jackets are hypoallergenic, naturally windproof and seriously warm. A highly unusual company, Cotopaxi supplies grants and education to other nonprofits, helping them streamline their companies and make the biggest positive impacts they can. You can check out their impact reports right on their site (talk about transparency).

6. SoapBox Tea Tree Shampoo ($6.99), SoapBox.

I know a lot of men who are plagued by the nuisance that is dandruff. I also know there are well-known shampoos on the market, but very few are organic (and most of them smell awful). SoapBox Tea Tree Shampoo is nature’s dandruff assassin, revitalizing the scalp by clearing away dead skin and encouraging healthy hair growth with tea tree oil, all while smelling of invigorating mint. For every product SoapBox sells, they donate a bar of soap to a person in need. This soap company is not only solving your hair snowflakes but providing basic health care to children in need. I freaking love this company.

For Kids

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1. Minnow Cruiser Skateboard ($149), Bureo.

Every holiday season I try to give gifts to my nephews and nieces that say “I am your coolest aunt.” This year I will absolutely succeed with this awesome little skateboard. The coolest part? This deck is made from recycled fishing nets retrieved from the ocean by Chilean fishermen. This board supplies jobs, helps the environment and is just about the cutest travel board I’ve ever seen.

2. Aqua Chevron Printed Journal ($6.99), Yoobi.

I wish I’d known about this store as a kid, because it’s a young writer/artist’s dream come true. Incredibly low prices for colorful, quality school and art supplies? Where were you in 1999, Yoobi? The kicker, though, is that every piece sold is a product donated to a school right here in the USA.

3. BOGO One World Futbol ($44.50), One World Play Project.

I know the coolest part of this list is the positive global impact, but this soccer ball has an incredibly cool feature — it’s virtually indestructible. Meant to last a long, long time, these ultradurable, supercolorful balls are the perfect gift for the little athletes in your life. And the BOGO? It means buy one, give one. Supplying a futbol to another kid in need, this ball will teach its little recipient an important lesson (and provide hours of wear-out-the-kids fun).

4. Locally Grown Onesie ($25.99), Mini + Meep.

The cuteness factor isn’t the only thing here that’s off-the-charts awesome. This hand-painted onesie is one of Mini + Meep’s many unbelievably cute baby designs. Her clothes and bibs are made with completely organic, chemical-free cotton, and 10% of every sale is donated to UNICEF’s Children’s Rights & Emergency Relief Organization. Looking freaking adorable has never felt so good.

5. Mashozi Bear ($37), Goodbye Malaria.

This is the most gorgeous teddy bear I’ve ever seen, but the meaning behind this handmade item is even more beautiful. Every purchase from this site helps to prevent malaria. By funding a spray program in Mozambique, Goodbye Malaria is not only slowing the spread of this deadly virus but providing work in these areas. These little bear friends are created with scrap fabric, making them sustainable as well.

6. Bambini Bike ($95), MiiR.

The classic children’s gift under the tree has always been the shiny red bicycle. Or in this case, the shiny green, purple or blue bike. For every purchase, MiiR donates mobility, clean water or education to a child in need. When you make a purchase, you can track your personal impact through their website on their Impact Tracker, helping your little one see more good in the world, too.

7. DIY Ukelele ($40), NPR.

The classic Hawaiian mini guitar, this instrument has been pleasing ears for decades. Children love to make noises. Why not make those noises reminiscent of the beach? With this kit, they get to (simply) assemble their very own uke and strum away. Profits go toward National Public Radio, continuing accessible education.

For the Home

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1. Akaneri Bowl ($22), Local + Lejos.

This honestly looks just like a piece I saw at Neiman Marcus, except that bowl was $300. And it didn’t directly benefit the artisan. This fair trade basket bowl was made by Rwandan artists, brought to you by a conscious company. On-trend but timeless, this is the perfect gift for the décor maven in your life.

2. Kourou Kourou Table Runner ($55), Five and Six Textiles.

As I get older I’m realizing the importance of tabletop textiles. To me, the table runner is the sexy lingerie of the dining room table, offering just a bit of oomph to your home décor. This company is a sustainable group, giving back to the artisans in the Cote d’Ivoire.

3. The Delfines Blanket ($58), Siestas For Fiestas.

I feel like this blanket is why Instagram-famous people’s homes look so unachievably cool. However, I have searched the internet, and now that hip-factor is extremely achievable — and versatile, too. From Netflix-and-chill nights to beach days, this durable, Mexican-made blanket is ready for travel. The gift behind it will make you feel even cozier than the cotton blend: each blanket sold is a Christmas dinner donated to a family in need.

4. Stainless Steel Compost Bin ($41), Bambeco.

American families are getting into composting, and it’s a beautiful thing. If every household composted, then one-fifth of waste in landfills would not only be eliminated — it would be used to create new life. Over time composted organic material transforms into the most magical, nutrient-rich soil. Your garden will never look healthier. With Bambeco’s stainless composter, helping the earth has never been easier (or less stinky). Using an organic charcoal filter, this receptacle blocks the stench while slowly turning your organic trash into gardening gold.

5. Three Trees Room Spray ($12), Thistle Farms.

During the holidays, I dream of my home smelling like pine and cinnamon and friendship. What my house actually smells like is wet dog and burnt cookies. Thank goodness for home spray so I can fake the Christmas spirit without constantly watering the giant, messy fire hazard that is a Christmas tree. Other than saving Christmas, this company is insanely cool. Thistle Farms started in 1997 as a home and rehabilitation center for Nashville-area women who had fallen victim to prostitution, drug addiction and homelessness. Now the alum and residents of this program run the company, hand-making their products and helping other women like them find work, love and hope.

6. Cheese, Crackers & Wine Gift Box ($50), That’s Caring.

I don’t know a single human who doesn’t love wine or cheese. Regardless of your culture, background or food allergies, mere mortals can’t seem to resist the allure of fermented grapes and dairy. In this box you get an entire charcuterie, but you also donate a weekend of meals to one hungry child. P.S. One Hope Wines also offer a massive selection of different vinos, confections and bakery items (all benefitting charities) for the discerning foodies on your list.

Thank you for shopping small, shopping local and giving back this holiday season. If I forgot any of your favorite gifts for a cause, please link them in the comments below! For more gift ideas, visit my previous Crixeo article, “Fashion That Gives Back,” and stay tuned for my next installment: “The Best of Etsy”! end

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  • Lynn Colby

    These are perfect!!!!! 🙂 🙂 I have been running out of ideas, and this was a great help 🙂 🙂 🙂