Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Gifts that Give Back 2014 - Holiday and Black Friday Shopping for Charitable Causes

Can you believe I've lasted more than 11 months without buying any new clothes? Over time, it became easier and easier. The true challenge lies ahead though with the holiday shopping season. I'm tempted to buy my girlfriends, sisters, and mother all the pretty clothes I know they want and don't need! And because I like to torture myself, I decided to make my shopping challenge even more difficult by promising myself that a portion of all gifts I buy this year contribute to charity somehow.

I've been reading about the President of Uruguay and am so inspired by his views on society, kindness and anti-consumerism. While I may not have the balls yet to live the way he does, I do feel that consumerism has been, ahem, consuming us more than ever, especially with how easily we can purchase products online now. So at the very least, I'd like to make sure that whatever I purchase this holiday season also gives back to a community that needs help.

Oh, one more thing. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I've found that some charitable gifts are not always very attractive. I don't know why. All I know is sometimes I don't want to give my friends a weird ugly ceramic piece just to feel like I donated to charity and then have it end up as someone's white elephant gift a year later.

So the challenge here is finding something that is not only charitable but also something your loved one will enjoy receiving.

If you'd like to do the same, I've compiled a list of NICE gifts that give back for 2014.

1. LSTN Headphones

LSTN Troubadours
Every purchase of one of these headphones made from reclaimed wood helps restore hearing to a person in need through the Starkey Hearing Foundation. Gift these to the music snob in your life so he can look down on your music and look good while doing it. More about LSTN here.

2. Laughing Man Coffee

Peruvian Coffee
CEO David Steingard and actor Hugh Jackman developed this company together in order to help create and develop new businesses for communities. 100% of Laughing Man Worldwide revenue goes back to education, community development and new business development. Laughing Man also carries tea, chocolate, and coffee gift packages for your caffeine-addicted coworker.  Read about Laughing Man here.

3. Catherine's Table
Beyonce Mug
Catherine's Table sells unique handcrafted table goods for the soulful chef and donates a portion of all sales to Meals on Wheels Association of America. With quirky gifts like the Beyonce mug pictured here, the only challenge would be giving them away when you actually want them for yourself. Read more about the cause here.

4. The Animal Rescue Site

Puppy Love 2015 Calendar
Every purchase on this site funds at least 14 bowls of food for shelter animals in need. If you can't make time to adopt a puppy yet, this will do for now, and your favorite animal lover will swoon when she unwraps this gift. More about The Animal Rescue site here

5. Shopping for a Change

Bamboo Fruit Bowl

Shopping for a Change (SFC) works directly with artisans to promote their talents and encourage a fair trade marketplace. 50% of its net proceeds go towards funding Community Improvement Projects abroad and the other 50% goes toward a nonprofit or nongovernmental organization of SFC's choosing. They have a huge selection of women's accessories and home goods so you can check several lucky ladies off off your shopping list. Read about SFC here.

6. Global Goods Partners


Blue Paisley Block Print Scarf
Global Goods partners with artisan groups around the world to bring us beautiful handmade scarves, handbags, and other accessories and channels resources back to low income communities with product sales and technical grants. These beautiful items are definitely mother, grandma, and mother-in-law gift material; they'll appreciate the excellent detail that went into each piece. Read more about Global Goods here.

7. Out of Print

A Clockwork Orange Tote
I saved the best for last. This one is my favorite finds because I'm a huge book nerd and also love the cause that Out of Print supports. For each product you order, Out of Print donates a book to communities in need through Books for Africa. The selection here is excellent, just find your loved one's favorite book and shop away!

Thank you all for your help and support. Happy shopping and happy Thanksgiving!!!