30 Holiday Gifts That Give Back (but Are Still Super Cool)
What’s better than that look of pure glee a person gets when they unwrap a gift that’s so perfectly, epically them? A gift that’s all that and does some good in the world.
After the past two years, it's safe to say that we could all benefit from a helping hand and a little bit lot more kindness—and with the holidays right around the corner, what better time than now to give back to those in need? So if you're feeling extra charitable this year but are unsure of where to start, you've come to the right place. To get the 411 on all things charitable donations, we spoke to Ashley Post at Charity Navigator, a leading site for investigating nonprofits and where their money is going, to gain some perspective.
On this list you'll find a few simple insights to follow that will make your charitable gift-giving stress-free. Whether you're looking to empower at-risk youth, lift up the LGBTQ+ community or join the fight against climate change, we're sure there is something on this list that will pique your interest. Not to mention how cool the gifts are themselves. (Think: bold accessories, care packages, eco-friendly products—even toys for your little ones.) Without further ado, here are 28 gifts that give back so you can spread the cheer this holiday season.
How Can You Be Sure What You’re Buying Is Giving Back?
"First, it should be clear what charity the item supports," says Post. "Then look at how much of the proceeds are said to benefit the organization." From there, Post explains that it’s somewhat of a blind trust to assume the best from the brand. But what you can do is look out for red flags. "If a company uses vague language, like 'this water bottle will help environmental charities' or just 'proceeds will go to charity' without naming specific organizations and donation amounts, you can have very little certainty the money you’re putting out to purchase the product is going to a cause that means something to you."
How do I find out more about the charity a brand is donating to?
To learn more about the organization your proceeds are benefiting, consider evaluating it through BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator or Charity Watch. And if it’s not included in these databases, vet their website or call them directly. Post says a good rule of thumb is to check that 70 percent of the organization’s income is spent on its programs (where and how it delivers on its mission) and the rest is split between their fundraising and administrative costs.
To save you some time searching, we’ve rounded up our...
30 favorite gifts that give back
1. Hand Embroidered Astrology Pillow
Best for the Astrology Fan
Who wouldn't want to get a fun personalized pillow with their zodiac sign on it? Handmade by artisans in India, these cheerful items are the ideal way to brighten up a dull space. And with $1 donated by Uncommon Goods for every sale made, how can you possibly say no?
Charity benefitted: The customer selects the charity of their choosing
Donation: $1 per order
2. Life Is Good Forest Chill Cap
Best for the Nature Explorer
This ball cap has that naturally faded appeal of a well-lived in hat, accompanied by a sweet message on the front to serve as gentle reminder to be kinder to yourself. Plus, when a hat is purchased, Life Is Good donates 10 percent of the profits towards children's hospitals.
Charity Benefited: Life Is Good Kids Foundation
Donation: 10 percent of profits
3. Estelle Colored Glass Hand-blown Colored Wine Glasses
Best for the Glassware Collector
Brighten your holiday table this year with an elegant set of wine glasses in sunset-inspired hues of rose, blush, and smoke hues.
Charity Benefited: American Farmland Trust
Donation: 10 percent of proceeds go directly to farmers in need
4. Family Meal: Recipes from Our Community
Best for the Home Chef
Send your foodie BFF a copy of this cookbook that's filled with nostalgic recipes collected from families across the country. She'll love getting to try out new meals every day—especially ones that are this delicious. (Don't believe us? Ina Garten and Bobby Flay contributed their own recipes to the mix.)
Charity Benefited: The Restaurant Workers' COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund
Donation: All profits are donated to support restaurant workers whose livelihoods have been impacted by the pandemic.
5. The Citizenry Tizu Pillow
Best for the Home Decorator
Handwoven by women in India, this accent pillow is crafted from 100 percent cotton and features stunning detailed stitching. Every pillow takes a full day to complete and is made in a fair trade environment.
Charity Benefited: The Citizenry partner artisan communities
Donation: 10 percent of all proceeds made through The Citizenry are donated to their artisan partners
6. Lula's Garden Jewel Garden
Best for the One with A Green Thumb
Perfect for your friend that spends more time in their garden than anywhere else (or talks about how much they wish they had one), this hand-planted succulent garden lets them put their green thumb to good use. Plus, Lula's Garden donates a portion of the proceeds to water.org, helping provide water to someone in the developing world.
Charity Benefited: Water.org, an organization that helps improve lives around the world by providing access to safe water
Donation: Each garden sold provides six months of safe water for one person in the developing world
7. EVERLANE 100% HUMAN T-SHIRT
Best for the Activist
Charity Benefited: ACLU
Donation: $5 for every shirt sold
8. Purpose Jewelry
Best for the Fashionista
We love Purpose's bits and baubles for the simple-yet-sophisticated, dainty-yet-eye-catching designs. Currently, we're partial to the glittering beauties above, but may have to buy more than one pair since 100 percent of Purpose's proceeds are donated to put an end to human trafficking.
Charity Benefited: Partnered with International Sanctuary
Donation: All proceeds are donated to help young girls and women escape sex trafficking.
9. Marcello Velho Catwalk Serving Platter
Best for the One Who Loves to Host
Support Anthropologie’s philanthropic partnerships by gifting your favorite dinner party host this boldly fierce serving platter.
Donation: A portion of the profits go toward the organizations mentioned above.
10. Uncommon Goods Rainbow Market Tote
Best for the One Who Needs A Bigger Bag
This brightly colored tote will brighten your mood any day of the week. It has plenty of space to fit all your goodies and is easy to clean should any mishaps happen. But most importantly, all of the proceeds goes toward Covid-19 relief.
Charity benefited: Americares
Donation: All profits are donated
11. Ubuntu Life Flat Mule Shoes
Best for the Comfortable Footwear Lover
Handmade in Maai Mahiu, Kenya, these suede sole espadrilles are both stylish and easy to wear. But what your giftee will love most of all is that every purchase of these mules supports the Ubuntu Life Foundation. Started by two pastors, this foundation offers pediatric health and special needs education to children in Kenya.
Charity Benefited: Ubuntu Life Foundation, which provides provide pediatric health and special needs education
Donation: A portion of every sale goes to supporting employment for Ubuntu Life Foundation
12. Material The ReBoard
Best for the Home Chef
These vibrantly colored, minimalist cutting boards are BPA-free, dishwasher-safe and made entirely from excess plastic tossed out by the kitchenware production process.
Donation: 50 percent of the proceeds from each cutting board
13. Prinkshop 1973 Retro Affirmation Tee
Best for Your Politically Savvy Friend
This vintage-inspired tee takes a subtle stand with a simple 1973 across the chest, paying homage to the year Roe v. Wade was passed.
Charity Benefited: National Institute for Reproductive Health
Donation: $5 from each order
14. Williams Sonoma Rainbow Stripe Towels
Best for the New Homeowner
The perfect housewarming present, this colorful set of 100 percent Turkish cotton dishtowels lets you celebrate Pride year-round since each purchase helps provide crisis and suicide prevention support to LGBTQ young people.
Charity Benefited: The Trevor Project, the largest provider of crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth
Donation: 50 percent of the purchase price
15. S'Well Azurite Marble 25-Ounce Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Best for the Environmentally Conscious
Besides being eco-friendly, reusable water bottles make wonderful gifts for just about everyone, especially when the purchase of each bottle goes towards helping UNICEF achieve its goal of providing drinking water to children around the world.
Charity Benefited: UNICEF
Donation: A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each bottle
16. CIVIL RIGHTS: A HISTORY FROM THE PAGES OF THE NEW YORK TIMES
Best for the History Buff
This powerful book highlights an array of New York Times articles about pivotal moments during the fight for civil rights in the '60s all the way up to today. To further support the effort, $5 from each purchase goes to Black Girls Code, an organization aimed at training young women of color to prosper in STEM based fields.
Charity benefited: Black Girls Code
Donation: $5 from each purchase is donated to Black Girls Code
17. The Bloomsy Box NYBG Collection
Best for Gardeners
BloomsyBox is the gift that keeps on giving. Sign your fave botanical enthusiast up for a year-long membership and each month she'll receive fresh blooms, all of which have been inspired by world-famous gardens.
Charity Benefited: New York Botanical Garden
Donation: A percentage of each purchase goes to the NYBG's conservation and plant science efforts
18. Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist
Best for the Skincare Buff
This hydrating spray is a best-selling product for a reason. (We love how it gives our skin an all over, radiant glow.) And for every full-size Tatcha skincare product sold, the brand donates money so young girls in different countries can afford to stay in school.
Charity Benefited: Room to Read, an organization focusing on literacy and gender equality in education
Donation: A portion of the profits are donated to help girls in Asia and Africa receive an education
19. Rescue Box
Best for Animal Lovers
If your friend is the kind of dog mom that will spend hours talking about her fur baby, gift her this doggy themed subscription box. It comes filled with goodies that her precious Spot will adore, from toys and treats to stylish accessories so that he can go on those daily walks in style. But the main reason we love this box the most? For every RescueBox that's purchased, the company donates five pounds of food and two vaccinations to shelter pets across the country.
Charity Benefited: Partners with the Animal Rescue Site
Donation: 5 pounds of food and two vaccines per box
20. Driftaway Coffee
Best for the Coffee Drinker
Give the caffeine addict in your life one more reason to look forward to brewing a fresh cup of java with this single-origin coffee subscription that highlights and benefits small-scale farmers. Each month, they’ll receive a new coffee from around the globe that matches their taste profile and is sent to their home within 12 hours of having been roasted in Driftwood’s carbon-neutral production facility in Brooklyn. The foam on top of the latte? Their shipments are mailed in sustainable, compostable packaging.
Charity Benefited: World Coffee Research, which contributes to long-term coffee sustainability
Donation: 5 cents for every pound
21. Bird + Stone Enamel Pin
For the Statement Maker
Skip the meaningless stocking stuffer and replace it with this statement-making pin to celebrate the inspiring woman in your life. Everything crafted by this NYC-based designer is ethically made (mostly from recycled materials), and a portion of the profits are donated to organizations that support a variety of important causes.
Charity Benefited: Planned Parenthood of NYC
Donation: 10 percent of the purchase price
22. Patagonia Provisions Bee’s Wraps 3-Pack Assortment
Best for Saving the Bees
Food storage without the unnecessary plastic wrap and aluminum foil? It’s about time. Meet the sustainable way to store leftover bread, half-sliced veggies and the block of cheese your book club barely made a dent in during the last meeting. The warmth of your hands molds the wraps to fit any item or container and seals it closed. Wash with cold water and dish soap to use again and again.
Charity Benefited: 1% for the Planet and The Rozalia Project, which support ocean conservancy, beach cleanup and water stewardship, and The Bee Cause, which educates children about bees and healthy food systems
Donation: 1% of Bee's Wraps' profits goes to supporting the above organizations
23. Lush Charity Pot
Best for the One In Need of TLC
This moisturizing body lotion is lust-worthy for the way it’ll soften your skin (it’s made from hydrating cocoa butter and antioxidant-rich moringa oil!), but you’ll really love the cause behind it. Every penny (minus taxes) of this velvety product’s sales will go toward small grassroots organizations working in environmental conservation, animal welfare and human rights.
Donation: Matching up to $150,000 of purchases
24. Samara Fanny Pack
Best for the On-the-Go Shopper
You’ve probably heard by now that fanny packs are having a moment, but in addition to being on trend, this minimalist one is ethically made, vegan and super functional. It comes with not one but two straps that you can interchange depending on how you want to wear the bag. The thick one is for wrapping around your waist as a belt bag, and the thin one turns the purse into a crossbody. Or, leave the strap off entirely and hold it as a clutch.
Charity Benefited: The Soular Backpack, which provides children in East Africa who don’t have access to electricity a light source through their solar-powered backpacks
Donation: For every purchase, Samara covers the cost of a Soular Backpack for a child in need
25. Fjallraven Kanken Art Backpack
Best for Students
Swedish artists were commissioned to use the outdoor brand’s classic backpack as a canvas to express their relationship with nature. The outcome? Four bold, limited-edition prints made with the same durable, water-resistant fabric and functional design that gave this bag its cult following.
Charity Benefited: Arctic Fox Initiative, which supports nonprofits that give back to nature
Donation: Fundraising is decided by a jury and a public voting system based on the sales of selected products
26. Ethique Eco-Friendly Body Sampler
Best for the Clean Beauty User
If you're like us, you have a huge arsenal of skincare, bodycare and haircare products at home. The problem is, what’s left behind is a collection of plastic bottles that don't just take up valuable counter space, but also aren't good for the environment. Which is where Ethique comes into play. The concentrated face, hair, and body products last two to five times longer than their traditional bottled counterparts. Even the sleeves they arrive in are 100 percent compostable.
Charity benefitted: Organizations working on conservation, animal welfare and environmental causes
Donation: 2 percent of Ethique's profits goes to charities helping the causes mentioned above.
27. Beats Pill+ Portable Speaker
Best for the Self-Proclaimed DJ
Don't be fooled by this little guy's size. This portable speaker can fill any space with clear, rich sound, making it ideal for background noise or a full-fledged dance party.
Charity Benefited: Partners with project (RED)
Donation: A portion of sales go toward helping millions of people impacted by global health emergencies like AIDS & COVID
28. Cuddle + Kind Doll
Best for Little Kids
Aren’t these the cutest? They’re not just adorable little cuddly creatures, though. For every doll sold (made by artisans in Peru who are paid sustainable, fair-trade wages), Cuddle + Kind gives ten meals to children in need.
Donation: Ten meals for every doll sold
29. Honest Company Twinning Moments Gift Set
Best for Babies
Just imagine the adorable #twinning photos the new parent on your list can take with their newborn while wearing these matching big and little socks? The set—a collaboration between Honest Company founder Jessica Alba and husband Cash Warren’s company, Pair of Thieves—also includes an equally cute printed bandana bib, seven latex-free diapers and a package of plant-based baby wipes.
Charity Benefited: Baby2Baby, a charity that provides children living in poverty with diapers, clothing and other basic necessities
Donation: An Honest product of equal value of your purchase
30. Make a Donation
Best for Literally Anyone
The most straightforward way to give back? Make a direct donation to the charity of your choice in your giftee’s name. Find an organization you’re both passionate about through GiveWell, a nonprofit that helps donors learn where their money will have the most impact.