The holiday season is about family, friends and gratitude for the wonderful people and things in our lives.
While thoughtful gifts from the heart are always appreciated, this year, consider giving loved ones gifts that give back and that can be shared with others. In this guide, you’ll find charitable gift ideas and gifts with a cause. Whether your loved one has a charity that’s near and dear to their heart, or there is a cause they’re passionate about, you’ll find Christmas gift ideas that will warm their heart and help others in the process.
The gift of time is precious, and it’s important to spend time with loved ones. These gift ideas offer great ways to volunteer together for a worthy cause while spending time giving back to those who need it most.
Volunteer with Your Favorite Charity
No matter where you live or what causes speak to your heart, VolunteerMatch.org lets you browse through hundreds of non-profits that need volunteers. From animals to education, you’ll find worthy organizations that would love your help.
Walk, Run or Bike to Raise Money for Charity
Sponsor a loved one who is as generous as they are athletic through Charity Miles. Choose a cause you’d like your miles to benefit and make time to run, walk or bike a race together to raise money for a good cause.
Give Blood or Plasma
Schedule an appointment to donate blood together. The Red Cross is always looking for blood donors. Your gift can save another person’s life.
Donate Old Stuff
Spend a day together cleaning out your closets to find clothing, toys or other items in good condition that you no longer use. When you donate your items to Goodwill, 83% of the proceeds from these donations are used to support programs within your own community.
Play Educational Games on Free Rice
Challenge your loved one (or a group of friends!) to a gaming session on Free Rice to help stamp out hunger around the world. For every answer you get right, the organization will donate 10 grains of rice via the World Food Programme (WFP). In 2015, Free Rice donated over 2 billion grains of rice to people in countries where rice is a dietary staple. Thanks to the WFP and Free Rice, they’ve been able to supply at least two meals per person each day in countries that need it most.
Make a Hair Donation
Instead of just getting a new ‘do to look your best for the holidays, make an appointment with a friend or family member to donate your hair to Locks of Love. Your donation will be used to make hairpieces for children who have lost their hair due to illness or a medical condition, giving them a renewed sense of confidence.
Donate Worn out Shoes
Maybe a fresh pair of sneakers tops your wish list this holiday season. Put use to older shoes by donating them to Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program. Old shoes are ground up to create surfaces for public parks and places for athletes of all ages to play.
Share Your Skills
Your skills can help make a positive change in the lives of others. Whether your talents lie in fundraising, copywriting or graphic design, there are plenty of opportunities for you and your loved ones to give your time and talents to help your favorite nonprofit succeed.
Shop Using AmazonSmile
Online retailer Amazon.com makes it easy to shop and donate a portion of the purchase price to a charity of your choice. With nearly one million organizations, you’ll be able to let your loved ones know that their gift also helped provide a donation to a cause that matters to them.
While the holidays are about family, the ones who experience the wonder and excitement of Christmas most are children. This season, think about giving gifts that benefit charities — making a purchase or donation that will help better the lives of kids year-round.
Red Wine Gift Box – Pinot Noir/Cabernet Sauvignon
For the wine lover on your holiday list, give them a gift that includes their favorite type of wine, as well as delectable pairings to accompany the vintage. Even better, they’ll know that proceeds from their gift box will be donated to help children with autism.
Hand Crafted Fair Trade Men’s Leather Wristband Bracelet, ‘Integrity’
Made in Ghana, this rugged leather and brass men’s bracelet is a thoughtful accessory that is made from fair trade materials. It’s one of over 8,000 items in the UNICEF Market store that helps provide essential food and supplies to help children in impoverished countries around the globe.
Hot/Cold Stainless Steel Bottle
Stay hydrated with your favorite hot or cold beverage with this stainless steel water bottle. In case you need a reminder that Life is Good, this philanthropically-minded company’s message is printed on the bottle, and 10% of all proceeds from Life is Good products are donated to help children who have suffered adverse childhood experiences.
A practical and attractive gift that helps bring mentors and aid to the lives of at-risk children across the country, a STATE backpack or bag makes a meaningful gift for a friend or loved one on-the-move. Whether they’re toting their laptop to work or hiking in the mountains, this gift will make a STATE-ment that they are standing strong for kids in need.
For a thoughtful gift that can be received year-round, send your favorite lady a subscription to CAUSEBOX. (The company is working on offering subscriptions for men soon!) Every three months, they’ll receive products from socially and environmentally conscious brands. Profits from these subscriptions go to help provide meals and toys to kids with cancer, as well as education and clean drinking water to children worldwide.
Karlie’s Kookies (Klossies) – Perfect 10 Kookie Tin
Feel like a superhero and a supermodel with these health-conscious “Kookies” that offer 60 school lunches for children around the world, and/or benefit the next generation of fashion designers. Dreamed up by supermodel Karlie Kloss and Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi, each tin of six cookies adds a little extra sweetness to your holiday giving.
KITE First Edition Pencil Pack
A thoughtful gift for school children or young-at-heart artists in your life, this carton of 12 pencils allows your loved ones to express themselves on paper. As an added bonus for every pencil pack purchased, KITE will donate one to a child in need, both at home or abroad, helping further their own education.
RxArt Coloring Book
Coloring books — for kids and adults — have become a relaxing trend that helps relieve stress and unleash an untapped creative side. The RxArt Coloring Book is loaded with black-and-white images created by over 50 contemporary artists just begging to be colored. It features punch-out masks, stickers, paper toy glasses and more. All proceeds benefit RxArt, which aims to make hospitals more beautiful and relaxing places for patients. This coloring book has also been given to kids in hospitals around the country as they recover from illness.
Very often, we take for granted the beauty of the planet and all of the creatures that inhabit it. This Christmas, give a gift or donation that speaks to the hearts of the animal- and nature-lovers in your life. They’ll appreciate your thoughtful gift and the opportunity to make the world a more beautiful place, one person at a time.
Raw Organic Trail Mix
For the good-hearted gourmet on your list, put together a gift basket of healthy, sustainably-sourced treats in environmentally-friendly packaging. Essential Living Foods’ Raw Organic Trail Mix hits the spot!
For the person on your list who loves the luxury of soft, scented skin and has a heart for man- and animal-kind, Lush, the maker of handmade cosmetics and toiletries, donates 100% of all sales of their Charity Pot fair-trade body lotion to organizations that protect animals and the environment.
Hearts & Paws Stainless Steel Ring
There’s no love like the love of a pet. If you know someone who works with rescue animals or has a beloved rescue cat or dog themselves, this silver-toned ring from The Animal Rescue Site is a beautiful reminder of the paw prints left on their heart. Every item purchased from The Animal Rescue helps contribute approximately 14 bowls of food for shelter animals in need of a loving home.
Make a Symbolic Adoption
While you may not be able to adopt a wild animal, if you know someone who has a fondness for endangered species, give them the gift of protecting these animals and their surroundings. The World Wildlife Fund offers symbolic adoptions of creatures great and small – from pandas to tigers to arctic foxes. Your loved one will receive a certificate of adoption and a plush animal of the creature they’re helping to save.
Plant a Tree In Honor of Someone
There’s no greater honor than having another living thing dedicated to you. TreePeople are committed to helping restore the parks and forests of Southern California. By purchasing a tree in a loved one’s name, you can help them with their mission — and give someone you love a one-of-a-kind gift that benefits the environment.
Gift a CSA Membership
Fresh, local produce is a gift that keeps on giving year-round. Gift a loved one with a membership to a local Community Supported Agriculture program that benefits local farmers, strengthens their community, and offers healthier and tastier options to put on the table each week!
National Parks Annual Pass
Some people prefer experiential gifts over tangible presents. The ability to enjoy nature in an unspoiled setting is truly a wonderful experience that provides tranquility and a chance to break free from the concrete jungle. For gifts that give back on multiple levels, an annual pass to National Parks gives the nature-lovers on your list access to over 2,000 parks around the country and helps the government maintain these preserves for generations to come.
Hive of Bees
Mercy Corps allows you to make a donation of a hive of honeybees in the name of a loved one. This gift will help farmers around the globe increase their earning potential with better odds of crop pollination and producing honey to sell. It’s a sweet thought that helps people and the environment thrive.
For the outdoorsy types on your holiday shopping list, the Roo Hammock is perfect for camping in the woods or lounging in your own backyard. At least 1% of the profits from this hammock are given to 1% for the Planet, an organization that funds environmental causes across the map.
The holidays present an opportunity to feast with family and exchange gifts. Children and families, at home and abroad, do not always have access to nutritious food and clean water. For some, there is no greater gift than being able to help another person. Here are some charity-minded gift ideas that spread joy beyond the borders of your own home and family.
FEED 1 Bag
The mission is clearly stated on the bag: “Feed the children of the world.” Giving a loved one this rustic burlap tote means that their gift will feed a student for an entire year. Created by a college student who worked with the UN World Food Programme, the cost of a single bag provides 185 school meals for hungry children across the globe.
Aluminum Grass Weave Bowl
A lovely gift for the home, this mixed-media bowl is made from metal and sustainably-harvested grass native to Swaziland and woven into a geometric pattern. What makes this decorative gift even more beautiful is that it helps better the lives and communities of those in the country where it was made.
Heather Strands + Skylark Jewelry Set
For the person on your list who wants their style to make a statement, 31 Bits offers a multi-strand beaded necklace accompanied by a matching bracelet in rich, oceanic tones of blue and green. Made from recycled paper in Uganda, the purchase of this gift set supports efforts to offer financial aid and wellness programs to the people of Uganda.
Precious Metals Key Necklace
Made from white bronze and sterling silver, these vintage key necklaces are inscribed with words of hope. In addition to giving someone on your list a gift from your heart, a portion of the profits from these necklaces goes toward helping the homeless — giving them a gift of hope, as well.
The Sahel Camera Strap
For the photographer in your life who enjoys capturing memories and telling stories with pictures, the Sahel strap from ONA can help them secure their camera and provide clean drinking water to people around the world. Part of the profits from this strap are donated to an organization called Charity: Water.
Little Friends Handmade Dolls
Lovingly created in Malawi, these adorable and colorful plush animals are made from fair-trade materials and make the perfect gifts for little ones. A portion of the profits from these cute toys help local artisans in Africa break the cycle of poverty, helping them to feed and educate their families.
It’s often said that the greatest gift of all is the gift of good health. If you know someone who is fighting an illness or a close friend or relative has lost a loved one to cancer or another disease, the holidays can be a trying time. A beautiful way to honor their memory is to give a gift that helps others in their fight. Here are just a few gift giving ideas.
ONEHOPE El Dorado Rose Wine or 2013 El Dorado Reserve Petite Sirah
Drink to the good health of your loved ones this season with ONEHOPE wines that help further the goal of preventing cancer. The purchase of their Petite Sirah — with rich blueberry notes — helps fund the fight against prostate cancer, while the El Dorado Rose — which features notes of strawberries and cinnamon — helps prevent and detect ovarian cancer.
Charity By Design Bracelets
Send positive thoughts into the universe and help increase research efforts behind a multitude of illnesses with ALEX AND ANI metal bracelets. Approximately 20% of the proceeds from these unique and elegant pieces of jewelry aid charities that are represented on the intricate charms that are suspended from each bracelet.
A colorful way to raise awareness for various types of cancer, Pura Vida Bracelets are made from metal and string. The company gives $1 from the sale of each bracelet to benefit research and awareness for pediatric cancer, breast cancer, brain cancer and more.
Sometimes, you DO want socks for Christmas – especially if they’re colorful and appropriate for casual fun or underneath a pair of dress pants at the office. Better yet, proceeds from SWAP socks help provide screenings and surgeries for eye disorders to people around the world who might not otherwise be able to afford sight-saving procedures.
Music brings joy and meaning to the lives of many. The gift you give the music lover in your life may help others around the world hear words and music themselves. For every pair of over-the-ear headphones sold, LSTN is able to help children and adults around the world to hear via the Starkey Hearing Foundation in the fight against hearing loss and impairment.
St. Jude Sunshine Latte Mug
Help kids fight cancer and give someone you love a colorful mug that spills over with words of hope and joy. 100% of the profits from this little cup of sunshine benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Your gift can help a child and their family continue their brave fight against cancer.