20 Meaningful Holiday Gifts That Give Back

by Christine Organ
Originally Published: 
A woman handing her husband a meaningful holiday gift wrapped in red decorative paper while he's sit...

The holidays aren’t just about giving, but about giving back, too. The hands down best way to do that is to make a donation directly to the cause or organization that you — or they — care about.

If, however, you want to give a little something to that special person on your list – whether a child, friend, or spouse – there are lots of ways to give gifts that also give back. Here are 20 ideas to get you started:

Give an Experience

Save the environment and reduce your carbon footprint by giving an experience instead of stuff. Encourage people on your list to create their own sustainable, non-stuff wish list on the SoKind Registry, or check out Tinggly, which allows you to give someone an experience package of their choosing.

Sponsor an Animal through World Wildlife Foundation or at Your Local Zoo

Each sponsorship through WWF comes with a stuffed animal and information sheet on that particular species. Many local zoos have similar programs. Added bonus: Give a zoo membership, so you can go visit the animal you sponsored.

Make a Microloan through Kiva

Kiva is a nonprofit that crowdfunds loans for people around the world without access to traditional lending sources. Kiva borrowers use the funds to do things like pay for student loans, start businesses, invest in farm equipment, or pay for emergency medical care. 100% of every dollar you lend through Kiva goes to funding loans. You can lend as little as $25, and Kiva says it has an historical repayment rate of 97%.

Succulents from Lula’s Garden

Not only are these cute as can be and succulents are all the rage, but each succulent garden purchased provides six months of safe water for one person in the developing world.

Charity Pot lotion from Lush

Lush uses ethically sourced ingredients and 100% of the purchase price of its Charity Pot is donated to small grassroots organizations. Wanna do good while also saving the planet? Go for the Charity Pot Coin, which comes in a packaging-free bar.

Social Goods

Social Goods offers a ton of gifts for just about everybody on your list with each purchase, including a donation to a nonprofit driving change for the issue at hand. For instance, $10 from every purchase of this 1973 T-shirt (commemorating the year in which Roe v. Wade was decided) goes to the National Institute for Reproductive Health.

Each purchase of these national parks candles will benefit the National Park Foundation’s Open Outdoors for Kids Program, which “creates pathways for kids to connect with nature with experiential learning and cultural heritage exercises.”

And buying the book Ambitious Girl by Meena Harris for the kid on your list will benefit the United State of Women, a national organization dedicated to “convening, connecting, and amplifying voices in the fight for full gender equity.”

1619 Project T-Shirts

The 1619 Project is a Pulitzer Prize-winning initiative from The New York Times that “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.” With each purchase The New York Times donates 50% of the sale price to the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

4Ocean Bracelets

Not only are 4ocean bracelets cute, but they are made with recycled plastic. Not to mention, every 4ocean bracelet – or any of its products for that matter – includes the organization’s promise to remove one pound of trash from the ocean, rivers, and coastlines. And the bracelets look great stacked, so why not buy a bunch?

I Am Me Popsockets

This popsocket is perfect for the teen in your life. Not only is it bright and cheerful, but 50% of net product sales goes to the Jed Foundation, a nonprofit that strives to protect the emotional health and prevents suicide for teens and young adults.

Conscious Step

Not only does every purchase benefit a wide range of causes that make the world better, but the socks are fair-trade and made from clean, organic cotton and sourced by producers in safe and fair working conditions. You can buys socks that benefit the National Urban League, which works to provide economic empowerment, educational opportunities, and civil rights for the underserved in America, or socks that benefit the literacy program Room to Read, or socks that benefit Best Friends Animal Society to save dogs and cats. And that’s just a few of the causes and organizations each pair of socks benefits; there are tons of others to choose from.

Parks Project US

With a mission to “leave it better than we found it,” Parks Project sells a variety of national parks-themed items, including puzzles, hats, and mugs. The organization uses proceeds from its products to fund projects at in national parks around the US. To date, the organization has funded over $2 million in environmental protection efforts.

FEED Products

FEED is on a mission to end childhood hunger. Each purchase from Feed – whether it’s a tote bag, scarf or apron – gives meals to schoolchildren in need around the world. For instance, this Meet the Host bundle with an apron, tea towel, and jam provides 36 meals to school kids in need.

Project Honey Bees

Each purchase at Project Honey Bees sponsors one unique bee, helping to spread awareness and help in honey bee conservation. They sell necklaces, pins, and stickers.

The Outrage

The Outrage calls itself a “hub for activism,” combining fashion, community, and activism to create meaningful change. They sell a wide assortment of trendy and unique products – from t-shirts to bags to socks – with net proceeds going to social justice organizations or to subsidize Outrage community spaces. For instance, 15% of proceeds from these Let Love Out socks are donated to The Trevor Project. This Black Lives Matter pin benefits organizations fighting for racial justice. And this RBG necklace benefits organizations advancing the feminist movement.

The Giving Keys

The Giving Keys sells jewelry – including earrings, necklaces, and bracelets – and donates a portion of profits to its longtime partner Chrysalis, which provides employment resources and support for folks transitioning out of homelessness.

SendingSun Monthly Care Packages

SendingSun subscription care packages are perfect for the college kid on your list. Through its Make A Day initiative, SendingSun partners with the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition to support teens currently in their foster care program. For every 10 care package subscriptions purchased, SendingSun provides a memorable care package to a teen in foster care.


This edible cookie dough company is dedicated to reducing the stigma around mental health and addiction recovery. A portion of every sale is donated to SHE RECOVERS® Foundation, a nonprofit that connects, supports, and empowers women in or seeking recovery.

Bombas Socks

With each pair of Bombas socks purchased, the company donates a pair of socks to homeless shelters around the country. To date, they’ve donated more than 50 million items to more than 3,5000 community organizations. While you’re at it, why not buy a few extras to drop off at your local shelter?

This article was originally published on