Now that Thanksgiving is past, holiday shopping is ramping up. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the over-the-top mass frenzy of shopping that is fed by Black Friday and Cyber Monday — and my least favorite part of the holidays, by far, is the heavy consumerism aspect of it all. The focus on materialism can really ruin the spirit of the holiday season for me; which, to me, is really about giving, connection, gratitude, and love.
That’s why I’m a much bigger fan of Giving Tuesday — the day created as an antidote for the orgy of buying stuff. Now in its seventh year, Giving Tuesday is a global movement offering people a way to help others through the gift of their time, donations, goods or their voice.
So in honor of this spirit, I’m sharing not only some great ideas from the Giving Tuesday movement, but also some of my own favorite places that I’ve discovered where you can still purchase some wonderful gifts for your loved ones — while at the same time doing good. These picks offer a variety of goods, often handmade and by the people that they benefit; and the proceeds go towards some important charitable causes. It’s the perfect combination, to me — thoughtfully choosing unique, beautiful, meaningful gifts that will also make a positive social impact on the world.
The website has a lot of great resources, including:
- Give Great: Be an informed giver on #GivingTuesday and throughout the year! Visit our Great Giving resource page to elevate your giving from having momentary meaning to becoming monumentally meaningful.
- Give Time: There are many ways you can donate your time to organizations in your community. Search for nonprofits in your neighborhood and email them to see how you can help.
- Give Your Voice: There are many ways you can donate your time to organizations in your community. Search for nonprofits in your neighborhood and email them to see how you can help.
- Give Pro Bono: Taproot+pro bono toolkitUse your skills to help nonprofits with their campaigns. You can search for pro bono opportunities on or reach out to you local nonprofits to see how you can use your talents to good. Check out this to learn more.
- Find Events in Your Area: Check out the search database where you can find Giving Tuesday happenings in your area.
This nonprofit helps refugees to rebuild their lives. They give emergency relief to those in war-torn areas and help refugees find jobs — basically, as their mission states, they go where no one else will go and love the people no one else will love. And they have the most beautiful Gifts That Empower shop! It’s filled with items that are made by the refugees themselves, such as handmade soaps, candles, tea towels, dolls and baby sweaters. The shop also offers other products like branded shirts, hats and socks with slogans such as “Love Anyway.” And, you can purchase direct assistance in someone else’s name to gift them: for example, water for families in conflict zones, chickens for a displaced household, and medical care for survivors of war. It’s pretty magical.
Allies Against Slavery Market
Did you know that over 40 million people are enslaved today, around the world and around the corner? This nonprofit organization based in my hometown, Austin, Texas works to end modern slavery and human trafficking, through tools and training. If you happen to live in the Central Texas area, they are having a fantastic Allies Market this Sunday, December 2.
The market is a free event for patrons to shop responsibly this holiday season, while supporting local, socially conscious artisans and makers. The Allies Market features fair trade, direct trade, and social enterprise merchants who use their businesses to promote employment and well-being for people in Austin and around the world. This fun, family event will have something for everyone on your list with art, jewelry, clothing, purses/bags, toys, leather goods, coffee, prints and stationary, housewares, and much more! Don’t live in Austin? You can still check out the Allies Against Slavery website for more ways in which you can get involved.
Ten Thousand Villages
This has always been one of my favorite shops, selling fair trade and ethically made goods from around the world. They operate more than 300 locations around the U.S. You can also, of course, shop online. Shop with intention & share in the joy. Give ethically sourced gifts crafted by hand. As pioneers of fair trade, we do business differently, putting people and planet first since 1946. Join the global maker-to-market movement — connecting you with ten thousand villages around the world.
There are a lot of other places out there with some good lists of places to put your money to work buying gifts that do good. Third Eye Mom, a blog dedicated to travel and philanthropy, has a curated guide of Gifts That Give Back for 2018.
Woman’s Day Magazine has a resource guide with 32 gift ideas that also provide for someone in need.
Real Simple Magazine also has such a list, of 19 gift ideas — what I like about theirs is the way they have it broken down into what the item helps; for example, the environment, animals, disadvantaged kids, employment, etc.