Thursday, December 19

Gifts That Give Back

I had a really awesome Friendsgiving this year, full of delicious food, plenty of drinks and an evening of great conversation, followed by one of those random moments of pure appreciation for everything I have in my life.  Once that passed, I jumped online to try and find a sweet deal during the Black Friday sales- a holiday(?) that I am not even entirely certain about what is being celebrated...  Once the madness calmed down a bit, it dawned on me that I sort of missed the whole point of that holiday weekend.  I mean really, we celebrate and give thanks for all that we have and then people are literally shot dead over Xbox purchases the next day.  That was just not sitting right with me (obviously).  Then, as if on cue, my bff suggested that instead of just buying each other gifts this year we should give gifts that give back.  Hello?!  That's exactly what I felt I needed.  Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't say no to a tablet or new clothes, I just feel as though capturing the spirit of Christmas involves a little more than how much money gets spent.


Since then, I have literally been scouring the internet for the perfect present.  There are tons of websites and shops that offer such gifts, but maybe only 10% of the purchase price goes towards the charity, or $1.  ONE DOLLAR? Get serious.  Considering I have put so much effort into this frigen idea, I figured I would share my best finds.

Of course, the first thing that came to find was TOMS.  In case you don't know (mom), for every purchase of shoes made at TOMS, a pair is given to a child in need, one for one.  The same goes for their sunglasses; each purchase of new shades gives someone in need prescription glasses.  TOMS is clearly an awesome company, except I already know I love them and buy them all the time. I am also pretty sure we both got each other a pair last year.  I felt as though this idea was just too easy and I wanted to think of something new.
***Super awkward moment if she got me TOMS.


Another really popular idea that was suggested frequently was giving to the World Wildlife Foundation.  I really loved this idea.  You choose an animal to 'adopt' and the proceeds go towards conservation efforts.  As a thank you gift they send you a stuffed animal of whichever you chose to support.  I was going to do this for my nephews and niece, considering they already have a zillion toys and this could be something in the future that they look back at and think it was neat.  However, everyone I mentioned this to told me it was a dumb idea so I got discouraged and never ended up doing it.


One of my new-found favourite sites is Sevenly.  Every week they support a new charity.  They sell shirts, jewelry, accessories, and things for the home.  Every purchase made on this site gives $7 to the charity of the week, although every now and then they double it.  I've seen charities such as the Autism Speaks, Pencils of Promise, Operation Christmas Child, Invisible Children, and TWLOHA.  Not only do they choose amazing charities, but the products are really cool.


The Giving Key was another popular choice which I highly considered for 3 different people this Christmas.  You choose one of their necklace options with a key hanging from it.  On this key you engrave a word that is meaningful and powerful to yourself, in your own way.  Once the message carries you through, you pass the key onto someone else who you believe needs that same message.  Not only do the keys spread determination and encouragement, but proceeds from the original purchase go towards those who are looking to transition out of homelessness.

Finally, I came across a super cool website that listed a whole shebang of awesome ideas.


Noonday Collection offers women the opportunity to earn an income while creating pathways out of poverty.  Purchases from this company restore dignity to abandoned women in Ethiopia, empower communities in Ecuador, and create business opportunities for Ugandans.


Not For Sale fights modern day slavery around the world.  #nuffsaid.  "By creating enterprise opportunities for vulnerable communities, offering social services to survivors and those at-risk to human trafficking, and evaluating the use of forced labour in mainstream supply chains, Not For Sale works to ensure that no one is for sale."


The Go Exchange give all of their profits to help care for orphaned and abandoned children.


31 Bits empowers people by selling their products in the fashion industry.  Through a 5 year program, beneficiaries are educated, given medical attention, and gain confidence to manage their own business- with sustainable income.

Anywho, those are my favourites that I found during this everlasting process for the perfect gift.


2 comments:

Coolest Aunt Ever said...

Another great blog Lauren. I have actually been trying to teach my boys the true meaning of Christmas - "giving vs. receiving". Not an easy concept for people, especially children, to grasp, but this will not deter me. I will definitely be showing them this post to help support others. Thanks. You are a great role model with a huge heart!!!

Grandma Deb said...

Very impressive! I love the 'key' idea!!

Lauren Kent

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