How To Give Presents With Extra Meaning

The holiday season is upon us. Do you get charged by all the festivities, decorations and endless holiday songs? Or do you feel drained and overwhelmed as all the shopping begins to feel more like obligations? A couple years ago, I boycotted Christmas.  I thought it would be interesting to unearth the reasons why we celebrate our certain Christmas traditions. (I still find it interesting how our traditions build on top of each other.) However, I’m keeping the Scrooge in me tucked away. And he usually comes out when it’s time to buy some presents.

The “One Present, Two Gifts” Shopping Guide

Keep feeling warm and fuzzy when you buy presents that also go to help worthwhile causes and charities.


There are tons of graphic tee websites out there, however there is one that has a special place in my heart. When I worked for a nonprofit to help prevent child abuse in the United States I was approached by SelflessTee. I worked with one of the founders, Danny Bocanegra; a real mench. As with any creative project there was a lot of back and forth, but the design was great and the product is high quality (sincerely the softest tee I own). Most importantly,  a portion of the proceeds goes to help worthy charities and organizations.  Learn more about SelflessTee.

SelflesTee Malaria Tee

Shirts and hoodies are usually between $25 – $30 with $7/per shirt (or hoodie) going back to the charity.

}} Shop SelflessTee! {{ 


TOMS’ The Marketplace

Do you know there’s a place that has all the classy jewelry you see on Pinterest or Etsy, gives a portion to charity and feels like an online marketplace?  That would be The Marketplace by TOMS. In addition to having beautiful jewelry, there are bags, apparel, things for the home and more. However, what I particularly like are the filters. You can sort by the causes you want to support (job creation, children, education, water, health, nutrition), the region where a charity will be positively impacted or you can select by the charity or brand, like 31 Bits.  Learn more about TOMS The Marketplace.

Tom Marketplace Morning Glory bracelet by 31 Bits. $14.

}} Shop TOMS The Marketplace {{


Raven & Lily

There’s a certain dichotomy with Raven & Lily. The contrast of the beautiful garments and jewelry that more fortunate women can purchase to wear at school or at work but are created by (once) less fortunate women. Women like Ferdoz. She is one of the many women who have been empowered through design and is now one of the artisans who creates a living wage.  Raven & Lily help women in Cambodia, Ethiopia, India and the United States by giving them a safe job at a fair wage as well as provide them with healthcare and education.  Learn more about Raven & Lily.

Striped Infinity Scarf + Gold Leather Accent

Striped infinity scarf with gold leather accent made in honor of Jacqualina, a Congolese refugee currently living in a refugee camp in Uganda. $32. 

}} Shop Raven & Lily {{


Lush Charity Pot

The cold temperatures, strong winds and all that hand washing you’ve been doing to avoid the flu likely has your hands cracked and raw.  Reintroduce moisture with Lush’s Charity Pot. The lotion is made from Fair Trade organic cocoa butter, almond oil and aromatic and calming ylang ylang. Furthermore, 100%  of the proceeds go to small charities that are based in human rights, animal welfare and environmental conservation. Learn more about Lush Charity Pot. 

Lush Charity Pot

Two sizes available: 1.7 oz ($5.95) and 7.9 oz ($22.95).

}} Get Your Charity Pot! {{


Divine Chocolate

Have you ever known someone who felt guilty after eating something like a chocolatey treat?  Maybe we should feel guilty but perhaps not for the reasons you might think. Check the numbers:

  • 11.7  pounds of chocolate are eaten per American per year.
  • That’s the same as 120 Hershey chocolate bars.
  • 50 pods are produced per cocoa tree, twice a year.
  • Within each pod there are 40  seeds.
  • Which makes about 8 milk chocolate bars.

[Source: Bittersweet World of Chocolate]

So one American typically consumes about 600 cocoa seeds or 15 cocoa pods per year. Said another way, we eat a lot of chocolate. However the United States doesn’t even make it in the top 10 of chocolate-consuming countries.  (The US is 15th.) So in order to harvest the amount of cocoa the world needs there are unsafe and low paying (if any payment) conditions in the cocoa-producing countries like the Ivory Coast. This might also sour the taste of our chocolate bars even more, but much of the cocoa in the world is produced with child labor. [Source: CNN’s Chocolate’s Children Slaves.]

While there are many Fair Trade chocolate bars on the market, Divine Chocolate is unique in that through Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union the cocoa farmers owner 45% of Divine’s profits which empowers the farmers to invest in and strengthen their community.  Learn more about Divine Chocolate.  

Divine Chocolate

38% milk chocolate with toffee and sea salt. $3.99.

}} Shop Divine Chocolate {{


Goldie Blox

So this is my one exception to this holiday gift guide but I think you’ll be ok with it.  I’ve got that feeling that you, dear reader, would like to support a toy company that is trying to change our social mores wherein only boys play with engineering toys. That girls are, as their tagline goes, “more than just a princess.”  Goldie Blox has been “disrupting the pink aisle” and introducing young girls to engineering through toys.  Learn more about Goldie Blox.  

Goldie Blox Toy
Goldie Blox and the Spinning Machine. $29.99.

}} Shop Golide Blox {{


Happy Holidays!

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