It’s easy to get “wrapped up” in the holiday gift giving (and receiving) spirit. The holidays are about giving to those you love, so why not extend that tradition with one of these gifts that give back, which will benefit not just your loved ones but millions of others around the world. Here are some great choices, from trees to magazines to solar-powered flashlights – even jewelry – all of which give back to global citizens in need.
BOGO SOLAR FLASHLIGHT (Buy One Give One) Give the gift of light this year with the BOGO light – a fabulous solar-powered flashlight that costs just $25 – AND with your purchase of the flashlight, one is donated to someone who needs it in a developing country. We’ve written about it before because we love the product and the idea. Give the gift of light!
ADOPT AN ANIMAL FROM WWF AND GET A CUTE PLUSH TOY Adopt an animal from the World Wildlife Fund, and you will get a cute plush toy version of your animal. Every donation you make to WWF helps save some of the world’s most endangered animals from extinction and supports WWF’s conservation efforts. We think this is a fabulous way to encourage conservation efforts, by encouraging a love of animals in children! And if you can’t think of a good benefactor for your stuffed owl, wolf, chimpanzee or polar bear, you can donate your stuffed toy to a needy child, with WWF’s toys for tots program. $50 from World Wildlife Fund
YULE TREE TO BE Give the gift of a tree this holiday season, and encourage family and friends to nurture Christmas trees (instead of chopping them down year after year as tradition goes). Trees, as you all know, give back to us by filtering CO2 out of the air and producing oxygen. With a little care, you can watch this baby Christmas tree grow each year from a mere seedling to a majestic Noble Fir.
$22 from Uncommon Goods . ONE LAPTOP PER CHILD XO COMPUTER Here’s a gift that truly gives back. The beautifully designed One Laptop Per Child computer is the greenest computer around – combing education and social development with ingenious energy efficient product design. Best part? When you buy one of these beautifully designed uber-green computers for a needy child in a developing country, you get one for a little one in your life as well. Donate-One-Get-One offer lasts through Dec 31st .
AID TO ARTISANS TOTE BAG Aid to Artisans is an amazing organization that supports craft production and local economies worldwide. This tote bag supports their Friends of India Handcrafts project, which helps women’s craft cooperatives in rural Tamil Nadu in southern India. These craft cooperatives provide employment for widows, abandoned mothers, and unmarried women. The bags are crocheted with nylon wire by hand, and contribute to the livelihood of more than 250 families.
DESIGN 21 ALLUMONDE RING Support Design 21, which promotes design for the greater good, with this gorgeous ring designed by Richard Hutten. The sleek design comes in stainless steel, gold, silver, and a few other stunning materials to suit any budget, and proceeds go to Design 21, UNESCO, and a nonprofit of your choice.
DESIGN LIKE YOU GIVE A DAMN BOOK This groundbreaking book on humanitarian design from around the world is a must for ALL designers. Inspire the designer in your life and feel good about donating to a worthwhile cause while you are at it. All proceeds from the book go to funding Architecture For Humanity’s important work providing shelter in impoverished and disaster-relief areas.
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL APPAREL Support the international aid organization with great t-shirts for you and your little ones. We love the “I’ve Got Rights” onesie and Instant Karma t-shirts, which feature John Lennon’s face (there’s a great CD as well). All apparel is sweatshop-free and sales help support Amnesty International’s life-saving human rights work.
ARCHITECTURE FOR HUMANITY – OWN THE DAY SPONSORSHIP Donate one day’s salary and sponsor a day’s worth of humanitarian design. You can dedicate a day to a loved one, and pick any day on the calendar – all the money goes to support Architecture for Humanity’s great projects around the world, and your recipient gets their name proudly displayed on AFH’s website all day on the day they own.
GIFT TREES Great things come in small packages, and these vials of tree saplings from Arbor Day Foundation make the perfect gift that grows. Choose from Redwood, Pine, or Spruce, and give the gift of flora.
ADOPT AN ACRE AND GET A NATURE CONSERVANCY CALENDAR Make a donation in someone’s name your to adopt two acres of rainforest land from the Nature Conservancy, and your gift recipient will receive a 2008 Nature Conservancy calendar featuring stunning nature images. Here’s a great example of a gift that feels good to give and receive.
PLANTABLE ECO CALENDAR Give the gift of time AND flora with this plantable calendar, which will please your planning and planting friends alike. Each month is its own page, so after the month is over, plant your page and watch it grow into blossoming blooms!
GOOD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION GOOD just announced their new nonprofit partners, which include everyone from Teach For America to Room To Read, Kiva (see below), and the Acumen Fund. A year’s subscription (six issues) is just $20 and ALL subscription costs go directly to the charity of your choice. What better gift could you give than the gift of GOOD and $20 to a great cause?
TREES FOR THE FUTURE For a mere $45, have 450 trees planted in your friend or co-worker’s name. Trees For The Future, a non-profit dedicated to planting trees to help the environment and rural communities, has restored sustainably productive life to over 56,000 acres of land in Asia, Africa, and Central America. Your gift includes a Treeplanting Certificate and bumpersticker, plus the warm and fuzzy feeling of knowing you’ve done something good for the planet.
KIVA MICROLOAN GIFT CERTIFICATES Fund a self-starting citizen in a developing nation – and get your money back! Kiva’s microloan model allows individuals to fund other individuals a world away to start their business, open a store, expand their farm, etc. Give the gift of a Kiva Gift Certificate for your loved one to invest.