Each year (I can’t believe this is the third!!) I’ve compiled a gift guide of gifts and tributes that go further than standard gift fare can. These are gifts go further by giving back, sometimes in the most extraordinary and unexpected ways.
Image via Cape Grace
MonkeyBiz is a wonderful non-profit, income-generating project for women in South Africa that has brought the country’s beaded arts to an international market. These are true works of art, are hand-made, signed by the artist and each is one of kind. They are absolutely stunning, charming, whimsical. Not only are artists able to sustain their families on the income generated from their work, but any profits are reinvested into local community services. Available in Toronto through Eat My Words.
Stitch the Stars via Designed Good
Make gift-giving a bit easier by browsing through Designed Good’s online catalogue of unique gifts that aren’t just designed well but designed for good. Find gifts from fashion, to prints, journals and jewelry as well as information on how the artist or entrepreneur is fulfilling Designed Good’s mandate of improving the world. Becoming a member is free and only takes your email address. My favourite item is this Stitch the Stars Calendar Kit. Use glow in the dark thread to connect the dots to stitch together the constellations each month. Simply stellar!
Plan International’s Because I am a Girl
Image via Plan Canada
The work this international charitable organization does always leaves me in awe. Dedicated to supporting social justice for children, I especially appreciate their Because I am a Girl program (click here in the US) which focuses on empowering girls from the community level on up. Choose gifts that include a Newborn Check-Up for $12 (in Canada this gift is matched for a $48 value) to a Scholarship for a young girl for $295 (matched to $1180), and you will be contributing to the transformation of lives and in turn communities. Pick a gift through the Plan website and send an electronic or paper card to your special recipient with information on the tribute gift you chose in their honour.
Max the Shelter Dog
Max, the Shelter Dog by Nicole Rivera is a series of children’s books, also available in electronic form, that follows the life of a shelter pup named Max. This sweet series encourages a child’s awareness and compassion for animals. A great gift for little readers on your list.
Image via Figs
For the stylish men (or those you hope to transform), Figs ties, cashmere scarves and bowties are both a fashionable and ethical gift. Their threads for threads initiative means that every purchase also gives a school uniform to a child in need of an education in the developing world. Check out their video that explains this mission:
Charitable Online Auctions
And finally, if you’re looking for larger ticket items, consider Bidding for Good, a charitable e-commerce company that connects fundraisers, cause-conscious shoppers, and socially responsible businesses (or Ebay’s version, Ebay Giving Works). Both feature popular items as well as a number of one-of-a-kind gifts such as antiques and unique experiences like one-on-one violin lessons with a symphony member.