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Gifts that Give Back: 2015 Holiday Guide

When I began assembling this collection of gifts that give back a few weeks ago, I had no idea how many inspiring businesses and organizations I would find. I had to cut myself off eventually, because I could’ve spent weeks researching, pinning, and admiring the amazing products and work being done by socially conscious businesses and organizations throughout the world. What you’ll find in this post are some of my absolute favorites. I hope this will be a resource for you this season. Whether you’re looking for a one of a kind purse or are searching for ways to support refugees, this guide offers a little something for everyone. And if you’re wondering what to get for the person that has everything, read on! I’ve got some great ideas + a giveaway for you at the end of the post. Have fun discovering, shopping, and giving back with your purchases this year!

For the Home

There's a little something for everyone in this collection of GIfts that Give Back. Make a difference this Christmas!

1. Just Potters Butter Dish from Dignify. If I had this beautiful piece, you would see it in every single one of my food photographs. Each of the items on Dignify is made by Bangladeshi women who were previously living on the street or working in sex work. They also have throws, stockings, scarves, jewelry, and baby mobiles.

2. Joy to the World Holiday Cards from Marie Mae‘s. Every purchase of their gorgeous stationary, notebooks, and cards provides one hour of business training to entrepreneurs in emerging markets, like Rwanda.

3. Rootbeer Vanilla Stein from MudLove. Their handmade pottery is a food blogger’s dream, and every purchase provides one week of clean water to someone in need.

4. Giallo Kantha throw also from Dignify. I want to adorn all of my furniture with their gorgeous fair trade Kantha quilts and blankets. Each blanket is hand stitched with reclaimed sari fabric. They also make pottery, stockings, scarves, jewelry, and baby mobiles.

5. Cruelty and paraben free pressed mineral eyeshadow from Face of Dignity. They offer a full line of cosmetics and beauty accessories and 100% of their profits are invested in the prevention of human trafficking and the rescue, restoration, and rehabilitation of survivors.

6. Raspberry Citrus Facial Wipes from Rooted Beauty. Every natural skin care product on the site helps a specific woman, like these wipes which help Cindy, a widower with three children, receive training and support to start her own business and earn a living wage.

7. Red with Chickies Tablecloth from Paisley + Sparrow. I adore this bright, quirky print. Check out their website for more beautiful and ethically made jewelry, scarves, home goods, baskets, and bags. Every purchase empowers women and helps create sustainable businesses around the world.

8. Cardamom Neroli Scent Suite from Bright Endeavors (not pictured). This package which includes a candle, bath tea, and soaking salt, is the ultimate baby-is-in-bed relax package. Every purchase helps provide employment and a way out of poverty for young moms by teaching them how to make premium soy candles in a supportive environment.

9. The Roze Journal from Flora Stationary (not pictured). Every purchase helps support the tuition fees for a woman in Kosovo to attend university.

Accessories and Apparel for Women

Shop for a cause this Christmas with these beautiful gifts that give back.

1. Chevron Necklace from Purpose. Each piece of their jewelry is handcrafted by survivors of modern day slavery.

2. Button Down Tunic from Raven + Lily. Their motto is “empowering women through design” and their entire collection of accessories, clothing, and purses are made by women, for women.

3. Jumka Black/Gold earrings from Ekata Designs. This organization teaches refugee women in Memphis, TN how to make beautiful jewelry.

4. Gaby in Cobalt Diamond shoes. I LOVE these ballet flats from The Root Collective. They carry several different colors and styles of shoes all handstitched by makers in Guatemala, like Otto, a former gang member who now runs his own business and seeks to offer employment opportunities to other men looking for a way out of the gang life.

5. Pleated Clutch from Three Cords. Three Cords is a social enterprise employing physically handicapped men and women in Haiti. Purses, shoes, iPad and MacBook Pro cases, wallets, and the cutest hair bandos.

6. Gold polka dot tote from Mulxiply. Mulxiply provides employment for women in Nepal and has a lovely collection of modern jewelry, pendant banners, MacBook and iPad sleeve, totes, and clutches.

7. Copper leaflet earrings from Refugee Beads. All of their jewelry purchases support the immigrant and refugee community in Atlanta, GA through homework help and meals for immigrant children, neighborhood leadership development, and job creation.

8. Golden Grace Bundle from Trades of Hope. This set is perfect for people like me who have no idea how to coordinate accessories. Trades of Hope empowers women throughout the world to rise out of poverty. They also have jewelry, scarves, handbags, stationary, and home goods.

9. Socheata from Sak Saum. YES to giant bows! This ministry seeks to end the destructive cycles of trafficking and poverty through rescue, restoration, rehabilitation, and transformation. They have gorgeous bags, accessories, apparel, and jewelry.

Accessories and Clothing for Men

Shop for a cause this year with these great gifts that give back for the men in your life.

1. State Patch Tee from Neighbor’s Apparel. I own the women’s version of this tee and absolutely love it. They’re so soft and comfortable and I always get compliments on it. Each purchase empowers refugee women in Akron, OH through meaningful employment opportunities. They have apparel for men, women, and children.

2. Zebra wood troubadors from LSTN. Is it possible for headphones to be sexy? Because these reclaimed wood headphones are sexy. Every purchase helps support hearing restoration in people throughout the world.

3. Alchemy Recycled Bike Tube Belt from Fair Indigo, a business committed to providing workers a safe environment with a fair wage. They had one of the best selections I found of men’s clothing and accessories. I also LOVE their items for babies (more on that below!)

4. Buffalo Check Tie from Bull + Moose, a veteran owned socially conscious business which uses its profits to help fund microloans for underprivileged men in North America.

5.  Felt and leather MacBook sleeve also from Mulxiply.

Clothing and Toys for Kids

Make your Christmas shopping count this year with this collection of gifts that give back for kids!

1. Bird Mobile from Dignify– I adore these whimsical, sweet bird mobiles. They’d be so lovely for a little girl’s nursery.

2. Joobles Organic Baby Cardigan Sweater with Pocket Stuffed Animal from Fair Indigo. SERIOUSLY, how cute are these?? They have several kinds of clothing, socks, and plush toys.

3. My First Boat Pull Toy from Endeavor Toys. I’m a sucker for a classic wooden toy. This website was founded by parents who struggled to find socially conscious toys for their children. Years of research led them to develop this website, which has a huge selection of unique, fun toys for all ages. It’s a great resource and one stop shop for parents.

4. Veggie Crate from Under the Nile. Under the Nile makes beautiful toys and baby clothes from organic Egyptian cotton while also ensuring their workers receive a living wage, education, and health care.

5. Whale onesie from forai crafts supports immigrant and refugee woman who have home based microbusinesses.

6. Littles Bow Tie also from Neighbor’s Apparel. So dapper.

7. Dribble Bib also from Under the Nile. Patrick is a huge spitter/drooler, so I’m always on the lookout for cute but functional spit up catchers!

8. 24 piece sunset set from Tegu Toys. This company makes super cool, colorful, magnetic wooden blocks. I can’t wait until Patrick is old enough to play with these! Tegu is based in Honduras, where they pay their workers a living wage and invest in a school to educate the children of the families they employ.

9. Stomp the Frog Snuggle Pal from Everything Happy makes cute, cuddly blankets and stuffed animals. For every blanket purchased, another blanket is given to a child in need.

For the One Who Has Everything

We all have that person in our lives who stumps us every year. They seem to have everything they could need or want, and we don’t want to give them another trinket to collect dust on the fireplace mantle. For that person, I suggest checking out the World Vision Gift Catalogue. You can pick a category you’d like to give towards, such as hunger, clean water, education, or medical care and then choose a gift you’d like to donate. The site has everything from a share of a sewing machine for $25 to a goat that can provide milk for a family in need for $75. These also make fantastic gifts to give as a family. It’s a great way to teach kids about giving back and a wonderful tradition you can practice every year. Let them pick out a soccer ball, ducklings, or the gift of clean water or education.

Maybe you want to give where your money is most needed right now. If you donate $75 or more to the area where it is most needed, you’ll receive a free handcrafted gift for yourself or a loved one, like these beautiful hand carved serving spoons made in Kenya from olive wood.


I’m thrilled to spread the Christmas spirit this season by giving away one set of these gorgeous spoons to a lucky reader. To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment sharing your favorite socially conscience business or charity. The giveaway will remain open until midnight on 12/2. Unfortunately, this giveaway is only open to US residents. I hope you enjoy giving back with your holiday shopping this season!

When I was researching this post, I found so many amazing organizations I couldn’t include them all. If you’re still looking for more places to shop this season, be sure to check out my Gifts that Give Back Pinterest Board and my Gifts that Give Back Gift Guide from 2013 for more of my favorites. 

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  • Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious November 26, 2015, 6:48 AM

    Such a great theme for a gift guide! I often give to Heifer International, but I like your ideas here. I had to laugh at 2 things though…your comment about “people like me who have no idea how to coordinate accessories.” I thought you were talking about ME! You, on the other hand, are impossibly cute and chic. And that man bun. That just cracked me up.

  • Ashley Beachy November 28, 2015, 1:54 AM

    Love this collection! We sponsor a child through World Vision and typically donate at Christmastime also. I also recently heard about Trades of Hope. Such beautiful pieces of art! I ordered a necklace a couple of weeks ago and can’t wait to receive it!

  • Jen November 30, 2015, 10:43 AM

    Thanks so much for feautring Paisley + Sparrow! We are so honored. And fun fact – the photo of the chevron necklace is actually my photo too! It’s in our shop. 🙂 Thanks for supporting ethical brands!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood December 1, 2015, 11:50 AM

      That is wonderful Jen! I am happy to be able to include Paisley + Sparrow and spread the word about the great work you and so many other brands are doing! Thanks for giving all of us an opportunity to give back this Christmas!

  • Lora @savoringitaly December 1, 2015, 2:27 PM

    What a lovely collection. I always have fun looking at gift guides, and this is one that is wonderful and connects me with so many different causes! Thank you for sharing all these ideas!

  • Michelle | A Latte Food December 1, 2015, 3:22 PM

    What a great gift guide! I am in love with those cards!

  • Jillian December 1, 2015, 5:42 PM

    Thanks so much for featuring Marie Mae Company! We really appreciate it!

  • Michelle De La Cerda-Nash December 2, 2015, 2:33 AM

    Great list of ideas. This is really going to help me get started on my holiday shopping.

  • The Chunky Chef . December 2, 2015, 8:09 AM

    Love these ideas… helps us remember that giving is the best gift of all 🙂

  • Andi @ The Weary Chef December 2, 2015, 2:25 PM

    What a wonderful post, Courtney. It’s so nice to have these great ideas that support great organizations too!

  • Jaren December 4, 2015, 12:20 AM

    I love all of this! I had no idea there were so many!

  • Christina T January 16, 2016, 6:59 PM

    I’m a little late, but I really enjoyed reading this post, Courtney!

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