We always try to strike a balance this time of year. It’s so easy to go overboard with the gifts that it’s important to take a step back. We definitely recognize that this is a spendy time of year and when it comes down to it, there often aren’t always funds in our holiday gift budget to allow for both gifts and charitable giving. That’s why we have gathered some lovely gifts here that, when purchased, proceeds go to help an honourable charitable organization. Here are our favourite gifts that give back to charity:
The Vancouver Aquarium’s Aquadopt Kits are a fantastic gift for any animal lover in your family. This symbolic adoption helps the Aquarium care for the animals and helps to fund their research, education and conservation initiatives. You can choose to adopt a Beluga, Otter, Shark or Seal. Each kit comes with a soft plushie, certificate of adoption, fact booklet, collector card and tax receipt. $55.00 available online or in the Aquarium Gift Shop.
We love Lush for so many reasons: they have fun and quirky bath and body products and they love animals (their products are 100% vegetarian and they do not buy from companies that carry out, fund or commission any animal testing). They also have a few great charitable initiatives. Their Charity Pot, a gorgeous body lotion with the delicate floral scent of ylang ylang and rosewood will leave your body soft and your heart happy: 100% of the purchase price is donated to small grassroots organizations working in areas of environmental conservation, animal welfare and human rights. Charity Pot, $6.95 – $25.95 (depending on size) from Lush. That’s not all, they also have their FUN soap, a multipurpose bar that can be used as soap, shampoo, bubble bath, or a moldable toy (or all 4!). 2.5% of FUN sales are donated to the LUSH FUNd, supporting charities in Fukushima, Japan that create safe places for children to play outside. FUN soap, starting at $6.95 from Lush.
You are probably familiar with TOMS footwear, their One for One initiative changed the way a lot of people looked at charitable giving. While we still love their shoes for mamas, dadas and kiddos, we wanted to share two other options for gifts that give back from TOMS:
When you purchase a pair of sunglasses from TOMS, they will help give sight to a person in need. To date TOMS Eyewear purchases have helped restore sight to over 325,000 people. We love the Margeaux Black Polarized glasses for mamas. $169.99 from TOMS.
Another amazing TOMS One for One program is their bags. With every purchase TOMS Bags provide training for skilled birth attendants and the vital materials needed to help a woman safely give birth. An amazing and very much needed initiative. Their bags are cute and stylish, plus functional – you’ll love the side zipper for handy access to all the things you need quickly and the interior padded tech pocket fits a tablet perfectly . We love the Navy Trekker Backpack and so will the dads on your list! $86.00 from TOMS.
Made in Vancouver, these beautiful handcrafted ornaments are the handiwork of a collaboration of skilled participants and working graduates in the Women in the Trades Workshop. The participants are women and other community members who have faced multiple barriers to employment that come from backgrounds of personal trauma, addictions and homelessness. From single mothers to new Canadians, Tradeworks provides training in life and employment skills as well as hands-on work experience in the carpentry field. The ornaments crafted by the program are a sight to behold. Tiny details of a partridge in a pear tree or the five golden rings will make a special and meaningful gift for anyone on your list. Single ornaments start at just $4.99 from from SPUD.ca.
We featured Strathcona 1890 seeds in our holiday gift ideas for stocking stuffer guide this year because we thought the idea of beautifully packaged bee garden seeds would go over swimmingly with the gardener in your life. But we also love their charitable side of things. This gift plants roots in our community. Proceeds go towards creating jobs in the Downtown Eastside and building sustainable food programs at Vancouver’s inner city schools. Bee Garden Seed Collection, $17.50 from Strathcona 1890.
Joa Bath and Body
We love this little Canadian company that hails from back east. Created out of a desire to use only quality products on her family and herself, their slogan “be good to yourself” is something we can get behind. Especially since being good to yourself also means being good to the environment and being good to others. For every purchase made, Joa donates a bar of soap to a local women’s shelter. It’s their small way (and yours when you purchase) of giving to someone who needs help getting back on their feet. We love their Delightful Bath Soap, with a fresh cranberry scent. It’s their newest soap that includes cranberry seeds to help exfoliate. Handmade in small batches with natural quality ingredients. $7.95 from Joa Bath and Body.
We hope this list has inspired you to share the love this holiday season. It makes giving that much sweeter.
By: Michelle Hughes