23 great holiday gifts that give back to worthy causes
The holiday season is the perfect time to give back and support some amazing causes.
From a makeup company that donates to Indigenous programs to jewelry that supports single moms and healthcare workers, here’s a round-up of items you can feel good about gifting to your friends and family this year.
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- 11 holiday gifts perfect for the foodie in your life
- 6 Canadian cookbooks perfect for holiday gift giving
- Here’s how you can help your favourite local restaurant this holiday season
- 5 best edible advent calendars available across Canada
Scarves by Obakki
Obakki‘s modal-blend scarves are a Vancouver staple. 100% of the net proceeds from the scarves ($49) goes towards the drilling of water wells in War Kume, South Sudan, where drought has forced its residents to drink from uncleanly roadside puddles or swamps. Available in an array in colours, including cool neutrals like camel and grey, as well as purple, burgundy, orange, teal and more.
Puzzles by Piecework
Puzzles have had a major resurgence in recent years — particularly during the COVID-19 quarantine. These 1,000-piece puzzles by Piecework ($50) — and available at India Rose Cosmeticary — are more than Insta-worthy with images like picture-perfect glasses of champagne, gorgeous florals, and a pretty food flat lays. 10% of profits are donated to the National Women’s Law Center.
Esther’s Christmas Coat Book
Esther The Wonder Pig is back for another adventure. The social media sensation — yes, she’s a real pig — has developed quite the following on YouTube and the ‘gram, which has led to a popular children’s book series. The True Adventures of Esther the Wonder Pig — Esther’s Christmas Coat ($26) by Steve Jenkins, Derek Walter & Caprice Crane is the latest instalment, featuring gorgeous illustrations by Kathleen Marshall.
True North bracelet from True Curated Designs
Birth Stone Necklaces by Emery & Opal
Montreal’s Emery & Opal are known for their dreamy and whimsical designs, including their gorgeous birth stone necklaces ($39). Available for all 12 months, the rose quartz, amethyst, and opal ($45 — and the stone that’s seen a recent resurgence thanks to Kim Kardashian) are among our favourites. Each month, Emery & Opal makes a donation to a different charity of their choice. Available on Amazon Handmade.
Face Oil by Amandine Sol Botanicals
Get your inner glow on with this luxe oil by Amandine Sol Botanicals ($45 or $120). Formulated in Toronto, the Inner Glow Face Oil blends 17 active natural botanicals and essential oils to hydrate skin. The company has pledged to donate partial proceeds to St. Joseph’s Hospital to support expansion of their pancreatic and hepatobiliary research unit.
Teddy Bears from Holt Renfrew
Got a youngster on your list? Holt Renfrew’s limited-edition Holiday Bears ($55) are back, this time in an adorable (and ethically made) tropical print T-shirt by KOTN. $5 from every bear goes to Make-A-Wish Canada. A mini version ($25) is also available, with $2 from each also going to the organization.
Lipstick Trio by Cheekbone Beauty
The perfect set of lipsticks. Indigenous-owned Cheekbone Beauty partnered with Métis visual artist Christi Belcourt for this limited-edition gift box ($125). All of their items are named after Indigenous words, including the three colours in this set, which are “Nuna” (pinky nude), “Makoc” (oxblood red), and “Ooxor” (brown — think the ’90s). The eye-catching box features Christi’s This Painting is a Mirror. $5 from every purchase of this vegan lip set goes to support year-based language and traditional arts camp Nimkii Aazhibikong.
Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo & Conditioner by AG
Apple Cider Vinegar is hailed online for its miracle-like properties — and it can also do wonders for your hair. Vancouver-brand AG developed their popular sulfate-free “Balance” shampoo ($30) and “Boost” conditioner ($30) with organic ACV, which helps with shine by naturally closing hair cuticles. With rosemary, lavender, sage and lemongrass, this shampoo and conditioner set will have you feeling like you’re at the spa. Partial proceeds are donated to One Girl Can, a charity that provides educational opportunities to young women and girls in Africa through building schools, as well as post-secondary and high school scholarships.
Glitter Sneakers by Anothersole
Everyone needs a little dazzle during the holidays. These too-cute glitter sneakers by Anothersole ($178) are the perfect weekend shoe. Even better: 10% of the company’s profits go to feeding children and building sustainable communities. We are also loving the avocado print and pineapple versions.
Skin Luminizer from Sappho
Want vibrant, fresh and dewy skin? These organic skin luminizers from Sappho bring light, life and glow to skin. Vegan, cruelty-free, chemical-free, women-owned and operated, it’s also a present you can feel good about giving. Partial proceeds support art programs for inner-city and Indigenous youth in Vancouver through Urban Native Youth Association & Eastside Culture Crawl.
Mask Chains from Blue Ruby
Blue Ruby’s Cause We Care collection has a new addition this year: mask chains ($85). Elevate the protective accessory with these pretty beaded items, which can also double as a wrap bracelet or necklace. Blue Ruby donates 100% of proceeds to Vancouver’s Cause WE Care, which supports single mothers and their children in need. Available in gold or silver with grey or blue beads.
Plush Throw Blanket by Nordstrom
We can never have enough cozy blankets — and this is one you can feel extra good about using. Nordstrom’s Bliss Plush Throw ($49.50) donates a portion of sales proceeds to Operation Warm, which is an organization that helps get winter coats to kids in need. The item comes in a festive “Red Chilli” as well as blue, pink and purple.
Candles by The Little Market
Lauren Conrad has come a long way since her days on The Hills. The former reality star has since turned her attention to building a lifestyle empire, which includes philanthropy-based initiative The Little Market. The boutique’s custom hand-poured candle comes in an array of scents including Birthday Cake and Champagne ($47) and helps support dignified income opportunities and essential resources for underserved artisan groups around the world.
Sleep Robe by Flax
The coziest robe ever. Vancouver’s own Flax Sleep made these luxe 100% linen robes ($98) out of the same material as their to-die-for bed sheets. You can feel extra good about this one, as partial proceeds go to the Atira Women’s Resource Society, a not-for-profit organization working to end violence against women. Available in grey, navy or rose.
Charity Advent Calendar by 24 Good Deeds
Count down to Christmas and give back at the same time. The 24 Good Deeds Charity Advent calendar allows the giver to support 24 different charities in Canada (or globally) for as little as $24. Canadian Charities participating in 2020 include Breakfast Club of Canada, Dare to Care, Sarvac, Wilderness International, Spirit North, Second Harvest, Hope Air, Heart & Stroke Foundation, Indspire, Dog Guides Canada, and Sick Kids Foundation.
Slipper Socks by Province of Canada
Nothing says winter cozy like a pair of slipper socks! Grab a cup of hot cocoa and sit by the fireplace in this pair by Province of Canada ($24). Made in Canada, the neutral-coloured socks are a blend of wool (85%) and nylon (15%). For every pair purchased, Province of Canada donates a pair to a Canadian homeless shelter. The company started their “Buy a Sock, Give a Sock” program after learning that socks are the least-donated item to Canada’s homeless — but the most needed.
Rainbow Necklace by Birks
You can never go wrong with fine jewellery — and this rainbow necklace is guaranteed to add a bright spot to anyone’s day. Birks is donating 30% of proceeds from the “Rosée Du Matin – Ça Va Bien Aller” bar necklace ($650) to the Canadian Red Cross. The item is also part of the “Ça Va Bien Aller” (translating to “it’s going to be okay”) movement in Quebec, which aims to lift spirits and provide hope during the COVID-19 pandemic. Made from 18K white gold with various gemstones.
Minnie Mouse Toque by Love Your Melon
Any Disney fan will love this toque! Love Your Melon partnered with the studio for this adorable collaboration inspired by the one-and-only Minnie Mouse. The toque — which includes two detachable poms á la Minnie’s ears — comes in burgundy, black, navy or white and blush ($87.50). Love Your Melon donates 50% of net profit from all sales to nonprofit organizations around the world that lead the fight against paediatric cancer.
Goats from Plan Canada
Yes, you read that right. Plan Canada describes a goat ($80) as the “most unique gift you’ll give this year” — but it’s one that can make a profound difference to families in Cameroon. Goat’s milk is not only a healthy source of protein, but it also helps financially: baby goats can be sold for an income (and pay for education) as well as help with farming initiatives.
Charity Pot by Lush
Lush is a staple. This cocoa-butter-based lotion is scented with of rosewood oil and ylang ylang, and best of all, it gives back too: with every purchase of the Charity Pot ($7.95 or $29.95), Lush donates 100% of proceeds to small grassroots organizations. All seven ingredients are also sourced from Sustainable Lush Fund projects aimed at supporting regenerative agriculture.
Hand-Dyed Totes from Happy Birthday Salon
Go grocery shopping in style with these hand-dyed totes available at Happy Birthday Salon ($25) that perfectly reflect their on-trend space. 100% of the profits from their sales go to I Dream Library, dedicated to 2SLGBTQQIA+ BIPOC representation in classrooms and libraries around the world, as well as connecting students, caregivers, educators & organizations with intersectional literature.
Life Lather Soap
You can never have enough soap, especially during a pandemic. Life Lather ($14) is a non-toxic, foaming, and all-natural hand soap made by K’pure Naturals — and they’re giving back, too. The company has partnered with BC Charity Acts For Water to help fund COVID-19 Emergency Health Kits to families and kids around the world.
Pandora’s UNICEF Charm
For the Pandora collector. The jewelry company launched the limited-edition “Our Blue Planet” charm for World Children’s Day ($75). The sterling-silver charm features blue enamel in the shape of different continents, opening up to reveal a heart inside. $20 from each sale goes to UNICEF.