Consumer IQ

10 Holiday Gifts That Give Back

charity

I recently covered 10 Holiday Gifts for $10 or Less, but since the season of giving is upon and and ’tis better to give than to receive, why not consider giving a gift that gives back, too?

As consumers reel from an uncertain economy, job losses, and natural disasters, it can be difficult to embrace the concept of holiday shopping when so many members of our communities and others around the world are struggling with basic, everyday needs.

There is a way to clear your conscious from the holiday shopping-induced guilt: Focus on giving gifts that give back. Not only will you feel good about supporting a cause you care about, but the recipient will appreciate the thoughtful and unique gesture. Not to mention the charity you select benefits as well.

And just so you know, giving back is actually good for you.

According to Naomi Eisenberger, a UCLA assistant professor of psychology, “When people talk about the ways in which social support is good for our health, they typically assume that the benefits of social support come from the support we receive from others, but it now seems likely that some of the health benefits of social support actually come from the support we provide to others.”

Imagine if every gift on your holiday shopping list also gave back to a charity. That sure would result in a lot of feel-good feelings floating around — talk about embracing the holiday spirit!

If you are ready to make your dollars count and spread some extra holiday cheer, here are 10 holiday gifts that give back:

Endangered Animals

WWF Species Adoption – $50 to $250

Give a gift that will help protect the future of nature. Your symbolic adoption supports WWF’s global efforts to protect wild animals and their habitats.

Military Families

ONEHOPE Wine - $18.99 (for the Zinfandel for military families)

ONEHOPE Wine donates an astounding 50% of its profits to partner charities benefiting a variety of causes. Their Zinfandel is paired with helping families of fallen troops attend Snowball Express to enhance the quality of life for post 9/11 service members.

Disaster Victims

Emergency Shelter from the American Red Cross – $50

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, this gift is the perfect way to honor those affected by the storm.

Disaster victims often have to leave their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Just $50 gift provides urgently needed essentials for one disaster victim, including three meals, two blankets, one cot and personal supplies.

Crimes Against Women

PUNJAMMIES™ - $10

PUNJAMMIES™ are created in after-care facilities for women who have been rescued, released or escaped from a life of forced prostitution. Every pair tells the story of a woman who was, once, voiceless.

When you buy PUNJAMMIES, you are key part of her path out of modern-day slavery and into a life of hope, dignity and freedom. Wear PUNJAMMIES. Wear hope.

Families in Need

2 Chickens from World Vision – $25

Your gift of chickens will naturally multiply to impact generations of children. Each family that receives chickens can sell the offspring for extra income or share them with other families in need.

Chicks require little money, space, or food to thrive and grow — making them an ideal business venture for a single mom or vulnerable family.

Humankind

Intentional Chocolate Small Gift Box – $45

Intentional Chocolate is infused with spiritual energy by meditators who trained with the Dalai Lama. The effect of eating this chocolate has been said to promote health and well being. Whether or not you support this concept of intention-enhanced food, some studies do suggest consuming any kind of chocolate has a positive effect on mood and energy.

But perhaps the best feel-good aspect of this treat lies in the fact that 50% of the profits go to organizations that benefit humankind.

HIV

Same Sky Fabric Wraps – $40

SAME SKY is a jewelry company that provides employment to HIV-positive women in Africa struggling to lift themselves out of poverty. Empowered as artisans, they’re proudly rebuilding their lives. Each stunning bracelet represents one woman’s fight for survival and prosperity.

Animal Abuse

Max the Shelter Dog – $13.95

Max the Shelter Dog is a children’s picture book about the life of one lonely pit bull in an animal shelter. This book is designed to help children learn the importance of compassion towards animals.

A portion of the proceeds of the book go to charities that increase awareness for pit bulls, one of the most misunderstood dog breeds.

Clean Water

Cuyana iPad Case – $65

More than one billion people don’t have access to safe drinking water. Access to clean water could save the millions of lives lost from water-borne diseases, billions of hours spent mainly by women and children searching for clean water, increase school attendance, and dramatically improve local economies.

Cuyana donates a percentage of their profits to charity:water, a leading non-profit that is doing an incredible job at creating and implementing clean water solutions around the world.

Dental Care

Bogobrush - $10

I mentioned this company in my last gift guide, but the concept and design is so cool that I had to include it here, too.

Not only will you look good while brushing those pearly whites, but this ultra sleek, biodegradable toothbrush gives back, too. When you order a Bogobrush, the same toothbrush is sent to one of the more than 80 million of Americans without access to adequate dental care.

Child Hunger

Finally, if these 10 gifts don’t appeal to anyone on your list this year, consider doing your online holiday shopping from a site like Save1.com.

The site offers coupons and special deals from thousands of the top online stores in America.

When you buy something from any of these stores using one of their coupons or special offers, your purchase will provide a meal to a hungry child. Save money and fight child hunger.

Morgan is a freelance writer and blogger living in Southern California with her two daughters and flock of backyard chickens. You can read more of her at The Little Hen House