'Tis the Season to Give - Gifts That Give Back
I think we’ve all heard the old adage, “Tis better to give than to receive” and as I get older, I find that’s becoming more and more true (this coming from someone who definitely loves to receive gifts as well….pretty sure its a love language of mine). But I find that when I give, I just feel better…..more joyful, more content, more excited and less wrapped up in myself. And that’s why I feel so privileged when I get the opportunity to work with brands that give back and do good….because there’s very little that’s less valuable that spreading kindness, doing good and trying to make someone’s day.
And if you ask me, there’s really no better time to do that than during the Christmas season. It is the season of giving after all.
In the past, I’ve actually never done a holiday gift guide and I’ll be honest, sometimes the stress of holiday shopping gets to me. But this year, I decided to do just one gift guide all about great gifts that give back. And not only do I think these brands and gifts are super cute, they embody the whole spirit of the season!
Canned Goods - I can’t say enough wonderful things about this local, Denver-based brand! Not only do they create gorgeous jewelry from recycled tin cans (that they call “tin-can glam” and it truly is!), but for every piece purchased, they donate a can of food to those in need. And their back-story is also so cool! You can read all about the very first pair of tin-can glam that Thomas ever created, and how his company got it’s start, right here. I think a pair of Canned Good’s earrings or a cuff bracelet would be a perfect romantic gift for a wife or girlfriend (I mean you can’t go wrong with jewelry right? Hint hint to the hubby…) or even for your mom, grandma or mother-in law…..maybe that’ll get you on her good side!
DIFF Eyewear - I am a bit of a sunglasses fanatic (cue the cabinet with 50 pairs that is the bane of my husband’s existence), but my current faves are my DIFF Penny shades, as much for the fact that for every pair of sunglasses purchased DIFF donates a pair of reading glasses to someone who needs them, as the fact that the shades themselves are so pretty, high-quality and (at $85) won’t break the bank. I think a pair of DIFF sunnies would make the perfect stocking-stuffer for a spouse or gift for your best friend, brother, sister-in-law or really anyone who has a sunglasses-obsession (yes, like yours truly).
Lily & Laura - Three words: Favorite bracelets ever. I have been wearing my hand-beaded L&L bracelets literally every day since I got my first stack a few years ago on a mountain getaway. Since then, I’ve amassed more than 30 of them and I literally wear them with EVERYTHING (from workout clothes to date night outfits to evening wear). They are so comfy to wear (they roll on over any hand), add a little pizzazz and sparkle to any look (casual or dressy) and I get so many compliments on them! But the best part is that they are designed and handmade by Nepalese women who are learning job skills and how to support themselves and their families. Lily & Laura’s business focus is to pay more than fair trade wages to their artisans in Nepal, thereby greatly improving the quality of their lives. (You can read their story here.) There are so many colors and designs to choose from and I think these bracelets would make awesome stocking-stuffers for a wife,/daughter/mom or a gift for any of your girlfriends.
Seeds Jewelry - This Minnesota-based jewelry brand is run by mother-daughter duo, Sonja and Shelbi and they design and create lovely artisan jewelry with the help of women in Haiti. Sonja has been making jewelry since 2001, but Seeds was born after Sonja and her daughter Shelbi traveled to Haiti just two years after it was devastated by an earthquake that left millions jobless. They began leading trips there to lead seminars in the art of jewelry-making through a local nonprofit and they continue to teach Haitian women jewelry-making skills and offer them employment. You can read more about their story here. I love that their designs are artistic and bohemian and I especially love their seed pearl bracelets. You can visit their site above and also see a list of retailers that carry their pieces here.
ABLE - Able is an amazing brand that produces gorgeous leather goods, handmade jewelry, denim, clothing and footwear (I have two of their leather bags and love them!) But more importantly, ABLE is doing so much good and helping to end the cycle of generational poverty in Ethiopia as well as other countries (including Mexico and Peru) by employing and empowering women who are at high risk of prostitution and sex-trafficking and giving them job skills and employment. Also, because transparency and authenticity are so important to them, ABLE has recently begun publishing its wages because they want people to know the true impact of their purchases. I love their mission as well as their goods and think an ABLE leather bag or pair of shoes would make an amazing holiday gift for pretty much any woman in your life (because don’t most of us like shoes or handbags and giving back?)
Sudara - How many women do you know who live in leggings, joggers or athleisure wear?? For me it’s most (including myself)….I think it’s a testament to the draw of comfy clothes. We all just want to be comfortable, especially when running errands or lounging at home. For that, Sudara has you (or that wife, girlfriend, best friend, mom, etc) covered! Sudara makes super cute lounge pants, joggers, pjs and robes that would make a great a holiday gift for the comfy-loving lady in your life. My faves are their Punjammies pants and joggers. But even better than how comfy and cute their clothing is, is the mission behind it. Sudara works with women in India, teaching them how to sew and giving them employable job skills in order to keep them out of sex-slavery and offering them freedom and living wage employment. You can read their full story here. They are making such a difference and impact in these women’s lives and I love the idea of supporting them this holiday season!
Wooden Ships Knits - I was recently given the opportunity to collaborate with this awesome knitwear brand and I could not be more impressed with them, their products or their company in general. Not only do they make THE SOFTEST, coziest sweaters, they do it using a lean, no-waste production model, which means that rather than carrying inventory, they make each piece to order. Not only that, they are family-owned and run, and they make sure that their factory in Bali employs fair and ethical production practices. And because they own and operate the factory, they go beyond fair wages and conditions by providing employees with extensive training as well as opportunities for growth. They believe in investing time in each worker to provide them with new skills. You can read all about their story and their mission here. I absolutely love their sweaters (you can see a couple of their holiday sweaters below) and I think they would make an amazing (and ultra-cozy) gift for any girl!
Zane’s Parade - If you follow me on Instagram and have watched my stories this fall, you’ve probably seen me mention the Zane Beadles Parade Foundation once or twice! I recently had the extreme privilege of partnering with them to not only help promote their Parade Partner’s Card, but also to volunteer with them at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children and Brent’s Place. And I feel so honored to have had the chance to do so (and am excited to continue!)! If you’re not aware of what the ZBPF does, it was founded by former Denver Bronco Zane Beadles and they help families going through life-threatening medical illnesses by offering financial aid as well as fun experiences and opportunities. You can read more about them and their mission here. And while they don’t produce goods to purchase, they do more good than you can imagine for these kids and bring so much joy to them and their families. You should see the surprise and excitement on their faces when they see the Zane’s cart at the hospital and get to choose toys and games from it, or indulge in a root-beer float or a pancake breakfast just for fun. And it’s donations that help make this possible. So if you’re looking for somewhere to donate this holiday season, you can check out all their donation and volunteer opportunities right here. The Zane’s Parade Holiday Extravaganza is coming up soon and it’s super easy to shop at AmazonSmile (linked on the ZBPF Donation page) which makes a donation to the ZBPF with each purchase.
I know there are so many other wonderful brands and organizations out there that also give back and do good and I wish I knew of all of them and could include them here! But the bottom line is that if you’re in the giving mood and want to help give even more, here are just a few of my fave do-good brands that offer awesome products, make great gifts and embody the giving mentality of this beautiful holiday season.
And if you have any favorite brands like this, I’d love to hear! Drop a comment and share!
XO and Merry Christmas (a little early),
PS. I have worked with all of these brands in the past and have done sponsored posts with them, but this post is not sponsored in any way and all brands included are ones I personally admire and all opinions expressed are 100% honest and my own.