8 Gift Ideas That Give Back This Holiday Season

Thoughtful presents from local purveyors for you, your loved ones and those in need.

During the holidays, we love to be pampered with presents—and find joy in giving special, over-the-top gifts to our nearest and dearest. But let’s not forget about those in need this time of year, too. Here’s a list of meaningful presents that will not only make your loved ones happy, they’ll also have a positive impact on someone’s life, our environment or elsewhere.

To aid in clean-water and education initiatives

Obakki is a Vancouver-based company that is adored by celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Hudson for its sophisticated womenswear. We like it even more because of its philanthropic counterpart: the Obakki Foundation, through which the sale of products like blankets, scarves and T-shirts provide clean water and education to those living in various regions in Africa. One hundred percent of net proceeds from Obakki’s printed silk scarf ($49) will go toward the St. Valentines Orphanage in Cameroon—the benefiting kids were even asked to share what makes them happy, sad and afraid, and their answers were printed on the scarf’s fabric. obakkifoundation.org

To champion human rights and animal welfare

Lush states that “charitable giving is at the heart of our business.” So it’s unsurprising that, in 2007, the U.K.–based cosmetics company created a body lotion—the Charity Pot ($8)—that benefits grassroots organizations working in favour of human rights, animal welfare and environmental preservation. The lotion is made from fresh ingredients like Fairtrade shea butter, olive oil and cocoa butter, all of which is sustainably sourced. lush.ca

To support single mothers

Vancouver’s own Blue Ruby Jewellery carries a collection of bead bracelets (from $20) which, through a collaboration with the Cause We Care Foundation, benefits vulnerable single mothers and their children in Metro Vancouver. The bling is crafted with aquamarine, moonstone or freshwater pearls, and complemented by golden Japanese Miyuki beads. blueruby.com

To give to classrooms in need

Yoobi, the U.S.–based stationery maker that gives back to kids with every school supply sold, launched in Canada this past July. Since then, the company has donated notebooks, writing utensils and other products to 30 schools, successfully supporting more than 8,500 children in in-need communities across the country. Through a partnership with the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation, a school supply will be given to a Canadian classroom for every Yoobi item—like this sweet palm frond–printed document organizer (on sale for $10.50)—purchased at Indigo. chapters.indigo.ca

To fight youth hunger

Sure, tomato sauce may not be the most exciting (or obvious) present, but your recipient will probably love the idea once they realize this particular jar from Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria helps fight youth hunger. The restaurant is offering its Campania Tomato Sauce ($8)—crafted from vine-ripened plum tomatoes, salt and nothing more—at all locations (including its Commercial Drive outpost) until December 31, and, for every jay purchased, Victoria-founded nonprofit Mealshare will provide a meal to hungry Canadians in need. famoso.ca

To protect endangered animals and their habitats

Purchase The Body Shop’s Body Butter Stars ($30) Christmas set—featuring five body-butter flavours (fruity, floral, creamy and nutty)—to support the retailer’s bio-bridges initiative, which helps protect animals and their habitats around the world. For every purchase made in November and December, the company will make a donation to their partners, The Woodland Trust and World Land Trust, two U.K.–based nonprofits that protect and rewild millions of acres of forest in England and Armenia. thebodyshop.com

To combat homelessness

Socks are one of the most in-demand items for the homeless and people in need. And because many shelters only accept brand-new stockings, Society Socks—a socially conscious biz—donates a fresh pair to a Canadian homelessness-combating charity whenever they sell one. Choose from Society’s wide range of printed socks ($15), including ones decorated with pineapples, bikes and colourful stripes. societysocks.com

To assist B.C.’s arts industry

When attending a holiday dinner or reunion, you can’t go wrong with bringing a bottle of wine for the host. To do double the good, look to Tinhorn Creek, which runs a charitable program that sees a percentage of its net income donated to arts-advocacy group Celebrate the Arts. You can’t really go wrong with any of Tinhorn’s bottles, but our pick is the 3L Oldfield Series Merlot 2013 ($250), which contains hints of cherries and berries—perfect for a merry toast. tinhorn.com

Looking for more gift ideas? Check out our 2018 holiday gift guide here.