Gifts That Give Back: 20 We Love


Who’s on your gift list? This year, spread the holiday spirit of giving beyond your family, friends and coworkers to people, animals and places in need. With these green gift ideas, your money can go towards preserving the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, bringing food to Darfur refugees, helping struggling artisans of Bangladesh, supporting pandas and much more.

Photobucket Sponsor a Wild Place in honor of a loved one through the Sierra Club. Here’s how it works: choose from 10 national parks, and your gift recipient will receive a stuffed animal, backpack and information about the habitat at risk. In return, every cent of the proceeds goes towards protecting the environment.


PhotobucketMade out of recycled materials and colored with soy-based inks, Mission: China is much more than just a trading card game that educates children about endangered species. Conservation International receives a percentage of the profit and puts this money towards protecting biodiversity.

PhotobucketKill three birds with one powerful present. With the Race for the Cure Tumbler, you can check a friend off your gift list and help her kick that bottled water habit. Plus, a quarter of the proceeds goes toward the fight against breast cancer.


PhotobucketWhen you buy this solar-powered BoGo flashlight for a friend or family member, your gift is more than just green. BoGo is a familiar term in the retail world, but, instead of getting something free, you will be giving one of these eco-friendly flashlights to somebody in need. Or, you can choose to donate it to a charitable organization of your choice.

PhotobucketThe aftermath of Cyclone Sidr continues to affect millions of people along the southwestern coast of Bangladesh, even two years after this devastating natural disaster. Purchasing this Handmade Coconut Leaf Journal is one way that you can help struggling artisans from this impoverished area get back on their feet.


PhotobucketKeep two pairs of feet cozy in eco-friendly style when you give a loved one a pair of TOMS vegan shoes because, for every pair purchased, one goes to a child in need.

PhotobucketWhen you give this Save Darfur Organic Cotton T-Shirt and Hat set to one of the passionate humanitarians in your life, Mercy Corps pledges to give 25 cups of food to the refugees of this war-torn region.


PhotobucketSimilar to Sponsor a Wild Place, Adopt a Species puts your money towards helping one of dozens of species in need. Depending on the donation, your gift recipient will get a stuffed animal, gift bag, gift box and information about the species and a color photo.

PhotobucketYour purchase of the Absolutely Alpaca Scarf, free of toxic chemicals and dyes, helps bring education and health care to Circle of the Sun artisans and their families in rural Bolivia.


PhotobucketWhen you buy one of Jimmy Belasco’s scented soy candles, $5 of the cost is donated to a charity of your choice.

PhotobucketNot only is this Asian Harmony Chime hand-crafted with care from sustainable resources like bamboo and river rocks, but your purchase of one also supports artisans from the Community Crafts Association in the Philippines.

Glass Rainforest Leaf Necklace at The Rainforest Site - Mozilla Firefox 14122009 100914

PhotobucketFor every Glass Rainforest Leaf Necklace you buy for gift recipients who love to accessorize, the La Cruz Habitat Protection Project will plant a tree in Mexico’s monarch butterfly forest.

PhotobucketShopping on a budget? The Arbor Day Foundation offers an inexpensive and meaningful gift that benefits the environment. For just $3, you can present a loved one with a spruce, redwood or pine tree, which comes in a recyclable tube that doubles as a birdfeeder once they plant it.


PhotobucketTreat a friend to a Lush Charity Pot of hand and body cream made from fair-trade cocoa butter, and all of the profit, minus taxes, goes toward the charity of their choice, which is featured on the lid to remind them of the good their gift has done.

PhotobucketWhen you purchase this hand-welded Let Freedom Ring Basket, your gift helps to support Noah’s Ark artisans in the impoverished community of Moradabad, India through fair wages and a safe work environment.

EnviroRogue Tote

PhotobucketStill pushing the idea of reusable shopping bags on your friends? By getting them a stylish EnviroVogue Recycled Plastic Tote, a donation is made to support the fight against breast cancer, the Maasai Association or the Kajiado Central District of Kenya. That should persuade them.

PhotobucketSupport artisans from Mai Vietnamese Handicrafts with your purchase of this Cinnamon Bark Tea Box, the perfect gift for friends who enjoy nothing more than a steaming cup of chamomile.


PhotobucketGive the gift of organic skincare with chemical-free soap, shower gel, face wash, lotion and more from Pangea Organics. The best part? They all come in recycled packaging that is inlaid with spruce seeds. All they have to do is soak it, plant it and wait two weeks for a spruce tree to emerge.

PhotobucketThe Bamboo Watch Project in Chiang Rai receives a donation for every Recycled Rice Bag Roll-Up Toiletry Bag sold, and these inexpensive green gifts make great stocking stuffers.


PhotobucketHelp the Pekerti Foundation provide rural artisans of Indonesia with scholarships, medical assistance, loans and emergency aid by purchasing these Handmade Lava Rock Tea Lights to garnish a bare tabletop in a loved one’s living room.

Images: HBuzacott, xekostore, BoGoLight, TOMS Shoes, World Wildlife Fund, the rainforest site, curbmantlegifts, LUSH USA, the rainforest site, Pangea Organics and Ten Thousand Villages.