Gift guide: Gifts that give back

We know that around Christmas, budgets can be tight, but it’s also a time when you want to give, host your friends and family and be involved in your community. One way you can make your budget stretch further is by picking products or community initiatives that not only tick off an item on your list but also give back at the same time.

War Child and The Body Shop partnership

Body shop logo |

War Child log |

Every year The Body Shop contributes to great community initiatives, and this holiday season is no different. The merchant has teamed up with War Child, a global charity for children affected by war and conflicts. By selecting specially marked products, you will be helping to educate children — approximately 7 cents donated from each product is enough for one lesson.

Dr. Samantha Nutt, founder and executive director of War Child, says, “In areas of conflict, getting a child back into school keeps them safe. Building their confidence, knowledge and skills opens the doors of opportunity.”

Lush Charity Pot

Lush charity pot |

With the harsh winter weather beating down on our skin, there’s no more-valued present than a little tub of moisturizer. Lush‘s Charity Pot guarantees “touchably soft” skin with the new formula of “ylang ylang and rosewood oils in a hydrating cocoa butter base.”

As the name suggests, there is a charitable side to this lotion. Lush says 100 per cent of the purchase price (not including taxes) will be donated to small, grassroots organizations involved in environmental conservation, animal welfare and human rights. Sizes range from 50- to 240-gram pots, from $7 to $26.

Get ahead of the holiday rush

The Enchanted Holiday program from AirWick®

AirWick Candle

Every good host knows the key to a successful Christmas party is creating the right ambience. Add to the warmth of your home with one of the seasonal candles from AirWick®, in tempting scents like Mrs. Claus’ Apple Pie. The best bit is that as part of the holiday range, AirWick® is running a campaign in which AirWick® will donate $1 to the charity Habitat for Humanity with every photo of a Christmas treat tagged with #EnchantWithAirWick.

Tim Hortons partnership coffee

Tim Horton's partnership coffee |

There’s nothing like waking up to the delicious aroma of coffee on a winter’s morning, and this year, add some charity to that daily ritual. The next time you go to get your cup of joe from Tim Hortons, pick up a packet of the Tim Hortons Partnership Blend coffee ($8) — $1 from every sale will go toward the partnership program that supports small coffee farmers and encourages long-term sustainability.

World Vision Canada gift catalogue

World Vision Canada gift catalogue |

Sometimes you can’t beat going straight to a source. So why not have a little look at World Vision Canada‘s gift catalogue? It has many wonderful handcrafted gifts that have been made through community projects from around the globe. Gift ideas range from the Fair Trade Coffee Set from Peru and Bolivia (packaged in gift bags sewn by local women) through to scarves, bags or Maasai beaded bracelets.

Homemade edible Christmas gifts

Buy a ball. Give a ball.

Spalding gift campaign

If you have a sports fanatic on your gift list, this charitable idea will be perfect. For every Spalding basketball purchased in-store at Sport Chek or on their website, from November 21-December 24, the NBA and Spalding will donate a basketball to Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities.

Zehrs food drive

Zehrs logo |

There’s no doubt you’ll be stocking up on groceries for your big Christmas dinner and other social events that come with the holiday season. While you’re feeding your family, you can also feed the community by donating edible goods to Zehrs‘ Extra Helping National Food Drive. Sometimes the store also has specially marked food products that offer a “paying it forward” deal from the sale profits.

Macy’s Believe campaign

Macys logo |

Make a wish |

Chances are you’re going to hit up a big department store and try to knock off your gift list in one location. Maybe this year you could make that Macy’s, and write Santa a letter while you’re at it?

Once again, Macy’s is running its Believe campaign in partnership with big Saint Nick. For every letter that is written and mailed to Santa via Macy’s special in-store mailbox, it will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish foundation. Obviously this is a great chance to get your kids involved in charity giving.

Getting hands-on

If the above options still don’t speak true to your heart, then maybe volunteering your time is a way to give back. Donate your time (and even get your family involved) to any of the following activities:

  • Helping in community kitchens
  • Nominating yourself to be charity collector (for example, in shopping centres)
  • Creating care packages for soldiers serving overseas
  • Spending time at aged care homes
  • Assisting at local schools or churches
  • Collecting food or volunteering time at animal shelters

More great holiday ideas

Host a holiday open house
DIY Advent calendar
Surviving Christmas with a dysfunctional family


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