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Kick off the Holidays with Gifts that Give Back

gifts that give back

The holiday shopping season has officially arrived. Why not take a step further with your gift giving this season?

For many millennials, the holidays seem to bring a balanced mix of excitement and anxiety. Something about this time of year seems to awake our inner child, but our tight budgets also add a certain level of stress.

A study by the Bank of Montreal found Canadians anticipate spending an average of $1,517 on Christmas this season, over $400 of which will be spent on gifts.

It is all too easy to get caught up in the presents and celebrations. Our lists grow longer and our bank accounts smaller. And if we aren’t careful, we neglect the true meaning of Christmas – not in a religious sense, although there’s that too, but rather the spirit of giving back to people and communities in need.

Fortunately, some organizations have come up with excellent ways of crossing family and friends off your list while simultaneously giving back to some great causes. And the best part is you don’t have to break the bank to do so.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Hosting for Hope from HomeSense

HomeSense offers a range of products that would make excellent hosting or secret Santa gifts. With each purchase, you are helping women and children rebuild their lives after abuse. Proceeds are used to support local shelters and violence prevention programs in your community. You can find these gifts at your local HomeSense or Winners store.

2. Art Print from Sevenly

Here’s an original gift that would be great for friends or siblings. Sevenly donates 7 dollars for every item purchased. Every week, Sevenly focuses on a new campaign, working to fund and bring awareness to the world’s greatest causes.

3. Gift Basket from Steve’s PaleoGoods

Looking for something extra special to give to your boss or neighbour this year? Or perhaps you are looking for a gift to give the athlete in your family. When you buy a gift basket from Steve’s PaleoGoods, 15 percent of your purchase goes to support Steve’s Club National Program, which brings Cross-Fit to at-risk youth.

4. Handmade Gifts from Me to We

By doing your holiday shopping at Me to We, you’re helping to end the cycle of poverty in developing countries. All products are designed with sustainability top of mind, using locally sourced materials, recycled paper and packaging and organic cotton. You can sort gifts by price, and find something that fits your budget.

5. Winter Hats from Krochet Kids

Here’s a gift to fit anyone on your list. We all need a hat to keep us warm during the relentless Canadian winter. It’s even better when it supports communities in need. Krochet Kids works with highly vulnerable women who live in poverty-stricken regions of the world. The organization provides jobs, education and mentorship to the women of Northern Uganda and Peru to help them build the skills they need to lift their families out of poverty.

6. Fair Trade Gifts from Ten Thousand Villages

By purchasing from the company’s 2014 Christmas collection, which includes ethically-sourced, fair trade Christmas decorations, jewellery, children’s toys and tableware, you are improving the livelihood of tens of thousands of disadvantaged artisans in 38 countries. Each item is carefully crafted by various artisan groups, helping them to earn a fair wage and live a quality lifestyle.


Do you have any other suggestions to add? Will you be buying gifts that truly make a difference this holiday season? Let us know in the comments below!


Charlotte Ottaway

Charlotte is Co-Founder and Managing Editor at The Reply. She is a writer, blogger and amateur photographer with interests in positivity, creative muse, generational differences and the future of work. She has written for Canadian Business, Zoomer Magazine, The Globe and Mail, The Huffington Post Canada and other Canadian publications. At her company, Web of Words, she helps solopreneurs and small business owners create real human connections online through blogging and social media. Better known by family and friends as Carly, she currently resides in Newmarket with her husband and dog-child. To learn more, check out her website at and follow her on Twitter @charlottaway.