Merry and Meaningful Gifts That Give Back

Say thank you to those you love with these unique presents

Say thank you to those you love with these unique presents

Looking for some additional warm fuzzies with your seasonal giving this year? We’ve rounded up 18 thoughtful presents that support charitable initiatives in Canada and around the world. 


1. Body Lotion Bar from LUSH, $2

The Charity Pot Coin from Lush nourishes and soothes dry skin with cocoa and shea butters along with olive, jojoba and moringa oils—plus it ditches all packaging. The full purchase price of this miniature body lotion bar is donated to grassroots organizations that uphold human rights, protect animals or fight for environmental justice, and the bar’s trio of designs reflect these three different areas of support. 


2. Sagoskatt Soft Toy Collection by IKEA, $4.99

Each year, kids around the world submit their designs, and IKEA chooses their faves to become the new Sagoskatt collection of soft toys. Ten-year-old Audrey from Saskatchewan drew Sandwich Friends, which she says combine the softness of peanut butter with the sweetness of jelly to make “a wonderful treat.” Other kids’ whimsical designs for 2021 include a mermaid-dog, blue cat, dodo bird and fried egg. The company donates all proceeds to local initiatives that support a child’s right to play.


3. Everyday Body Wash by Alaffia, $18.49

Mingling the appetizing scents of vanilla and spearmint, Shea Body Wash from Alaffia smells good enough to eat—but it’s for washing, not nibbling. Sales of the brand’s products support The Alaffia Foundation, which empowers African communities through fair trade, education, sustainable living and gender equality. 


4. Beeswax Wraps from BeeKind, $19.99

Anyone trying to cut down on single-use plastic wrap will appreciate a set of three beeswax wraps from Bee Kind. The wraps are handmade in Vancouver using cotton, Canadian beeswax, organic jojoba oil and pine tree resin. Naturally antimicrobial, beeswax keeps food fresher than plastic. And after one to two years of use, the wraps can be composted or used as a slow-burning campfire starter. For each set sold in the Wild print, Bee Kind donates $5 to the charity of your choice: David Suzuki Foundation, Surfrider Pacific Rim or Raven Trust. 


5. HBC Breast Cancer Research Foundation Scarf, $20

The soft and delicate HBC Breast Cancer Research Foundation Scarf will make the recipient look good and feel good at the same time. For each one sold, the HBC Foundation donates $12 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.


6. Healthy Snacks by Laid Back Snacks, $32 to $114

Laid Back Snacks is a subscription service that satisfies the munchies with delicious healthy snacks. Think chewy apple rings, sweet dried mangoes, crunchy cashews, spicy wasabi peas, and indulgent peanut butter and dark chocolate granola. Gift boxes contain five, 10 or 20 snacks, and they can be delivered either once or monthly for three months. For every box purchased, the Vancouver company donates a snack through their partnership with the Breakfast Club of Canada, which provides breakfasts to children across the country. 


7. Cause We Care collection Bracelet by Blue Ruby, $40 to $150

The chic bracelets in the new Blue Ruby x Cause We Care collection sparkle with freshwater pearls, gold-filled beads and bright crystals. Handcrafted in Vancouver, these beautiful bijous are perfect for either layering or wearing on their own. All proceeds go to the Cause We Care Foundation, which helps families led by single mothers in Metro Vancouver. Available in Blue Ruby stores or online at Hill’s Dry Goods.


8. Purpose-driven Games & Activities from The Good Challenge, $50

Each Challenge Pack from The Good Challenge contains 10 themed activities designed to encourage the recipient to try new things, leave their comfort zone and build community—all while raising funds for charity. Bons vivants will appreciate the food or wine editions, while lovebirds may prefer the couples or date-night versions. There are also editions for families, kids, friends and more. Each activity’s instructions are printed on a card that can be easily mailed to a new recipient once the challenge is completed. For every Challenge Pack sold, the company donates $10 to charities such as the Environmental Youth Alliance, Kids Help Phone and the Canadian Cancer Society. Bonus: When recipients submit proof of completing challenges, they get entered into monthly draws for prizes from Canadian brands. Available at The Good Challenge, $50.


9. Body Lotion by Kiehl’s, $56

The Holiday Foundation of Stars Limited Edition Creme de Corps from Kiehl’s whips together scented soy milk, honey body butter, cocoa butter, beta-carotene, squalane and other ultra-moisturizing ingredients, resulting in a decadent body lotion that leaves skin feeling soft but not greasy. The company donates 50 percent of proceeds to The Foundation of Stars, which helps fund research on childhood diseases.


10. Sweater by Treasure & Bond, $95

When the weather turns wintry, Treasure & Bond’s Oversize V-Neck Plaid Sweater keeps things comfy, cozy and cute. Nordstrom‘s in-house Treasure & Bond brand donates 2.5 percent of net sales to organizations such as Covenant House that serve youth who are experiencing homelessness. 


11. Utility Jacket from Tentree, $128

Perfect for layering on chilly days, the Flannel Organic Cotton Utility Jacket from Tentree uses bold plaid to add a retro touch to the timeless flannel shirt. Nordstrom has teamed up with the eco-friendly Vancouver brand to plant 50,000 trees—part of Tentree’s ambitious goal of planting 1 billion trees by 2030. 


12. Backpack from Cotopaxi, $134.95

Cotopaxi’s lightweight and durable 20-litre Tarak Daypack has a hydration sleeve, ice axe loops and external compression straps—but we won’t judge anyone who uses it only in the city. Social purpose is built right into Cotopaxi. A Certified B Corp, the company uses remnant, recycled and organic materials to make sustainable outdoor gear that’s designed to last, and they donate 1 percent of revenues to humanitarian organizations. Every backpack, satchel and duffel in their Del Día collection is crafted using fabric left over from other companies’ production runs, meaning each colourful creation keeps useful materials out of the landfill.


13 Pottery Bowl from Obakki, $145

Artisans in Akiliba, Uganda, make this large Rounded Earthenware Bowl and other textured pottery by hand from locally sourced clay. The artisans were unable to travel to larger markets in their area until they partnered with Obakki, a purpose-led Vancouver-based brand that focuses on sustainability, traceability and ethical production. Proceeds from the sale of this pottery are invested back into the Akiliba community.


14. Direction Rainbow Braided Bracelet, $202 (US)

The Direction Rainbow Braided Bracelet from Vancouver brand Pyrrha features a sterling silver talisman of a compass rose, to encourage the recipient find their direction and stay on the right path to their heart’s true desires. The cheerfully coloured, naturally dyed hemp can be adjusted to fit any wrist size. For each bracelet purchased, the company donates $100 to The Trevor Project, which focuses on preventing suicide in LGBTQ+ youth. (call 604-688-1834 to purchase in Canadian currency).


15. Lounge Pants by Truand Truand, $239

Truand Truand is a new made-in-Quebec brand that’s all about challenging the fashion industry’s gender norms and being inclusive. Their high-waisted Girl Gang Flare pants are perfect for lounging, at any time of year. Made from recycled polyester, the cute and comfy pants comes in sizes ranging from XS to 3XL, and 10 percent of all sales go to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, which helps women, girls and gender-diverse individuals move out of violence and poverty and into confidence and leadership.


16. Birks Bee Chic For A Cause Charity Bracelet by Maison Birks, from $100

Bee-lovers are all abuzz about the Birks Bee Chic For A Cause Charity Bracelet. Available in either yellow gold or silver on an adjustable black cord, this sweet bracelet features a honeycomb design, to remind us how bees are crucial in pollinating trees, flowers and food crops—and how climate change is endangering these petite pollinators. Proceeds go to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, which helps to protect this country’s lands, waters and wildlife. Available in yellow gold $450, silver $100.


17. North Star Necklace by David Yurman, $1,800

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, which means the North Star Necklace in 18K yellow gold with pavé diamonds from David Yurman is sure to be the lucky recipient’s sparkly new BFF. For each one sold, the company donates 20 percent of the purchase?price to the David Yurman x Robin Hood Foundation Unity Fund, which helps fight poverty in New York City. Other pieces in this charitable collection include rings and earrings. At David Yurman, $1,800.


18. Rhino Brooch by Tiffany & Co., $3,650

Anyone who’s wild about animals will also go wild for this 18K rose gold Rhino Brooch with round brilliant diamonds, part of the Save the Wild collection at Tiffany & Co. All proceeds go to the Wildlife Conservation Network to help protect endangered creatures in Africa. Also in this philanthropic collection: charms and brooches of elephants, rhinos and lions, in silver or rose gold.