Gift giving is essential during this time of year. Whether it's for a random gift for your family's get together or Secret Santa with your besties, it sometimes just feels like you're constantly buying this time of year and the amount of people you need to shop for may never run out! So instead of mindlessly spending a ton of your money on just material things, why not flip it so the material things you may have to buy gives back to causes that benefits others. Gifts that give back just adds to your enjoyment of the holiday season because you're choosing causes you may hold dear while also giving your mom or brother a bomb-ass gift under the tree.
Unfortunately, there are tons of people who don't have the basic necessities, let alone room in their lives for gifts. They may not have food or clean water this Christmas, or may be suffering health-wise, and while we're worrying about what gift won't clash with our grandma's hair color, they're worrying about their wellbeing. During the season of giving, you should try and give back in more ways than just the physical, and when you do give actual gifts, trying to keep it to beneficial causes is the best way to ring in the holidays.
1Help break the stigma surrounding mental illness
Actor and one of the stars of Supergirl, Chris Wood, started his mental health campaign back in October and it has taken off. The "I Don't Mind" campaign strives to open the door for discussion on mental illness and to break the stigma surrounding things like depression, anxiety, OCD and more. So far, Wood's efforts have raised over $115,000 benefiting NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) and their new sweatshirt will not only keep you warm (and stylish as hell), but 100 percent of every crewneck sold will help this amazing initiative expand and "normalize the conversation about mental health." With one in five adults in America having a mental illness, this very well may help someone you love as well.
2Give a gift that benefits survivors of sexual exploitation
The topic of sexual harassment has been well-talked about recently, as it should be due to the disparities a lot of people face every day at the hands of men and women in power. The company My Sister is fighting to make a difference on that front, with a focus on those affected by sex trafficking and sexual exploitation.
Not only are these made in the USA and not in a sweatshop, your purchase gives funds toward after-care programs and provides for those affected to get back on their feet. These shirts make a bold statement, but it gets the conversation started and makes a difference while you're at it.
3Benefit a company that helps living conditions abroad
TOMS made a name for themselves by giving a pair of shoes for every pair you buy; this was honestly my gateway into the notion of conscious buying. And what's great is they've now expanded to more than just shoes.
Depending which product you buy, you can also donate to improving eyesight services, clean water initiatives, birthing care centers and anti-bullying programs around the world. Wild what one swipe of your card can do, huh?
4Help promote clean, renewable energy
Everyone's favorite green Avenger is working towards sustainable living with this badass t-shirt. Represent is a place where celebs often put out apparel items to benefit their particular causes and this one is just as fabulous (you can search the site for a cause you want to endorse as well!). The Solutions Project, the organization receiving 100 percent of the proceeds from the shirt sale, works toward getting clean energy everywhere, which will benefit everyone in the long run.
5Pick your cause, while also being on time
If you have a watch fanatic on your gift list (everyone usually does), then Flex is where you need to buy your next present. The company sells trendy watches that are super affordable and that donate to over 10 different causes. Each one either has a theme to wherever the donation is going (the Animal Rescue one has dogs on it and the Clean Water one is blue) and you can even choose from their new line of "Pick Your Cause" and you can pick a cute design and choose from a list of five causes. How timely indeed.
6Donate to local food pantries while wearing your fave's face
The company BoxLunch has a huge variety of pop culture merch, ranging from classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer to more relevant movies like Star Wars and Rick and Morty. And for every $10 you spend, they donate a meal to a local food pantry through the organization Feeding America. So far they've donated over 11 million meals and that, my friends, is pretty tasty.
7Give to literacy programs
If you have a bibliophile on your list, make sure to hit up Out of Print. Their super cute designs and products will make any book worm fall in love instantly and their offerings range from Harry Potter to Edgar Allen Poe. Plus, the purchases benefit literacy programs and book donations to those in need.
8Buy to provide free school supplies to kids in need
As you most likely know, there are many children right here in America who don't have the means to get the proper school supplies they need to succeed. Yoobi, which sells its products at Target, wants to change that. This year, they want to benefit 1 million children, and buying some cute notebooks from their holiday collection will definitely help them reach that goal. Helping children learn while also checking someone off your (hopefully) Nice List? Literally all you can ask for this holiday season.