The act of giving a gift can spread goodwill far beyond the recipient. With more companies embracing socially aware principles, today's conscious consumer can buy gifts that give back to the craftspeople and farmers who created them, to the natural environment that produced the raw materials or to a program that benefits underdeveloped economies or underserved communities.
House of Marley Liberate XLBT headphones
When you need to peace out, a set of over-ear headphones can help. House of Marley's Liberate XL headphones combine high-quality audio with walnut and birch wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to be responsibly harvested; a fabric cover made from hemp, organic cotton and recycled plastic bottles; and recycled plastic fittings. A portion of proceeds goes to support 1Love, a nonprofit organization established by the family of reggae artist Bob Marley to work for a sustainable planet, help youth and fund charities. $129.99 for XL; $179.99 for Bluetooth XLBT at TheHouseofMarley.com.
This fall, Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge are widening distribution of their Beekman 1802 products in a new deal with 1,700 Target stores. Their 48-item Beekman 1802 Farm Pantry products are partly sourced from small farms, and through their Mortgage Lifter Program, they donate a percentage of profits to small American farms. Put together your own gift basket with their mustards, salsas, pasta sauces and more. $3.99 to $7.99 in Target stores and at target.com . Throw in the "Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook" for $19.50, also at Target.
Try the World
Spreading awareness of other cultures through food, Try the World subscription gift boxes aim to preserve culture and support small, family-owned businesses around the globe by offering their often-organic products to the American market, sometimes for the first time. Boxes include a culture guide that lists the story behind each product, recipes and links to music playlists. $33 to $39 per box at TrytheWorld.com.
Whole Foods Market
Nonprofit the Blessing Basket Project buys artisanal products in developing countries, paying significantly more than fair trade wages to establish an entrepreneurial culture. A holiday batik collection of scarves and totes is handmade by Indonesian artisans on hand-loomed cotton. $30 at Los Angeles Whole Foods Markets.
Celebrity tattoo artist Scott Campbell sketched 52 original designs on playing cards to accompany a bottle of the Saved red wine he produces with winemaker Clay Brock in a special holiday set. All proceeds will be donated to Urban Arts, which expands access to arts education for underserved children in New York and Los Angeles. $100 at expressionsofthevine.com.
Actress Sophia Bush curated the Sseko Designs Safari Package holiday gift set of accessories produced in Uganda, with proceeds going to help young women attend college. Sseko hires women before they enter university so they can earn money for their educations, then matches 100% of their savings with a college scholarship. The set includes a pair of ribbon sandals with interchangeable black cotton straps, three brass Sole Sister bangles, inspirational cards and an African-print gift bag. $99.99 at ssekodesigns.com.
You buy a watch; they plant a tree. Made from recycled, scrap and sustainable materials, WeWood watches were conceived as a way to reduce environmental harm and restore resources. Rooted in Los Angeles, the company aims to plant 1 million trees by 2020. New styles feature designs printed on the wooden watchbands. $120 and up at we-wood.us.
The Giving Keys
You're helping people transition out of homelessness when you buy one of the Giving Keys. Founded by actress-singer Caitlin Crosby, the jewelry line repurposes old keys by engraving them with encouraging words. The company partners with the nonprofit Chrysalis organization to provide employment as a path to self sufficiency. The Dainty Infinity necklace features a tiny key embossed with a choice of encouraging words. $50 at TheGivingKeys.com.
Inspired Natives Project by Eighth Generation
Eighth Generation is the first Native American-owned company to mass market 100% wool or cotton blankets featuring authentic designs from Native American artists. Eighth Generation's Inspired Natives Project is a business and an educational initiative that selects artist-entrepreneurs to expand Eighth Generation product offerings, while helping those selected build their business knowledge. Five percent of net profits from blanket sales are donated to the Inspired Natives Grant. Blankets are $68 to $190 at eighthgeneration.com.
Lucky Iron Fish
With the motto "a fish in every pot," the Lucky Iron Fish is both a cute cast-iron fish and a social enterprise that aims to reduce iron deficiencies in Cambodia, with plans to expand to countries around the world. Cooking with the fish can provide nearly all of a family's daily iron needs. For every $25 fish you purchase for yourself or as a gift, the company will donate one to a family; $35 buys a school of five fish, all designated for donation. At luckyironfish.com.
Enrou is a relatively new shopping site that taps into the growing interest in shopping for social good. It sells clothing, home goods and accessories that are made by people and companies committed to worker health and the environment. Among the products is a candle that comes in three scents, weighs 51/2 ounces and can burn for 28 hours. $32. enrou.co/products/vietas-bowl-candle