This time of year we are so focused on finding the perfect gifts for people we know, we tend to forget about those we don't. Giving to others less fortunate, or to causes that benefit animals and the environment, is a great way to celebrate the season as well. You are celebrating your own personal successes by giving back.
There are a lot of great organizations that can help you do this, some of which you are already familiar with. Here are ten good ones to take note of.
ALEX and ANI
Alex and Ani is an American jewellery company that helps change lives by supporting non-profit organizations around the world. They pride themselves on creating meaningful gifts with signs and symbols. One such creation is their "When Life Gives You Lemons" bracelet which, when purchased gives 20% to Alex's Lemonade Stand to fund pediatric cancer research. Alex and Ani jewellery can be found at Hudson's Bay stores and online.
Kiehl's skincare has a complete 4-piece skincare set that, when purchased, gives back by providing one million meals to families in need over the holidays. This American company prides itself on spending up to five times more time on their upscale natural products, pricing their products at less than market value, and training staff in intensive four-week residency programs on the chemistry, use, and application of their products. Getting more bang for your buck and helping families in need is definitely a win-win during the holiday season. Kiehl's stores can be found in better shopping centres across Canada and the US.
Lush is known for their ethically sourced organic ingredients, particularly cocoa butter, and their fair trade practices with respect to the Farmer Trust program in eastern Congo. The Farmer Trust program is instrumental in revitalizing the struggling cocoa industry in the Congo by educating farmers on how to produce cocoa that meets global standards and interests international buyers like Lush Cosmetics. Cocoa butter from the eastern Congo region is now a high quality product thanks to these efforts. Lush stores can be found in shopping centres all across Canada.
MEC's "United by Blue" campaign supports the removal of trash from oceans and waterways. For every product purchased they remove one pound of trash which, to date, has removed close to 1.5 million pounds of trash from the ocean. MEC is a trendy clothing brand that has locations in major shopping centres and big box outlets, and can also be found in Hudson's Bay.
Nonie is a ready-to-wear ethical clothing brand based in Calgary founded by Nina Kharey. This year she has partnered with the Telus#EndBullying Campaign to create a t-shirt that promotes love and freedom. Proceeds go to the Telus Friendly Future Foundation that creates safer, more friendly online environments. Her collections and the t-shirt can be ordered online at houseofnonie.com.
Pandora's "Charms for Change" campaign supports UNICEF's program that educates and empowers children around the world. All profits from this limited edition collection go to UNICEF. Pandora jewellery stores can be found in better shopping centres across Canada.
Purdy's is a Canadian chocolate company that supports sustainable farming by working with partner organizations that donate to clean water and healthy living projects in communities where their cocoa is sourced. Giving back to these communities is paramount to their success. Purdy's stores can be found in shopping centres in most major cities across Canada.
THE BODY SHOP
Body Shop Holiday Gift Collections continue to support their efforts at reforestation and the protection of endangered species, particularly in Armenia and England where they seek to protect ten million square metres of forest and re-introduce wild species. The Body Shop has also been instrumental in banning animal testing in cosmetic products by gathering over 8 million signatures in a petition that has made it's way to the United Nations. They use fair trade practices to source ingredients from Ethiopia and Ecuador. A cult favorite, feel-good brand that keeps on giving from year to year.
Tom's is well known for it's casual shoe line but is also big on philanthropy. It matches every shoe purchase with a pair of new shoes for a needy child. This applies to purchases of coffee and eyeware as well. If you are in need of a pair of affordable, comfortable shoes this is a great company to purchase them from. Tom's shoes can be found in Journey stores and most department stores across Canada.
Staying at a Westin hotel can actually benefit children in need. Bed linens from this hotel are collected and re-weaved into pajamas by the Clean the World and Delivering Good organizations. Purchasing a pair of these pajamas helps the Westin improve the well-being of the world and supports the brand's efforts to give every child the opportunity to succeed in life physically and mentally by establishing healthy sleep habits. The pajamas are donated to children in need worldwide whose circumstances result in the loss of sleep.
Feel-good gifts are always a win-win. They're affordable for you and help so many people. Plus the more you purchase, the greater the impact. That feel-good factor multiplies exponentially!