Gifts That Give Something Back
The holidays are a busy time of year, especially for parents and Learning Coaches who are heavily invested in their children’s education. Learning Liftoff is here to save you time and provide you with ideas to make your holiday shopping easy and meaningful. Each of these companies offers gifts that give something back, often to the communities that create their products. It’s like giving two gifts in one.
For Book Lovers
Find gifts for the bibliophiles in your life from Out of Print. The Brooklyn-based company, which started by putting famous, recognizable book covers on t-shirts, has expanded to offering everything from tote bags and iPhone cases to socks and jewelry. In addition to spreading literary love, every product sold helps to fund literacy programs and book donations to communities in need
Something for Everyone
Toms’ One for One philosophy is carried out through their shoes, sunglasses, and coffee sales. For every pair of shoes sold, Toms gifts a pair to a child in need. Similarly, any Toms eye-wear purchase helps restore sight to an individual through sight-saving surgery, prescription glasses, or medical treatment. In addition, Toms’ coffee sales support water systems in the same countries that provide their coffee beans.
Plan Toys, headquartered in Thailand, was the first company in the world to manufacture wooden toys from preservative-free rubberwood. Their toys are chemical-free, embellished with nontoxic, water-based dyes and nontoxic glue, and are meant to encourage creative, educational play. Plan Toys is one of the leading companies in creating new materials and processes to minimize waste to zero and has numerous ongoing Corporate Social Responsibility Projects such as their children’s museum in Thailand and fundraising for children with special needs.
While Plan Toys is a great option for purchasing wooden toys that give something back, IKEA donates one dollar for every soft toy or book sold through their Soft Toys for Education program. The donation goes to Save the Children and UNICEF, and is spent on children’s educational projects.
Decorate the ladies in your life with handmade jewelry from 31Bits. When gifting jewelry and other 31Bits accessories, you enable the Ugandan and Balinese beneficiaries who made your product to provide for their families. They are also cared for holistically through counseling, health education, finance training, and business mentorships.
Shea Yeleen’s butters, soaps, and balms are inspired by nature and are free of toxins, bleach, and parabens. The best part? All of their shea butter is handmade by women in rural communities in West Africa who, in turn, are provided a living wage, skills training, and financial literacy.
The Citizentry believes that their household embellishments are only as interesting as the people who make them and only as beautiful as the environments they spring from. Each purchase from Citizenry supports fair wages, happy working environments, and a direct investment into artisan entrepreneurs. Ten percent of proceeds go directly back into artisan communities through Entrepreneur Development Grants. These grants help recipients take their crafts and their businesses to new places by providing tools and equipment, training and education, and workshop space.
Learning Liftoff wants to help you savor the holiday season. What traditions do you uphold that make this season special for your family?
Sarah Mills is a contributing writer for Learning Liftoff. She mentored and instructed kindergarten through high school-aged students throughout her college years and eventually went on to live and work in Yosemite National Park for a stint. Reading, writing, adventuring, and anything Harry Potter are some of Sarah’s favorite go-to activities.