From Calisa Hildebrand, San Francisco
"Meditation and mindfulness are incredibly important to me - especially for activists and those involved in social change movements. You must take care of yourself before you can effectively take care of others. Sharing the gift of mindfulness is a great way to encourage those you love to start the New Year present, grounded, and renewed."
From Jessie Spielvogel, DC
"I grew up playing in the water - I have been scuba diving since I was 11 years old with my dad, and it breaks my heart to see what is happening to the world's oceans. I love this gift because it is symbolic of the need to save and protect our planet, and the company plays a real role in helping to get rid of ocean plastic."
From Emma Cummings-Krueger, DC
"I volunteered with this organization while I was living in India – it's run by a Seattle family who relocated to rehabilitate injured street animals (India has among the most in the world). Some of the animals (mostly dogs) are too maimed to be released after treatment, so the shelter houses them permanently. Buying an animal "sponsorship" covers the lifetime costs of the animal's care. I've sponsored 3 dogs over the years and you get a cute pic/certificate of them loving life in the shelter!"
From Valarie De La Garza, Los Angeles
"For 30 years Homeboy Industries has improved the lives of former gang members across Los Angeles through their motto 'Jobs not Jails.' They offer employment, skill-building and support services to thousands of men and women seeking to transform their lives. The organization was established by Father Gregory Boyle who had the vision of changing lives through providing skills and radical and unconditional kindness. The products -- handmade baked goods -- are proudly made by the homies through the Homegirl Cafe."
Price: $24.00 - $99.00
From Michelle Hunsberger, Seattle
"Spending time outdoors is one of my family's favorite activities. This shirt from Patagonia allows you to protect yourself and the planet while you do it. Practical to use on trails or on the water, the shirt provides 50+ UPF sun protection, is made from 50–100% recycled content, and is Fair Trade Certified™ sewn."
"Cookies always play a prominent role in my family's Christmas celebrations. Every year we have a few returning favorites and try out something new. The best part is spending the time together making them and sharing the rewards fresh out of the oven. My favorite are cranberry oatmeal with a citrus drizzle!"
From Alyssa Singer, San Francisco
"I have a tradition of buying IRC gifts for my mom and grandmother every year. We all have so much "stuff," and especially the older we get, the more it seems like we are working on getting rid of things rather than accumulating them. IRC provides education, health services, and more to people in conflict and disaster regions all over the world, and to refugees in the United States. I know the money we give to that organization will go to families who really need our support! My favorite gift is 'A Year of School for a Girl,' it's perfect for the influential and caring women in your life."
From Courtney Knysch, New York
"Falalala -TOYS-laaa! It’s our favorite time of year! Foster the Laughs is gearing up to SHOP TILL WE DROP for Foster Kids!! Tis the Season & our end of year FUNNNdraiser is here! Our 501c3 nonprofit, Foster the Laughs, enables you to make a big difference in a child's life. Your #TaxDeductible donation can provide a new laptop, books, sports equipment, and toys for a child in need during the holidays"
From Tunan Pan, San Francisco
"The cost of sponsorship/adoption goes towards helping animals in need (whether homeless or endangered, depending what org you go with), and you can usually get updates/photos/a stuffed toy to represent the animal. I like this as a gift for younger people (and animal lovers of all ages), as it's a cute way to get them to relate/understand/connect with the cause."
From Trish Garrity, DC
"Bigger Than Beads is a small social enterprise that sells handmade paper jewerly from a cooperative of 90 Ugandan women. The funds from jewelry sales go directly to the women at a fair buying rate and the net funds from products sold online fund the HELP Primary School and clinic in Masese, a small refugee community in Eastern Uganda, where all 90 women live. These pieces are not only stunning but are a way to help some of the most resilient women achieve financial independence."
Price: Up to $50.00