Notable’s National Do Good Holiday Gift Guide

Having trouble buying for the person who has everything? Or is there someone on your list who’s never shown an interest in Beats by Dre?

Well, lucky you. Giving them a gift that gives back will not only make for a more meaningful holiday season, but in some cases you’ll also score a tax receipt. Not so with a multi-coloured scarf they may or may not wear. This is a no-brainer, friends.

Also, unlike that scarf, there’s always a gift to match whatever it is they care most about. So read on and get inspired.

The big guys like World Vision and OXFAM are doing the expected with their usual catalogue of international aid gifts, and we think they’re great. Food for the Hungry Canada, however, is taking it beyond the goat and the school supplies and will literally let you give a “pile of crap” in anyone’s name, which apparently is a highly practical gift for farmers in developing countries. Perfect for anyone who loves bathroom humour and/or agriculture… or a loved one who’s been very bad this year. It just might be the best $20 you’ve ever spent.

While the concept of “buy one, give one” a la TOMS has been going on for a few years, it’s seen its share of criticism. Though they’ve responded and modified their approach, their mistakes paved the way for some more aesthetically pleasing products to adopt the strategy. Warby Parker might be one of the coolest eyewear brands around right now, and their plan to use glasses as a brilliant tool for poverty alleviation might be even cooler. Take a look; we think you’ll like what you see… especially because they’re surprisingly affordable. Win-win-win.

These days, fans of David Suzuki aren’t just tree-huggers. They come in all shapes and sizes, and so do these awesome t-shirts from Roots. If you buy online, PayPal will get in on it and throw $5 to the Blue Dot Foundation too, which multiplies the benefits of not driving to the mall. David, and your thrifty dad, would be proud.

If you’re buying for kids this year, why not get them into generosity early by buying with others in mind? Powerhouse children’s charities UNICEF and Save the Children have found a friend in IKEA, who has offered 1 Euro per low-cost soft toy towards kids educational programs. So even if your living room has outgrown Swedish budget products, now you have a reason to re-enter the blue and yellow maze. Admit it, you wanted to.

Every list has an eclectic music fan, which is why Chickens in Love was a brilliant fundraising move. Now if only someone would do something similar for a Canadian charity…

And for the person you love with a soft spot for animals regardless of age, why not “adopt” them a rare animal… or ranger? With all net proceeds going to World Wildlife Fund’s conservation efforts, you’ll earn yourself a serious squeeze by giving this gift.

We can’t forget the active types who live to move. The more outdoorsy among them will appreciate a gift in their honour to help finish the Trans Canada Trail – because who doesn’t want their name on a legacy?

And for those who attribute their own success in life to playing sports while growing up, a donation to Right to Play or Jumpstart will be extra meaningful. If you were looking for a way to see a jock tear up, I think we’ve just found it.

Ultimately, no matter what the cause, it’s becoming increasingly easy to find a clever and impactful way to contribute. We think other provinces will get on board soon, but for now, Ontario has an impressive list of options. And across the country, CanadaHelps provides gift cards so that you don’t even have to choose a charity. It doesn’t get simpler than that. Your boss/neighbour/mail carrier will thank you, we promise. Happy giving.


Cover image from: Food for The Hungry

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