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  • Erin Zaikis

    Be sure to check out - they sell handmade sulfate-free soaps for just $8 that fund hygiene projects for children in Thailand, India and Ghana.

    • Jennifer Iacovelli

      Thanks, Erin. Sounds like a great addition to my Gifts That Give Back list!

  • Barb Chamberlain

    These are all great ideas. In giving the "gift of experiences" a few years ago we made coupons good for various activities. Our kids, who were about 9 and 11 at the time, thought they were incredibly cool and read each and every one aloud. They didn't cash them all in but every so often we'd remind them and they'd go through and pick something out. These were everything from a cooking or knitting lesson to a visit to a local wacky museum to ice skating. Not only did we give experiences--we also spread the cost of doing so over the year instead of taking a big December budget hit.

    One more idea for those who live somewhere that makes it difficult to buy local and who end up buying online: If you use AmazonSmile,, as your starting page you can designate one of thousands of charities both large and small that will receive 0.5% of your eligible purchases as a donation from Amazon.

    As long as you remember to "start your shopping with a smile." you don't have to think about it again until/unless you want to designate a different charity. The tough part is remembering NOT to start at the regular Amazon site; they don't reward your designated charity for purchases made there.

    • Jennifer Iacovelli

      I hadn't heard about AmazonSmile. Thanks for the heads up!

      I do love the idea of giving experiences, as those are what kids (and adults) remember the most.

  • Jude Rubin

    Please share this link -- Best gift ever: Plant a tree in someone's honor for $10. You will get a beautiful tree card to send to someone you love. This project helps salmon, school children, and the climate.

    The children of Jefferson County, WA aim to plant 3,000 trees a Tarboo Creek salmon restoration site. Please send them a message of support for "being part of the solution" by sponsoring a tree!

    • Jennifer Iacovelli

      I love the idea of planting trees for people because it allows you to give back for years. The gift lives on for generations!

  • Tori Tait

    Great suggestions Jennifer. Not only will it make you feel better about what your gifting, the recipient will likely appreciate it more + the bonus is what it means for the businesses you choose to support this year. What a ripple effect.

  • Stef McDonald

    I'd add a sixth: Buying from thrift stores, antique shops, consignment shops, and other resale sources. It is often true that one person's trash is another's treasure. And when we reclaim what has been discarded, we're saving it from our overflowing landfills....

  • Pablo Fernandez

    Hi Jennifer,
    Thank you so much for your ideas. We have just launched a Kickstarter: DaDa Quarterly Underwear Club and I would love to hear your opinion in it
    We offer customisable underwear for men made with sustainable fabrics :) Do you think it is a good concious gift?

    • Jennifer Iacovelli

      The materials you use are really interesting! I'll have to keep you in mind for my husband. I'm always looking for companies that have an interest in sustainability.

      • Pablo Fernandez

        Thank you very much Jennifer. I am glad you like it, I am sure your husband would like it as well, and as it is customisable, he can always choose his favourite style, colours and fabrics. Yes, I really believe that right now sustainability should be a main focus for any business :)

  • Mata Traders

    Yay for #2! In the fair trade community, today (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving) is known as #FairTuesday. It's a globally-minded shopping day with a focus on ethically-made products:

    A great, great post! It's important for people to put thought into their gift-giving, on the purchasing end especially.

    • Jennifer Iacovelli

      I hadn't heard of #FairTuesday. Very cool. I'm a big supporter of fair trade. I love it when I can find a local person who sells fair trade. Win-win!

      • Mata Traders

        Awesome! Glad we could let you know about it. Maine probably has maaany stores that participate, I bet.

  • Ilene Evans

    Perfect advice. Local, companies that give back, giving experiences instead of gifts, and more importantly, not giving into the hype. Well said, Jen as always.

    • Jennifer Iacovelli

      Thanks, Ilene. I really think we need to expand our ways of thinking about giving.

  • The Dose of Reality

    What a *fantastic* piece! It's so true. We *don't* have to give into the hype. We can make this holiday season whatever we want it to be. What could be better than giving someone a thoughtful gift that means something to them and also helps others? That *is* the perfect gift, without having to make yourself crazy or over commercializing things. Shop with a conscience. That's exactly it!! Love it!! --Lisa

    • Jennifer Iacovelli

      Thanks, Lisa. I think it feels better to give and receive meaningful gifts. I'm doing great so far!

  • Jeff Nelder

    Check out what Patagonia is doing with eBay as well as TOMS new marketplace. Great additions to this excellent POV and purposeful list.

  • Tamara Like Camera

    What a beautiful list. And I agree that I usually give into the hype, but there are ways to channel that into good. I live in a great town for buying local and buying fair trade and buying handmade. We're kinda known for that here, in fact.

    • Jennifer Iacovelli

      That's awesome, Tamara. Luckily I have some great shops within walking distance of my house. Makes last minute shopping a breeze!

  • Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama

    Love this list, Jennifer! My husband and I started 'giving' our oldest nephews a holiday experience instead of a gift a few years ago. Because we don't live in the same state as them, Christmas is one of the few times we get to spend quality time together. So, we've started taking them to a fun event every year. So far we've been to Cirque du Soleil, the Georgia Aquarium, and an Atlanta Hawks Game. We hope the boys will have great memories with us!

    • Jennifer Iacovelli

      That sounds awesome, Nicole. I bet they cherish those experiences!

  • George Hiley

    Well, turns out we have just been thinking about the same topic over on our blog... "5 Questions for Ethical Shoppers" ( we would have to add "Transparency" to the top of the list and indeed, loving your #4 where it is now so easy to ensure when we buy, we are creating a positive social impact at the same time - the founding purpose of us over at The Shop for Change.

    • Jennifer Iacovelli

      That's great, George. I will head on over and read your blog! I agree that transparency is really important.

  • Liat Rogel

    I would add:
    6. buy less. make plans with your friends and family and decide you are not getting anything, or get one present each and then exchange.
    7. invest rather then just give. many great ideas are just waiting for our suport

    • Jennifer Iacovelli

      I agree. I think it's all a work in progress. When I interviewed for an article, even they admitted it's hard to track these things. Companies are becoming more transparent, but I think we've got a ways to go!