I am always so torn at Christmas time between delving into the holiday spirit and giving everySinglePersonI'veEverMet a present, and on the other hand, taking the minimalist approach (a.k.a. not buying for anyone and saving my money for a vacation).  In reality, I don't really like the sound of either of those options – besides the vacation part.  This year, however, I think I've come to a common ground:  gifts that give back.  Yes, I know it sounds a bit cliché, but trust me there are some good [charitable] gifts out there.  So with that in mind, I want to share with you some ideas of giving and without breaking the bank.

1. Mercado Global

Mercado Global is a Guatemalan based non-profit focusing on educating and empowering Mayan women.  They make detailed and beautiful handcrafted jewelry like these Maya Earrings – $78 (above), as well as fun accessories and home-ware.  These are gifts that everyone would loove to receive AND they support a good cause. Win – win?

2. Construction for Change (CfC)

CfC is a really unique non-profit.  They provide construction aid in developing countries by carrying out infrastructure projects that will better communities around the world.   They have built a hospital in India, an orphanage in Brazil, a kindergarten in Cambodia – just to name a few.  This Christmas they are offering  a gift catalog which allows you to buy different building supplies like a bag of bricks ($25), a wood door ($75) or even a whole classroom ($5k) and you can give it as a gift.  There are no other giving opportunities of this kind and you can be assured that your money goes directly to the source.

3.  Tom's

Tom's doesn't need our promotion, but we LOVE what they are doing!  They come in all sorts of styles and fabrics and I just found out they even have sunglasses now too.  I especially like these Tribal Knit flats – $54.  Buy one for your loved one and one for yourself, then TWO get donated!  Great shoes and for a great cause!

4. Proud Mary

Proud Mary is another artisan organization focusing on the handmade textiles of Mali, West Africa and Guatemala (can you tell I'm a little biased?).  They have a HUGE selection of scarves, handbags, rugs, pillows, and so much more.  I love their motto too, “PRIDE NOT PITY. We want our goods to be seen as a celebration of the peoples and cultures that created them! ”  Definitely check them out!

5. Threads

Threads is a really cool project for at-risk youth. Kids from all different backgrounds receive the opportunity to learn how to make jewelry and are then able to sell their products.  The money raised is used to help the teens go to college.  This program helps to break the cycle with troubled teens and gives them the tools to be enter the world positive and prepared.  I love this inspire gift set!

6. Uxibal

This is probably a given, but I have to give Uxibal a shout-out in this post!  We are a social enterprise providing economic opportunities to Mayan artisans in Guatemala, while bringing handmade leather + textile boots to your closet.  Each pair of boots sold helps to empower women and help overcome poverty.  Whether you splurge on a pair of boots or just decide to get a headband, every penny counts!

7. United by Blue

United by Blue's motto is pretty straightforward, “For every product sold, UBB removes one pound of trash from our world's oceans and waterways.”  According to their 'trash ticker' they have already cleaned up over  141,000 pounds of trash!  That really shouldn't come as a surprise though if you see all of the wonderful products they offer.  They have all sorts of  jewelry and bags and at a great price.  So, this Christmas give mother nature a present…doesn't she deserve it?

8. International Sanctuary

International Sanctuary sells handmade products created by victims of human trafficking.  “Purchase with a purpose.”  Their main role is to help former sex slaves reintegrate back into society while teaching them a skill and helping them sell their products.  They offer beautiful pieces of jewelry and even are offering handmade holiday ornaments.  Such a good cause with a good vision – shop Sanctuary and help combat human trafficking around the world.

9.  FEED

FEED, as the name implies, helps to fight hunger and malnutrition around the world.  They sell an array of artisan hand-crafted products that have a tangible impact.  For example, if you buy this stocking you provide 5 children with a school meal.  They have really well made products and with a mission that really will make the world a better place.

10. The Giving Keys

This is a great organization that offers homeless people an opportunity to transition out of homelessness.  They are really unique pieces made by homeless individuals from keys with engraved inspirational words on them.  The cause is even more inspiring because of their idea is to give the key to someone who needs it and then share their story through the website.  You can pick from words like “believe” and “hope” to be engraved, and there are also a few different styles you can choose from.  I can't wait to get mine!

So what are you waiting for!?  Only a week left until Christmas! You have to buy gifts anyways, so why not buy something that can actually have an impact.  We can't save the world in a day, but we can do little things to make it better.  What's your contribution?