Ever year around the holidays, I think about all the stuff I really want, divide them into lists, and send them off to whoever requested them. Every Christmas, I am also riddled with guilt knowing that many people never get anything, regardless if it's the holidays or not. Now, I am not a wealthy individual; I work hard for the pay that I get, but I do not make enough to donate significant amounts of money or support to charities or causes I believe in. I give when I can, but I would love to one day be in a position to be able to help others with something more than a few dollars here and there. The reality is, the holidays are an expensive time. You're spending money on friends, family, meals, transportation, heat (if you live in a cold place), food for work parties or family gatherings; sometimes giving lots to charity gets put on the back burner. What I've started to do is shop a little smarter, buying gifts from companies who give back with every purchase. That way, I'm able to get a gift for a loved one and also know that my purchase is making a positive effect on someone elses life where they may not have money fr shoes or even clean water. I have put together a list of things you can purchase this Christmas that will satisfy your the receivers, as well as help someone in need:
Toms is a wonder company. It started out with their One-for-One shoe campaign and has spiraled into a plethora of products that all benefit people in need all over the world. They give a pair of shoes to a child in need for every shoe you purchase, as well as glasses for every pair of frames you buy. They even have a marketplace full of artisan crafted products that gives back to the community where they were made. Toms now offers coffee that provides clean water for a week for each bag purchased. I really don't see any drawbacks with this company; their products are well-made and stylish and they help those in need!
Nena & Co.
Nena and Co is a company that makes some of the prettiest bags I've ever seen. What makes these bags even more beautiful is that they provide skilled workers in impoverished parts of Guatemala with jobs that are desperately needed. Nena & Co is working with communities to provide clean water and educational opportunities for local children, all while creating good-quality bags and accessories. While they are pricey, each unique piece is made by hand using recycled or handmade fabrics that are benefiting more than just your personal style. A bag like this will last you forever and your contribution to Nena & Co employees may change their communities forever, too!
I know, Toms again?! This is a bit different! Toms has teamed up with retail Gigantor, Target, to create a collection of clothing, shoes, accessories, and home wares that do more than make great Christmas gifts. Each item benefits a different cause: each item of clothing provides someone with meals for a week, with each blanket purchased, one is given to someone in need, shoes for shoes, you get the picture! These items are available at all Target locations and are great quality products, ranging from t-shirts, to candles, coffee mugs, journals, and even some really cute bracelets! They fit into any price range and are great for Christmas gifts on a budget. Even though you feel as though you're spending very little, you're still impacting someones life in a positive way. I recently purchased the denim shirt pictured above and not only is a comfortable and cute, but it provided a hungry person (in the USA) with free meals for a week! That's one full week not spent worrying about where dinner is coming from, and I think that's pretty amazing.
This is the season for giving; if you're going to be doing some questionable things to get good deals this Black Friday, at least help out those who couldn't even imagine buying anything new. Shop smart and shop responsibly and make your purchases count past Christmas morning; give a little bit!