Holiday season is upon us! Festivities may look and feel different this year, but there are so many ways to continue spreading love and joy wherever you are.
At Elevate Destinations, we find joy in connecting people with incredibly impactful projects and communities all over the world. Through our work to design international travel experiences for nonprofits and social enterprises, we get to connect with global social impact organizations. Our inspiring donor travel clients and their partners address issues such as women’s rights and empowerment, environmental conservation, public health, food security, and human trafficking.
In an effort to support positive impacts this holiday season, we have gathered a list of gift ideas filled with beautiful, hand-made products that will directly support social impact initiatives around the globe. We have also compiled a list of some of our favorite books to broaden our readers’ horizons while still at home. Also, check out our regional gift guides for Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean, and the Middle East.
Join us in making the holidays more meaningful. Elevate your gift-giving this holiday season to create long-lasting change around the world. Happy and impactful shopping!
Image above: Bracelets from Bird and Stone.
Gifts that support women and youth
Together Women Rise Marketplace – Together Women Rise, a global giving circle dedicated to transforming lives and eradicating poverty among women and girls in the developing world, has compiled a marketplace that features beautiful items handcrafted by local communities all over the world.
FairTrade Canvas – One of Together Women Rise’s partners,FairTrade Caravans, offers unique fair trade products. They are made or grown with: no child labor, fair pay, safe working conditions and sustainable practices. Together Women Rise will receive 25% of product sales to support their mission to cultivate the collective power of community to achieve global gender equality. Click here to shop for a variety of gifts from FairTrade Canvas!
Anchal Project is one of Together Women Rise’s grantees in India with a mission of addressing the exploitation of women in the textile industry. Anchal supports the economic empowerment of artisans by investing in their professional and personal development and nurturing human connections.
Mercado Global – For nearly two decades, Mercado Global has transformed the lives of Indigenous women and their families in Central America. We thoughtfully design fashion accessories in partnership with our artisans and world-renowned retailers —empowering the women who weave our collections and inspiring the women who wear them. Together, we have worked to make the fashion world to be more ethical, sustainable, and just—for all of us. Take a look at some of their featured products below!
She’s Got The Power OOMBRA – African non-profit mothers2mothers (m2m) has partnered with OOMLA—a company that creates bras that are comfortable and safe for growing bodies and fun for adult women as well (matching mother/daughter bras are great stocking stuffers!). OOMLA provides vital puberty-related information—to advance their shared vision of a healthier and more equitable future for women and girls everywhere. For the last 20 years, m2m has unlocked the power of women living with HIV to ensure healthy, thriving families and an end to pediatric AIDS across sub-Saharan Africa. In celebration of this work, OOMLA has created a custom She’s Got The Power OOMBRA that fits all sizes—available in both straight straps and cross straps, with $5 of each benefiting m2m!
RefuSHE Scarves – RefuSHE supports women impacted by trauma or conflict to express themselves creatively while learning tangible entrepreneurial skills. RefuSHE’s social enterprise is a step in the journey toward independence and a new life after war and conflict. Support women in the RefuSHE community by purchasing ethically, hand-made scarves for your loved ones. 70% of the 160 artisans who have been a part of the Artisan Collective are now economically independent.
Nomi Network is on a mission to end human trafficking by creating pathways to safe and sustainable employment. They train girls and women, empowering them to break cycles of slavery in their families and community. You can support their impactful work by shopping in their online shop, “Buy Her Bag Not Her Body” for gifts this year. The purchase of every product provides jobs for survivors and women at risk, supporting the greater movement to end modern-day slavery.
Global Fund for Women’s Organic Cotton Clothing – Beautiful, soft tops and t-shirts made from certified organic cotton with Global Fund for Women’s handmade designs. Each purchase supports GFW’s work in gender justice and equity by supporting grassroots, women-led organizations in countries all over the world.
7Hills is a community based non-for-profit that works to create safe public spaces, activate them through free-of-charge activities and our skateboarding program to establish youth empowerment and engagement programs for local, migrant and refugee kids in Jordan. 7Hills is focussed on harmonizing social, economic, gender, and religious diversity through our local and outreach Skateboarding and informal education programs.
Purchase, cotton t-shirts, sweatshirts or bags with handprinted designs, for your loved ones this year – all profits go directly to 7Hills to support the youth in Jordan. Email email@example.com to order. They ship worldwide!
Gifts that support global health issues
Wouldn’t it be nice to know by taking care of your own baby you are helping another mother in India take care of hers? You can do that by shopping at Giving Cradle. Your purchases support Barakat Bundle, an NGO dedicated to supporting maternal health in India. Barakat Bundle supports local communities to create life-saving care and education bundles for mothers and newborns in need.
World Bicycle Relief Coffee Beans – We are big fans of World Bicycle Relief (WBR), an organization that provides bicycles to entrepreneurs, health care workers, and students in rural areas. For every WBR Coffee Blend sold, Equator Coffees will donate $1.00 to WBR to support programs throughout rural parts of the world.
SmileTrain Holiday Cards – Print your family’s holiday cards with SmileTrain this year to support SmileTrain’s work in increasing access to cleft surgeries all over the world, while working with local hospitals and empowering local medical professionals.
Adopt a HeroRAT in honor of your loved ones through APOPO. APOPO’s scent detection animals, nicknamed ‘HeroRATs’ and ‘HeroDOGs’, help to rid the world of landmines and tuberculosis – returning safe land back to communities for development, and freeing people from serious illness so they can get back on their feet.
Gifts that support environmental conservation and sustainability
African People & Wildlife – With every purchase of a lion print or painting by Alison Nicholls, a large percentage of sales is donated to African People & Wildlife; one of Elevate Destinations’ inspiring partners that focuses on conservation and community development in Tanzania. Alison has a full line of Conservation Art; beautiful paintings inspired by her travels in Africa. She donates a large percentage of sales to African conservation initiatives.
GreenWood Carver’s Mallets – These mallets are hand-crafted by artisan woodworkers in a half-dozen small workshops on the North Coast of Honduras. It’s a unique initiative by the nonprofit GreenWood Global, which promotes economic development through the sustainable use of forest resources in remote communities in Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Gifts that support water, sanitation and hygiene
Splash is a social justice organization that catalyzes local, sustainable solutions to ensure clean drinking water, hygiene education, sanitation and menstrual health for children in Asia and Africa. Support their work by purchasing products from their corporate partners below.
- MiiR is a registered B-corporation that gives a portion of all sales to organizations with sustainable methods of empowerment, like Splash. They make premium stainless-steel vessels for coffee, beer, wine, and food, all of which rely on three things at their core: water, earth and the relationship people have with both. Over the past ten years, MiiR has given over $2.4M USD in grants to nonprofits working in 26 countries.
- Thankyou is an Australia-based social enterprise that brings consumers personal care and baby products with the goal of ending extreme poverty. They aim to amplify impactful change-makers exponentially and choose to work with partners who are tackling complex systems change, not simplistic solutions; who are focused on impact, not activity; and who have a clear endgame.
Who Gives A Crap makes toilet paper that’s good for the planet, good for people, and good for your bum. All of their products are made from 100% recycled paper or bamboo, and they give 50% of profits to help billions of people gain access to clean water and proper sanitation. They work with impact partners like Splash (see above) and WaterAid which work to make sure everyone, everywhere has access to a decent toilet and the information they need to stay healthy.
Gifts that support Human Rights
Goodweave – Looking for some beautiful textiles? Check out Goodweave certified partners. Any rug that has a Goodweave label means that no child, forced or bonded labor was used in the making of that product. Your rug purchase also supports the education of children who suffered from child labor to get back into school and ensures dignified work for adults in the textile industry.
Books that inspire
Karibu Mezani is a unique Kenyan cookbook celebrating culture, educating on nutrition, and supporting severely malnourished children in some of the world’s most vulnerable areas. It is a gift that gives back to Carolina in Kibera’s Nutrition program which provides lifesaving services to malnourished children in Kenya’s informal settlements.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai University by Katherine Boo – This narrative non-fiction book takes place in Annawadi, a makeshift settlement near the Mumbai airport. With intelligence, humor and deep insight into human connection, this book explores people’s lives amidst social change and the inequalities facing so many in India.
The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dar – “The unforgettable, inspiring story of a teenage girl growing up in a rural Nigerian village who longs to get an education so that she can find her “louding voice” and speak up for herself, The Girl with the Louding Voice is a simultaneously heartbreaking and triumphant tale about the power of fighting for your dreams.”
Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World by Dr. Anu Taranath – You may remember Dr. Anu Taranath from our Power Dynamics webinar earlier this year. Her inspiring book shows readers ways to grapple with their discomfort and navigate differences through accountability and connection, digging into the ethics and politics of our travel. This book may inspire you and your loved ones to think about how you can reshape the lens through which you explore the world.