gifts they might actually want

The Best Holiday Gifts for Everyone (That Do Good, Too)

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist;Photos: Retailers

Now that I’ve been covering gifts that give back for a while, I can say that finding the best ones is a true balancing act. There’s the built-in donation part to consider — where’s the money going, and what’s an actual philanthropic amount? (One percent usually doesn’t cut it.) And you want the thing that does good to look good, too, as too many ugly T-shirts abound. So if you’re planning to shop with a little extra purpose, I’ve rounded up the best gifts I could find that also benefit organizations fighting for racial justice, food security, reproductive rights, and much more. Some come from brands previously featured on the Strategist, like a travel pillow that’s more of a swaddle, while others required a little extra sleuthing, like a necklace seen on a New York editor’s Instagram. Rest assured that each is a gift that someone on your list would be happy to receive (and you’d be proud to wrap up). Meanwhile, if you’d like to donate directly to a near-and-dear cause, we also have handy directories of organizations supporting Black and brown lives and Asian communities.

Madewell and Kule teamed up for what would’ve been the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade — here’s a reminder to donate to an abortion fund — for a limited-edition sweatshirt emblazoned with the words “my body.” The entire purchase price will benefit the National Network of Abortion Funds.

Another noble Kule partnership — this time with Prinkshop — is this striped T-shirt with the luxury label’s signature tag on the hem. It’s part of the 1973 collection, named after the year of the Roe v. Wade decision. Thirty percent of every 1973 sale is donated to the National Institute of Reproductive Health (NIRH), which works to ensure access to reproductive-health care across the country.

Toting this “Boobs on Drugs” bag from Flower by Edie Parker nods to that very Reagan-era, anti-drug PSA and gives back to the Women’s Prison Association, with 15 percent of profits going toward the organization’s efforts to help women adjust to life post-incarceration.

You’ve probably heard a Bombas ad before: For every pair of socks you buy, a pair is donated to someone in need. (Specifically, the company works with overnight shelters and rehabilitation centers.) This ready-to-gift box of socks is holiday-themed — there’s a scarf-wearing penguin on one pair and a beanie-topped narwhal on another.

British brand Rixo — a favorite with the Instagram influencer set — is donating 25 percent of the sales of its Zadie dress in this lovely poppy print to Smart Works. The charity offers bespoke dressing consultations and interview coaching to women who are unemployed.

As seen in a carousel post from the Cut’s editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples, the Take Your Seat necklace features a diamond-encrusted folding chair inspired by Shirley Chisholm’s famous line, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” That gives you a sense of Pavé the Way’s ethos (a “genius” lightbulb and “hammer home” pendant are also part of its “empowerment tools” collection). The brand donates 100 percent of its profits to a range of charities, and you can write one in a text box at checkout.

The sustainability-minded Keep Nature Wild, which makes its bags from recycled materials, coordinates litter cleanups after every purchase. Strategist technology writer Jordan McMahon recommends the brand’s fanny pack, which can hold his Kindle and even a Fujifilm, too, if it’s not already overstuffed.

The “mood-boosting motifs” of AAPI-owned Notte include these bok-choy-shaped hoops — which can be bought as a single or pair. The jewelry purveyor promises that 50 percent of the revenue from the earrings will be donated to Heart of Dinner, which helps Asian American seniors facing food insecurity and social isolation.

Sparkling-water-maker Sanzo collaborated with basketball player Jeremy Lin for a special-edition Asian pear 12-pack that benefits his eponymous foundation, which works to raise awareness about acts of anti-Asian racism.

Oui the People, one of our favorite Black-owned body-care brands, worked with Brazilian (and Brooklyn-based) illustrator Niege Borges on a bandana based on those waved by Latin American abortion-rights activists. All of its profits will go to the Whole Women’s Health Alliance, a reproductive-care organization.

The coffee snob on your list might like the nutty-sweet notes of this roast from La Colombe (the brand counts former Euphoria star Barbie Ferreira and musician Lauv as fans). The company is donating $2 from the sale of each bag — which features graphics from artist Abbey Lossing — to the American Civil Liberties Union from now until November 2.

For a jet-setter, this tricked-out passport case is a nod to the always-ready Airport Dad, with four slots to hold passports, boarding passes, and cash, along with a pen strap and zipper pocket for coins. Clare V. collaborated with Jimmy Kimmel on the holder (the comedian designed it himself), with 30 percent of the proceeds going to the St. Joseph Center, which helps find housing for those who are homeless, and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

It’s a travel pillow that’s more reminiscent of those “velcro-strappy baby swaddling wraps” than the “standard, floppy airport-kiosk” ones you settle for before a flight, according to Strategist senior editor Simone Kitchens. I bought one for each of my parents, who took them on a trip to Greece and touched down with no “sore neck” complaints. Ostrichpillow plants a tree for every sale on its site; you can “see” the trees planted here.

This lotion is formulated with nourishing argan oil, hydrating avocado oil, and calming lavender oil for smoother-looking skin. Violets are Blue partners with Mount Sinai’s Dubin Breast Center so that 10 percent of the purchase price of all its products go toward gift packages that are donated to cancer patients at the hospital.

I learned about Marianna Fierro, whose illustrations reference Italian ingredients like farfalle and mortadella, from writer Emilia Petrarca’s newsletter — and was happy to find out that for every order, Fierro makes ten meal donations. I’m sort of a sucker for this sweet tomato kids’ tee, which is available in toddler sizes as well as a onesie.

Araks’ understated underthings are recommended by lingerie aficionados, and the company is donating 20 percent off its Bloom collection — with pieces made in a blushy-pink color, including this silk slip — to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through the end of October.

A take on the classic pink ribbon, this brooch from maximalist accessories maker Lele Sadoughi (which is part of the brand’s “Pink for a Purpose” collection) is bedazzled with salmon-colored crystals. The label is donating 10 percent of the proceeds from the pin to the American Cancer Society for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The Beatrix Rose Bath Soap from bespoke soap-maker Caswell-Massey has undercurrents of black currant and bergamot along with notes of rose and wild fig. It’s part of a collaboration with the New York Botanical Garden, which supports the garden’s research, conservation, horticulture, and education efforts.

Home cooks will love chopping away on the reBoard from Material Kitchen — our pick for the best cutting board out there — which has a texture that doesn’t make you feel like your knife is slipping, according to food stylist Judy Kim. Half the profits from the beige-toned version called “To Pó Pó With Love” will be donated to Heart of Dinner.

These one-of-a-kind heart tokens are cut from abalone shells grown on a California farm, with $10 from each sale going to emergency-relief charity Direct Relief. Gift one to somebody who already has a charm bracelet, or add a chain (sold separately) to make a shimmery necklace.

Surprise the beauty-advent-calendar collector with this selection of miniatures from Olaplex, Dr. Barbara Sturm, Sisley, and Charlotte Tilbury approved by Vogue editors — the boxes feature illustrations from the magazine’s covers dating back to 1916. The calendar’s proceeds will be divided between a trio of charities: Sistah Space, the Albert Kennedy Trust, and Women for Refugee Women.

[Editor’s note: The calendar’s price is listed in euros, so this is an approximation to dollars.]

French candlemaker Maison La Bougie has a delightful Zodiac collection with notes specific to each sign — the wax is set in ultragiftable vessels patterned with constellations — that happens to be available on Olivela. Twenty percent of the proceeds from every purchase on the site goes to causes like girls’ education, climate change, and health services (you can find all of its partners here).

Status nail-polish-maker J.Hannah is known for its neutral shades, which come in colors with names like “marzipan” (shaded like a sponge cake) and “artichoke” (a “hearty green”). This “dune” hue is meant to evoke the sands of the desert, and all profits from its sale are donated to an ever-evolving catalogue of human-rights organizations — right now, the recipient is the L.A.’s Downtown Women’s Center, which helps women who are experiencing homelessness.

Helen Levi’s ceramics are known for their charming splatter and marbled patterns, and her “Do Good” mugs feature a hand-drawn squiggle. Half of the proceeds from sales of the mugs are donated to a charitable organization — currently, Levi is supporting Bushwick City Farms, run by neighborhood volunteers and providing free food to Brooklynites.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

The Best Holiday Gifts for Everyone (That Do Good, Too)