The holidays are here which means it’s time to buy, buy, BUY!
Of course, for many of us this message is getting old. For some, the concept of no holds barred consumerism is downright sickening. For others, we’re looking for gifts with more meaning this season. With this in mind, we have handpicked from our series of social entrepreneurs, Conscious Capitalists, a series of gifts that carry meaning for more than just the recipient. These organization are set to provide this holiday season with gifts that truly keep on giving.
Sevenly is perfect for that person on your list who wears their opinions on their sleeves - literally. The company began as a custom T-shirt designer-for-good. Their in-house artists hand draw fresh designs each week, and seven dollars of every sale goes toward supporting a specific charity. If your special someone supports a specific cause, keep an eye out for the Sevenly's Seven Day's of Christmas. Kicking off Monday, December 9th, Sevenly will support a different charity each day for a week. New customers will see designs championing a variety of charities supporting a diverse array of causes. Sevenly veterans can get stoked about the one time return of old designs. Even if your person is not a T-shirt-kinda-person, Sevenly is worth a look as you can buy everything from hats to jewelry, to ties and bags - all with the same social benefit attached. Get ’em while you see ‘em because once these hand made designs are gone, they’re gone for good.
Check out our interview with founder Dale Patridge to see how Sevenly routinely raise five and six figures a week for charities around the globe
Footwear That’s Bad for Running (Worse For Fighting)
You remember Matt Griffin, right? The guy who ran with the bulls in Flip Flops? His crew is bringing stability to war torn regions through locally made crafts. Right now you can buy hand crafted jewelry from Laos, made from the melted down shells of unexploded bombs. Each piece purchased helps fund the clearing of more unexploded ordinances in the area, literally saving lives and limbs. If you’ve got a snow-bird on your list and they’re getting ready to flee the cold, consider sending them off in a pair of sturdy, USA handcrafted Combat Flip Flops. Each purchase helps the company towards rolling out their Expeditionary Production Facilities. Check out their website for more crafts from all over the world.
Take a look at our interview with Matt to find out more about how your purchase will help them bring stability to some of the world’s most dangerous places.
A new toy for the beach bum on your list. A handplane is basically a small surfboard for your hand. It’s designed to make body-surfing a whole lot more fun by raising your torso slightly out of the water, reducing drag, and pulling you into waves a lot easier. These ones are made by Ed Lewis and Kipp Denslow from the foam of old broken surfboards. Cleaning up beaches and returning surfboards to their rightful place in the water. Each one is custom made, and one of a kind, turned out in their brand new shop just outside of San Diego.
Check out our interview to see how this unlikely duo came to be business partners, stumbled across this idea, and turned it into an eco-friendly economic powerhouse.
Give the Gift of Education with Change Heroes
Of course, some people prefer not to exchange gifts at all during the holidays, focusing instead on what they can do for others. If that describes you and yours then you’ll love Change Heroes - an online platform that makes it easy for you and your friends or family to fund the construction of a school in the developing world. If you’re tired of waiting for one big day of giving, jump in on their 30 Days of Giving Bootcamp - a thirty day challenge to warm up the holiday season by committing to one simple act of kindness per day throughout the month of December. This one’s a lot of fun. Sign up on their website, and you’ll receive daily emails challenging you to give a little something each day. Challenges like give a random stranger a high-five, or write a handwritten letter to someone you care about. Simple things that promise to deliver one of the best gifts of all - connection to the people around you.
Read our interview with Taylor Conroy to find out more about his brainchild… SPOILER ALERT: It costs less than the price of a daily coffee.
Founded by internet millionaire and environmental journalist Graham Hill, Life Edited is a great resource for the person who’s already got everything. After riding the high of the world’s largest consumer culture many of us are starting to look around at our hoards of collected stuff - DVDs, Kitchen Appliances for every imaginable task, blankets with sleeves and pockets - and yearn for an escape. That’s what Life Edited is about. It’s about re-focusing on the important things in life. The things that actually make you whole. Everything else is reduced, and reconfigured until only the best remains.
It’s not about having no stuff, Hill said during our interview, “just have less of it, and try to have great stuff that you really love. That’s built well, and repairable, and will still look good in ten years.”
Hill has learned a thing or two about this, living quite comfortably in - and regularly entertaining as many as twelve at - his 480 square foot New York City efficiency apartment. His is a refreshing mantra for anyone burnt out by the mall stampedes and purchase-propaganda.
Now you can’t actually give someone Life Edited. That would be against the spirit of it all wouldn’t it? But if you check out the site or sign up for their newsletter you’ll get great tips on modern minimalist design and living delivered straight to you and you can use those to inform your gift buying strategy.
And there you have it. Socially responsible gift giving options for just about any type of person on your list. If you’ve found some others, and you think we should cover the companies in our Conscious Capitalist section drop us a line in the comments box. We’re always looking for feedback and new story ideas.
Ethan is a Contributing Writer for MISSION.tv, a traveler and an entrepreneur. In addition to writing for MISSION.tv, and SocialFinance.CA he blogs about all sorts of things over at An American Afoot. His recent work focuses on people who are using business to change the world for the better. Always interested in new and fascinating stories, he can be reached via twitter or at email@example.com