Gifts That Give Back

Every year, I have to get a lot of gifts for my agents. And there are a LOT of them--between theatrical agents, commercial agents, voiceover agents, and managers, there have been times when I was buying around 15 individual gifts (not counting office-in-general platters of edible gifts).

One year, I gave everybody gifts from CB2, which offers some really great gifts for under $75. When the boxes arrived at my place, it looked like I was opening up a CB2 pop-up shop. I felt a little sick realizing that all my money was just going to line the pockets of whatever corporate overlord owns CB2. I resolved that from then on, I would only give gifts that somehow did some good in the world--and I've found some really amazing companies in the process. There's something for everyone in the following list, and I hope it helps you finish off your holiday shopping!

SERRV

This is my new favorite. I used them last year and just completed this year's order. SERRV describes itself as "a nonprofit organization with a mission to eradicate poverty wherever it resides by providing opportunity and support to artisans and farmers worldwide." They offer handmade fair-trade products and food from around the world at surprisingly reasonable prices. One of the gifts I gave last year was the Bird of Peace Bread Warmer Gift Basket; the quality was excellent, and it's one of those items that most people don't think to buy for themselves. I also gave the Serenity Gift Box, and I didn't even have to wrap it because the box itself was so beautiful!

Indego Africa

Indego Africa is "an innovative nonprofit social enterprise & lifestyle brand that supports women in Rwanda through economic empowerment and education. Our mission is to break intergenerational cycles of poverty by providing female artisans with the tools and support to reclaim their own futures, flourish as independent businesswomen, and drive development in their communities." It's very similar to Serrv, but with a somewhat narrower selection. One year, I gave a beautiful throw blanket, somehow miscounted and got one extra, gave it to my mom, and she still has it on her couch. I delivered it in a bag very similar to this one--one of them had several pieces of paper folded up and tucked into the interior pocket. They each read "Bazizomme"--I have no idea what it means, but it was an incredibly visceral reminder that every blanket and every bag was made by an actual person working for a living wage half a globe away.

MiiR

Another year, I gave water bottles from Miir, a nonprofit that "redesigned a timeless object with the mission to provide clean water to those without. Through this we have built wells, started a bicycle line providing transportation locally and globally, and we continue with a bag line empowering education." That's right--when I purchased from them, they only offered water bottles, but they now offer FANCY water bottles (like growlers) and also BICYCLES. And next year it looks like they'll offer bags. They're pretty rad. Purchases of water bottles provide one person in need with clean water for an entire year, while bicycle purchases purchase a bike for a person in need.

ONEHOPE

This is one I almost used this year but was too broke to click "buy now." ONEHOPE "is a lifestyle brand with a world-class vineyard in the heart of Napa. We give back and create a measurable impact through every product in our family of brands." That is to say, every one of their wines and gift baskets gives back to a specific cause. For example, their Pinot for Paws Woof! Gift Box helps a shelter animal find a forever home. If you're giving to someone who doesn't drink wine, their Good Karma Gift Box funds one microloan (and delivers a caffeine payload to the recipient). There are several causes to choose from on this site, which is nice because you can tailor the cause to the person you're giving to--or to a cause that is near and dear to your own heart. Your call.

That's Caring

Finally, I came across this organization after almost buying from ONEHOPE. They have partnered with a charity called That's Caring, which provides weekend meals for hungry children in need in the U.S. As they put it, "often times, for a child in a food-insecure household, the only meal he or she receives is one provided by his or her school. When that child goes home for the weekend, though, he or she no longer has that guaranteed daily meal." A weekend bag makes sure they don't go hungry until the school week starts up again. The Cheese, Crackers & ONEHOPE Wine Gift Box provides weekend meals for one child, as well as cheese, crackers, and wine to your friend who deserves a holiday gift from you. Win-win situation, if you ask me.

I hope this has given you some options that will make you feel doubly good about buying holiday gifts this year. And if you're feeling in a completely altruistic mood, Forever Fido Rescue is a truly deserving organization that could use any funds you feel like sending their way. Happy Whatever You Celebrate (and Let's Get Through Pilot Season!)!

Have you purchased through any of these companies, or have a favorite to add to the list? Scroll all the way to the bottom of this page and leave us a comment!