The Gifts That Keep Giving: Gift Ideas That Give Back This Christmas

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As a young child, I specifically remember sponsoring an orangutan after a particularly enchanting trip to the zoo one year. I don’t remember the details – which zoo sparked the sudden interest in orangutans, if it was a gift or at my childish insistence – but what I do remember is my fascination with that orangutan. The sponsorship came with a package of information and photos of my beloved ape, all of which I kept safe inside the pages of my scrapbook. The wording of the brochure implied that I had personally adopted this orangutan which my six-year-old mind took very literally. I often though about the day I would be old enough to head off to the jungle and bring her home. Sadly, that’s not how it worked.

A few years later, I discovered Oxfam Unwrapped, the online giving program that offers a selection of life-changing gifts such as safe water for families living in some of the world’s harshest environments or providing goats for breeding and income for families in Afghanistan. I was in my element and persuaded my parents to gift goats to friends and family members here, there and everywhere.

These days gifts that give back aren’t limited to sponsoring animals. Lots of charities and online shops have taken notice of the difference they can make by working together to raise money, particularly at this time of where where many retailers commit to donating a portion of their sales to various charities. Many charities have their own online shops where you can buy gifts directly from them, safe in the knowledge that your gift expenditure is going towards a good cause. 

At a time when giving is so heavily emphasised, why not buy gifts that not only will your loved ones appreciate but that will also benefit others? 

Sana Jardin Revolution De La Fleur Ear de Parfum, £95 at Harrods

For the fragrance lover in your life, treat them to something different this Christmas with one of seven fragrances available from the world’s first socially conscious luxury fragrance brand, Sana Jardin. Not only are the scents gorgeous but the brand empowers the women who work to create the fragrance by providing them with the tools necessary to upcycle floral waste into their own fragrance line sold worldwide. This particular product from the range works with a blend of Madagascan ylang ylang, Moroccan jasmine, frangipani and rose to create the perfect feminine muse.

Great Ormond Street Hospital Marcus Walters A3 Print, £20

As a celebration of 30 years since Great Ormond Street Hospital’s Wishing Well Appeal which became the largest appeal of its kind, Great Ormond Street Hospital has launched their Then. Now. Always campaign in collaboration with leading designers and illustrators.  This particular print taken from the collection of bespoke artworks created for the campaign was inspired by the distinctive colours and style of the 80s when the Wishing Well Appeal first launched.

Gold Band Lapis Ring, ISHKAR, £38

ISHKAR is on a mission to ensure that craftsmanship in war-torn countries not only survives but thrives as an industry. They support craftsmen within these war-torn zones in particular because they have been cut off from the international market. ISHKAR provides fair wages with an overarching commitment to help craftsmen grow their businesses in otherwise challenging economic environments while also contributing to local NGOs. This particular piece of jewellery is made using the iconic Lapis Lazuli, a blue stone once so precious it was reserved for the funeral masks of Pharaohs. It’s craftsman is Mehdi Ansar who first gained his love for craftsmanship while working at a car repair shop after school to earn money for his family. He is now the head of Blue Diamond – a talented group of seven jewellers all under the age of 25.

Heartfelt, Healthy Recipe Book by Pippa Middleton, £14.99 at British Heart Foundation

Gift the foodie of your family to this healthy recipe book written by Pippa Middleton in collaboration with the British Heart Foundation. The book is filled with over 100 recipes, all of which are heart-healthy (of course) and will keep meal inspiration flowing for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even date night. When you purchase this book, 100% of the profits go to the BHF to fund life saving research.

Lush Charity Pot, £13.95 at Lush

Not only does this moisturising hand and body lotion work wonders for keeping skin hydrated but it’s also good for the planet. When you buy the Charity Pot, 100% of price goes towards small, grassroots organisations that align with ethics of Lush in the areas of environmental conservation, animal welfare and human rights.

True Wish Charm Bangle, Make-A-Wish Foundation, £34 at Alex and Ani

Jewellery brand Alex and Ani are incredibly dedicated to giving back through their products. They have an entire collection dedicated to doing so called Charity by design through which they donate to and support various charities from the Make-A-Wish Foundation to SOS Children’s Villages. Through this specific bangle, the brand will donate 20% of the purchase price to the Make-A-Wish Foundation which works to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.

Niamh Crawford-Walker

Niamh is a full time fashion and features writer at The Style Edit. Her work has previously appeared in IMAGE magazine, and Emirates Woman.

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