Lying in bed last night, I was stressing about the upcoming weeks and months and how I was ever going to get through them without wanting to pull the blanket over my head and hide until we were well into 2021! November… December… Don’t get me wrong. I love the holidays but they are always, by nature, a bit stressful. And this year, with all that’s going, I’m already maxed out in the stress department.

As I thought about all the normal preparations – shopping, cooking, baking, decorating, gatherings, I imagined how different all these activities would be this year will be from any we have ever known. And I wonder if I can detach myself from the current state of our country, our world, enough to experience a normal (there’s that word again!) holiday season with everyone I love.

My main hesitancy, I think, centers around gift buying.  Watching everyone rip open their packages…the smiles on their faces when they see what’s inside… that’s when my soul is soaring! But this year, I wonder if I’ll feel the same…wonder if it’s the right thing to do. With so many needing healthcare, shelter, food, clothing…does my blessed family really need more stuff? How, I think, can I somehow keep my soul soaring amidst all this hurting?

Lying there in bed in the wee hours of this morning, I think I’ve found a solution.

I got up early this morning, made my coffee and opened my computer. I began my google search for all those retailers who “give back” a portion of their profits. What I found truly amazed me! So many businesses offering all sorts of perfect potential presents – there’s something just right for almost everyone on my gift list. There’re foods, clothing, books, jewelry, stationery, household items, all kinds of accessories and lots of fun things for kids too.

So, this holiday season, I’m changing my gift buying strategy.  Avoiding malls and crowded stores out of necessity, I am already committed to on-line shopping. So, I searched the internet for those retailers with a philanthropic mission – a give back program that supports those in need here at home and worldwide. Judging by my initial research, there are oodles of these! I am confident I can buy that perfect gift from one of these vendors and, at the same time, have my money work for those in need.

So, this year I am promising myself that, wherever possible, my gift buying will somehow, somewhere in this world, make a difference. I’ll likely spend the same amount of money and purchase the same amount of gifts. But by accessing retailers such as those below, not only those on my list will be gifted with something they love, but my spending will also benefit a specific non profit serving the most vulnerable in our world.

Please remember…what I’m offering here is just the tip of the iceberg. The list is literally endless!!! There are so many more retailers donating portions of their profits to meaningful charities.  Just take a look and see what you think.

Here my initial list-  a very few for you to check out.

To start, if you’re going to be using Amazon for any holiday shopping (and who among us will not), go to  smile.amazon.com , sign up your favorite charity and they will automatically receive a portion of everything you spend on Amazon. Easy peasey!

Giving Assistant – lists over 3000 retailers with cashback programs through which you can opt to donate your cash rebate to that retailer’s specified charity.

Greeting For Good – lists over 200 organizations that sell greeting cards, holiday cards, e-cards and tribute cards that help fund their charitable works.

 Some Museum Shops selling beautiful gifts:

Art Institute of Chicago

Getty Museum

Museum of Modern Art

Pennsylvania Academy of the fine Arts

A Few Other Non-Profits:

Sierra Club 

Ten Thousand Villages

UNICEF 

World Wildlife Fund

Some of the Clothing Retailers who give back…

Bombas – Socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in homeless shelters. This retailer set out to change that by donating one brand new pair of socks for every pair purchased. The most comfortable socks, etc. for everyone on your gift list.

Toms – gives away $1 for every $3 they take in. Shoes, slippers, boots, booties, bags – all so comfortable and stylish!

Serengetee – Beautifully designed graphic tees and sweatshirts, cabin-cozy loungewear, blankets. masks, jewelry…if you have young adults or teens on your list, take a look. Actually, look anyway – great stuff.

Accessories, maybe?

4 Ocean – helping to end the world’s ocean plastics crisis.  Bracelets, beach gear, single use/reuseable items (storage bags, straws, water bottles, apparel – lots of amazing ideas for sustainable gifts for everyone.

Smiling Rocks Jewelry – sustainable, affordable and conflict-free lab-grown stones crafted into stunning pieces of jewelry. 10% of purchase goes to specific charities supporting medicine, education, environment and wildlife.

State Bags – Something here for everyone. A bit pricey but fun and practical. Their “give” is in support of different charities helping American children and families in need.

The Tote Project –  beautifully and artfully designed tote bags, pouches, etc. Profits go to support survivors of sex-trafficking in the US as they pursue their dreams.

Or Unusual Household Items?

Uncommon Goods – a donation of $1 is given to a participating partner of your choice with every purchase you make.

The Little Market – similar to Ten thousand Villages offering unique fair trade goods.

Health and Beauty, Aways a Winner…

Color the World – Hand Poured Pro-Age Lipsticks & Real Naturals Skincare – Helping good causes around the world. – Vegan, Natural, Cruelty Free, Pro-age.

Hand in Hand Soaps – bar and liquid soaps, hand sanitizers, body lotions, skin essential sets. – Their program is “buy a bar, give a bar” – helping reduce the number of children dying from water related illnesses.

And this one, thanks to my friend Lynn, is just for the fun of it. Take a peek at …who gives a crap . “Forest friendly” toilet paper, paper towels, tissues and wipes – profits from this organization go to building toilets in countries where proper sanitation and personal dignity are still issues. Crazy??? Sure. Critical??? Definitely!

As I said, I could go on and on…the list of amazing, generous companies who are giving back to make our world a better, more safe and peaceful one, goes on forever. There are so many more, waiting for us to find. I’m so happy I found these.

So, I’m making my list, and then before buying anything, I will search for a retailer with a commitment to making our world a better place.  This idea makes me feel a little better about spending during the holiday season.

How about you? Please add to this list if you find other concerned retailers.