Giving is so much more fun than receiving, especially when you’re giving gifts that are sustainable and friendly to the environment. But, what if you could give eco-friendly gifts with a cause — gifts that actually goes to support a humanitarian purpose when you purchase them? In this case, you’re not only giving a holiday gift to someone you care about, but you’re also giving water, food or clothing to a child or person in need around the globe. This is the ultimate gift-giving experience.

TOMS shoes

TOMS shoes are eco-friendly and help a good cause.
TOMS shoes are eco-friendly and help a good cause.
If you haven’t heard of TOMS shoes, you’re missing out on one of the best gifts you could give. This company started in order to provide shoes to children in Third World countries. When you purchase a pair of TOMS shoes, a pair is given to someone in need. The company slogan is “one for one.” TOMS shoes are trendy, progressive and innovative in style, and they are made from recycled material. Every shoe you purchase not only helps the environment, but you are also making the difference in the life of a child. According to TOMS’ website,  the company has given away nearly 300,000 pairs of shoes to children in need around the world.

Fair trade products

If shoes aren’t your thing, then venture into the world of fair trade products. Fair trade products, put simply, provide a reasonable wage to the people who manufacture the product you’re buying. According to the Fair Trade Federation, the purpose of fair trade products is, “building equitable and sustainable trading partnerships and creating opportunities to alleviate poverty.” Fair trade products are a win-win. They promote treating people with dignity and respect, not taking advantage of the impoverished of the world. It gives opportunities to those who are producing the products that they would not typically have. For example, many fair trade coffee growers are provided with the finances to certify their crops as organic. Some fair trade partners around the world who have families are given the opportunity to send their children to school. Fair trade practices provide Americans with the same products (if not better quality) and promote sustainability and fair wages in Third World countries. The most common fair trade products you can find to give as a gift are: coffee, chocolate, handmade jewelry, stationary, handbags and other clothing accessories. The fair trade movement has made a global impact. According to Trans Fair, “Impressive worldwide growth figures across product categories include cocoa by 93 percent, coffee by 53 percent, tea by 41 percent and bananas by 31 percent.” For a wide selection of certified fair trade gift ideas and products, go to This site offers one of the largest selections of gifts for the holidays.

World of Good

World of Good is an online store powered by eBay. This store has a collection of clothing, jewelry and other gifts that are both eco-friendly and support a global humanitarian cause with every purchase. As you browse each article, you give the name of the village and the people you will be supporting with your purchase. You can see the names, faces and the ways you’ll be helping people around the world. You can find various toys and baby dolls on this site as well, if you’re buying for a child. A great idea is to place an insert in with the gift for the child explaining why this gift is so special. Print out the photos and the story of the people that are being supported and turn the gift-giving experience into a learning experience. You can chat about needy children around the world and how this purchase helps them. You can also talk about what makes this gift eco-friendly and how that helps promote planetary wellness. There are many ways to avoid the indulgence in consumerism this holiday season. You’re still giving gifts, but the gifts have a greater purpose and meaning. It’s a way to restore the reason for the holidays — the spirit of giving in order to inspire joy and hope to all. This holiday season, give a gift that enables the poor, brings cheer to the recipient and has a positive impact on the planet.