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Shop With Purpose: Unique Gifts That Give Back

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‘Tis the season when we are shopping for gifts for our friends, family, and co-workers. But as we think more about our over-consumerism and the impact we are leaving on the world around us, questioning our choices for what we buy is a nice place to start making a difference in our own little world. 

This guide will show you how to find unique and meaningful presents that bring joy not only to your loved ones but also contribute positively to communities and the planet. 

What are Gifts that Give Back?

A person researching her gifts that give back for the friends in her life.

Meaningful gifts that make a difference are those that not only bring joy and value to the recipient but also have a positive impact on society, the environment, or a specific cause. Think: things that not only make me feel better, but also make the world better, too.

When you choose a gift with purpose, it may support good causes, like giving food to people who need it or saving animals.

Things like fair trade coffee mugs or eco-friendly travel bags are not only functional, but also support businesses that practice safe and ethical work, and care for our planet.

Gifts that mean something special can come from places that give money back to communities or help small businesses grow. 

This approach to gifting not only brings fulfillment to the giver but also fosters a culture of responsible and compassionate consumerism.

The Power of Giving Back Through Gifts

Artisan pottery and jewelry displayed on rustic table in natural setting.

Gifts that add a deeper emotional value because they reflect thoughtfulness and care for both the recipient and the wider world can extend their impact far beyond a single moment of joy. When a gift contributes to social causes, environmental sustainability, or community empowerment, it transcends the traditional boundaries of generosity and happiness to the recipients, but also foster a culture of mindful and responsible consumerism. By choosing gifts that support ethical practices, donate to charities, or uplift marginalized communities, the giver sets off a chain of goodwill, spreading awareness and inspiring others to contribute to meaningful causes. This approach enriches the gifting experience, making it a tool for social change and a reflection of deeper values and compassion. 

Supporting Causes and Charities

Buying gifts can do more than make someone smile. It can help people and the planet too. Think about picking presents that support important work around the world. When you shop, look for items linked to good causes like saving forests or helping animals. 

This means when you give a gift, you’re also giving back to charity. 

*Don’t worry we have resources for where to start and find reputable companies to support! 

Choose products from companies that care about making a difference. They might donate part of what they earn to non-profit groups fighting diseases or cleaning oceans. Plus, when gifts are eco-friendly, they contribute to being more responsible to the Earth.

Many shoppers feel great buying things from places that help others. You get a cool gift and know your money goes to best causes like education or health services. Every time someone unwraps your gift, it’s not just joy in a box – it’s love spreading far beyond that moment!

Promoting Sustainability and Fair Trade

Gifts that support sustainability and fair trade are more than just presents; they support keeping businesses with ethical practices open and thriving. When you specifically choose an eco-friendly travel gift, it’s like you’re telling a friend, “I care about you and our Earth.” Items like reusable water bottles or solar-powered chargers allow the gift receiver to use an item for a long time and to avoid its single-use alternative.

Fair trade means the makers get paid well and work in safe places. You can support this by buying from fair trade marketplaces. They offer products that adhere to the principles of fair trade, ensuring that artisans and producers in developing countries are paid fair wages and work under ethical conditions. So when you intentionally buy items from these marketplaces you can rest easy in knowing that no harm was caused by the production of your gift.  

Empowering Artisans and Small Businesses

Buying from small businesses and artisans is a powerful way to be intentional in giving back. When you purchase directly from the maker you help creative people have more space to keep sharing their talents with the world. Whether it’s handcrafted jewelry or custom-made bags, your purchase supports their business in an impactful way. 

Additionally, choosing items from smaller shops is a great way to find one-of-a-kind treasures that stand out. Each product can tell a special story – about the maker’s journey, skill, and passion. For travelers, in particular, they are interested in these details, especially if the gift comes from a special destination. 


Ethical and Sustainable Gifts for Travelers

ethical brands

Here’s our picks for gifts for travelers that will not only enhance the travel experience, but also are mindful of environmental impact and ethical production practices. 

The Tote Project

the tote project travel with dayvee

The Tote Project is a great company that stands out for its fair trade totes made with heart and hope. Women in India who’ve left the sex trade sew each bag with care, taking steps toward a new life. Shopping from The Tote Project doesn’t just get you a stylish tote, it helps these brave women chase their dreams right here in the US.

This brand is all about sending love and support through every sale.

For travelers looking for sustainable travel gifts or eco-friendly options, these bags are not just useful but are also symbols of hope making them perfect meaningful gifts. It’s always good to keep an extra tote bag in your luggage. You can use it to carry things to the beach or pool, or shop for groceries or clothing. When you carry your items in one of these totes, you tell a story of freedom and hope. Each organic tote bag sold by The Tote Project carries an important message to #HoldOnToHope, reminding us that our choices can change lives.

Buying from The Tote Project allows you to wear your values on your shoulder – literally. Their ethical fashion approach ensures that while you’re exploring the world, you’re also empowering people who make your journey more purposeful.

Hand in Hand Soap 4 Pack Assorted Bar Soap Set

hand in Hand soap Travel with Dayvee

Travelers love to find small, eco-friendly gifts that are good for the planet. Hand in Hand Soap offers a 4 Pack Assorted Bar Soap Set that does just that. These bars are vegan and free from palm oil, which shows care for the environment.

Each purchase also supports sustainable brands working hard to make a positive impact. Choose these soaps and you’re not just buying soap; you’re helping a movement of 50 sustainable brands grow stronger. This set is perfect for travelers who want to keep clean on their journeys while supporting ethical practices.

Bringing bar soap on your travels helps you pass the liquid test for carry-on luggage, as well as, it causes less waste than liquid soap – which is a responsible thing to think about especially when traveling to smaller destinations with limited resources.

Gold Globe of the World Stud Earrings

TWD globe of the world earrings

Designed by popular TV travel personality Dayvee Sutton, these stud earrings are made of sterling silver, perfect for everyday wear for the traveler. 

Dayvee wears them every day – check her socials and you’ll see them on all of her adventures. 

Think about your favorite traveler – from little girls to grandma – you can’t miss.

Plus with this purchase, you’ll be supporting a small Black-owned, Woman-owned business!

Briggs & Riley Luggage

briggs and riley travel with dayvee

Briggs & Riley luggage is built to last. They promise that their bags will stick with you for life, no matter where you go or what happens to them. If your bag breaks or gets damaged, they fix it free – that’s how much they believe in their products.

So we all know that the last place you want your luggage to fail is while you’re traveling. But, did you know that is the number one time it actually does. (It actually makes sense because when you are traveling is when you are putting your luggage to the test.) So investing in luggage with a lifetime guarantee, something that is built to last forever, is more sustainable in the long run and well worth the investment, as this luggage comes in at a higher price point.

But, they also often have sales. So keeping your eye out, especially during the holidays will allow you to snag this top brand at a discount.

Briggs & Riley also chooses recycled materials and uses solar energy, showing love for our planet while making top-notch luggage.

Briggs & Riley has been around for 30 years and is American-made, backed by quality you can trust.

Investing in a Briggs & Riley bag isn’t just buying luggage; it’s choosing peace of mind for all your adventures ahead.

Bombas Super Comfy Compression Socks

Bombas compression socks travel with dayvee

Compression socks are not just for grandma. We all retain water and compression socks help to increase circulation, thus preventing swelling in your lower legs and feet. Bombas specializes in super comfortable basics. And these compression socks are supportive enough to wear all day. They’re cushioned, stretch and hold in the right places.

It’s recommended if you’re on a flight for more than 3 hours you should wear compression socks. These Bombas socks are made of premium fiber that’s soft, durable, and smooth against your skin. Not too tight – but does the job.

Choosing Bombas means you help others as well. For each pair of socks sold, Bombas gives a pair to someone in need. The brand is all about making high-quality products that also do good in the world.

LARQ UV Self Cleaning Water Bottle


The LARQ UV self cleaning water bottle is a smart choice for travelers who want clean drinking water on the go. It’s not just any water bottle. The high-tech UV-C light inside the cap makes sure up to 99.9999% of harmful bacteria don’t stand a chance, keeping your drinks safe and fresh. Please note that this isn’t a water filter – like Lifestraw or Brita.

And it’s easy to use! Just fill it up and let the built-in UV-C light do its magic.

This isn’t only good for your health; it’s also great for our planet. Each time you sip from a LARQ bottle, you’re cutting down on single-use plastic bottles that harm oceans and wildlife.

Plus, Larq gives back with their Benefit Edition—1% from every sale helps fund projects to bring clean water where it’s needed most and to reduce plastic pollution.

This will likely be the last water bottle you’ll ever want to buy, and it’s amazing to use every day at every place you go. LARQ was originally on Shark Tank and is considered the world’s first self-cleaning water bottle and water purification system. Whether hitting hiking trails or exploring cities, having a LARQ means you’ll always have clean drinking water at hand without any waste or worry.

AllBirds Wool Runners

Allbirds wool runners Travel with Dayvee

What is essential in a good travel shoe? It should be lightweight, incredibly comfortable, and stylish. That’s exactly what can be found in Allbirds shoes. They are effortless , easy to slip on, and offer styles that can be easily dressed. up or down. You can get waterproof versions, and they are super functional. Meaning you can do everything from walking European cities to taking a hike in a forest.

Made from ethically sourced merino wool and natural materials, AllBirds offers not just comfort but a promise to take care of our planet. Reducing their carbon footprint is part of company’s mission. These shoes are climate-neutral and celebrate responsible practices while giving you that comfy stepping stone for every journey.

Allbirds also come in at an affordable price point.

Xero Shoes Aqua X Sport

Xero Shoes Travel with Dayvee

Xero Shoes Aqua X Sport water shoes are a traveler’s dream for activities like hiking and kayaking. They are built tough to protect your feet from rough terrain but light enough to not hold you back.

The soles grip well and have quick drainage, making them perfect for slippery rocks or muddy trails. Their design lets your feet move naturally, which is good for your body too.

The company uses eco-friendly materials, and the materials are meant to last – thus reducing the waste that most shoes cause.

Kent Underwear

Kent Underwear Travel with Dayvee

Kent Underwear is a brand that stands out for travelers who care about the planet. They make underwear from 100% organic cotton that is plastic-free, landfill-free, and compostable, which is better for the earth. Every pair you buy helps reduce waste and supports ethical farming practices.

This means that while you’re on the go, you can feel good in cozy undies that really does good.

They also partner with charities to give back, so your purchase has power beyond just being comfortable. You’re not only picking up something great for your travels; you’re helping someone in need too.

Kent’s commitment to sustainability means your choices for an essential clothing item help keep our world clean and green.

online marketplace TWD

Now that you know why it’s worth it to choose gifts that give back, here’s our favorite online marketplaces to do your shopping. Using the principles laid out above, you can search these sites to find gifts that promise a positive impact.

  • Etsy

    Etsy is a special online shop where you can find handmade or vintage items. It’s like a big market full of unique things from all over the world. Travelers love Etsy because it has things that show off different cultures and places. You can buy gifts made by someone who really cares about their work, not just machines in a big factory.

  • BLK + GRN

    BLK + GRN is an all-natural marketplace that connects you with beautiful, high-quality products made by Black artisans. Every item on this site is carefully chosen not only to treat you well but also to have a positive impact on the world. From skin care essentials to household goods, everything here supports small businesses and encourages healthier living. Travelers who love exploring can feel good buying from BLK + GRN because they’re helping real people chase their dreams while getting amazing stuff in return.

  • DoneGood

    DoneGood is an online marketplace with a big mission. They help you find things to buy that are good for people and the planet. Every purchase supports a small business that pays fair wages or uses eco-friendly practices. You might be looking for cool travel gear or unique gifts. DoneGood has stuff like bags made from recycled materials and organic clothing. It’s easy to use, too. Just search for what you need, and DoneGood shows you options that make a positive impact.

  • Fair Trade Winds

    Fair Trade Winds stands out as a go-to spot for travelers looking to bring home more than just memories. This online marketplace is bursting with beautiful products made by skilled artisans from all over the world. Each item has a story, and when you buy it, you help keep those stories alive. You can feel good knowing that your purchase directly supports fair wages and safe working conditions. As you fill your suitcase with treasures like handcrafted jewelry or woven baskets, you’re also filling hearts with hope and joy. You can buy gifts made by someone who really cares about their work, not just machines in a big factory.

  • Rêve En Vert

    Rêve En Vert stands out as a marketplace that offers clothing, accessories, and beauty items that are ethically made and sustainable. Every purchase supports responsible practices in fashion and beyond. Shop at Rêve En Vert to dress with purpose and travel with peace of mind knowing you’re making choices that help preserve the world’s beauty. Their collection features organic materials, recycled fabrics, and designs created by artisans paid fair wages.

  • Uncommon Goods

    Imagine finding treasures from all over the world, made with care and purpose. This is a place where each item has its own story, whether it’s handcrafted jewelry or quirky kitchen gadgets. They focus on eco-friendly designs too, so while you find that perfect travel accessory or piece of decor for your home, you’re also helping the planet. You can buy gifts made by someone who really cares about their work, not just machines in a big factory.

  • Credo Beauty

    Credo Beauty stands out as a leader in clean, sustainable beauty products. They believe in beauty that is good for you and the planet. If you’re on the go and want to keep your skincare routine eco-friendly, this is the place to shop. Credo offers a wide range of items from skincare to makeup, all made without harmful ingredients. You can buy gifts made by someone who really cares about their work, not just machines in a big factory.

  • Package Free

    Package Free Shop is a special store in Brooklyn. It started in 2017 and sells things that are good for the Earth. Everything there has no plastic and helps you live without making trash. Shopping at Package Free means you support many green brands all at once. They bring together items that help you keep seas, forests, and animals safe while you explore the world.

  • Thrive Market

    Thrive Market is an online store where you can buy food and home products that are good for you and the planet. They sell items that come from companies who care about the earth, like snacks without harmful stuff in them, eco-friendly cleaning supplies, and personal care items that don’t test on animals. Plus, every time someone buys a membership at Thrive Market, they give one to a family in need so everyone has access to healthy food.


    Imagine finding a gift that looks great and does good at the same time. That’s what GOODEE is all about. This online marketplace brings you housewares and lifestyle items from designers who care deeply about making a positive impact. Every product here has its own story of doing good for the world, whether it’s made sustainably or helps support a community. You can buy gifts made by someone who really cares about their work, not just machines in a big factory.

Making a Difference During the Holiday Season

Transform your holiday gift-giving into a catalyst for positive change; delve deeper to discover how your choices can uplift communities and foster goodwill.

gifts that give back TWD

Encourage Others to Shop with a Purpose

Shopping with a purpose is more than just buying what you need. It’s about thinking of how your shopping can help others and make the world better. The rewards of good feelings are compounded!

The best way to influence others to do this is by example. No one wants to be told what to do or have someone wag their finger with shame at them.

But, by making your choices matter, and shouting out the back-end benefits of your purchases, these actions can inspire friends and family to think about where their stuff comes from too! Share stories of the brands you love that give back to charity or support important causes.

This is a powerful way to spread kindness and help everyone see how fun it is to shop with heart.

Importance of Empowering Black-Owned Businesses

Shopping at black-owned businesses is a powerful way to make a difference. It helps communities that for ages and even today that have been left out of the general conversations grow and thrive. When you buy from Black-owned shops, especially during the holiday season, you can really make an impact for small businesses that really deserve attention.

Did you know Black women remain the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs, more than doubling since August 2019. But, this group are the least financed by private loans and investors.

So, going out of your way to support this community can also create more jobs and bring more money into the community.


How to Choose Charitable Organizations to Support

It can be overwhelming to figure out what to look for when searching for charitable causes and organizations to support. Especially during the holidays, when everyone is ramping up their fundraising efforts. You also may be wary about the scammers, who are definitely looking to take advantage of people during this season. 

Here’s a quick list you can reference on how you can pick charities to support when you buy gifts:

  • Look for charities that match your values. Think about what matters most to you. Then, find groups that work on those things.
  • Check how charities use money. Use websites like Great Nonprofits to see if they spend wisely.
  • Listen to others. Ask friends or look online for which local charities people love.
  • Give to small businesses too. Buying from them can be like giving a gift to the whole community.
  • Pay attention during holidays. This time is great for helping kids learn about giving and caring.
  • Read about the charity’s work. Make sure they really do the good things they say they do.
  • Think global, act local. Even if you travel, you can help places by choosing local non – profits there.
  • Share your experiences. Tell others about the good charities you find.

How to find a non-profit organization near me

Looking to discover your local champions of change near your home that can directly impact your community?

Here are the recommended sites as your resource. Each site thoroughly vets their listings. We recommend you also use the checklist above to confirm when connecting with non-profits you choose to support. 

Great NonProfits

Great NonProfits is a website where you can find and rate charities. It helps travelers like you make smart choices when you want to help others. You care about the world, and this site shows which non-profit organizations do great work in places near you or far away.

Volunteer Match

VolunteerMatch helps you find ways to help others even when you’re on the go. If you want to make an impact without traveling far, their ENGin Program pairs volunteers with students over video chats.

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Dayvee Sutton is a national TV correspondent, host, and top expert who covers travel experiences, local cultures, and the environement.

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