Gifts That Give Back

I cannot resume blogging today without talking about the tragedy that occurred in Connecticut yesterday that is consuming my thoughts and prayers. Reading the headlines and articles about the shooting yesterday evoked a sense of extreme sadness in my heart, but a sadness that is surely incomparable to aching that will forever remain in the hearts of those with family and friends who lost their lives yesterday. I cannot begin to comprehend a situation like this and I can only offer my deepest sympathy and prayers.


Gifts that Give Back

On Thursday, at the end of my Gigantic PBF Gift Guide, I put out a call for gifts that give back in some way. I heard back from a bunch of you who volunteer with generous organizations, own a small business that gives back or simply fell in love with a quality product made by a company that cares.

Below you will find many of the gifts suggested to me, along with links and brief descriptions of the items and information about the charities and organizations they support.

Bear Hug Stationary

This Etsy shop features stationery that was created by some amazing designers from Minted!

All proceeds from this shop will be donated to the Red Cross. As of December 11, the stationary has raised more than $1,420! The shop hopes to reach their fundraising goal of $2,000!

Balls of Steel

Balls of Steel are premium drink coolers with a cause. Ball of Steel – forged form the highest quality Stainless Steel – are the envy of ice everywhere. Place your Balls into a glass of your favorite spirits, roll them around, remove, and enjoy your drink at the perfect temperature. Balls of Steel chill your whiskey or spirits faster than ice, without diluting the flavor.

Fifteen percent of all net sales revenue goes directly towards testicular cancer research and testicular cancer communities.

Brighter Day Clutchpersonalized clutch

This Etsy shop features custom handmade clutches for weddings and everyday life.

Ten percent of the proceeds that come from sales are donated to the International Justice Mission, which works to secure justice for victims of modern-day slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression.

THREADS turquoise bracelet

Threads features beautiful bracelets made by at risk youth.

“Threads is a cause-driven business that changes the future of at risk youth. They come from various backgrounds, but all have one thing in common, they want to break the cycle. By employing them, we instill values of self reliance and hard work. They are paid fair wages for the bracelets they make, and in turn are able to pay their way through school. Many of Threads employees are first generation college students. They dream of becoming nurses, broadcasters, writers and engineers.”

Headbands for Hope

Headbands of Hope features a variety of adorable headbands!

For every headband purchased, one is donated to a girl with cancer and one is given to St. Baldricks to raise money for cancer research.


Each year, Food for the Hungry produces a gift catalog that allows people in the developed world to give a much needed gift (i.e. de-worming medicine, a goat, chickens, etc.) to a person in need in one of 26 countries across the globe.

United by Blue Scarf

United By Blue features apparel, bags and accessories for men, women and children.

For every product sold, United by Blue removes one pound of trash from the world’s oceans and waterways.

isanctuary necklaces

Features stunning jewelry, including necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

iSanctuary features jewelry made by survivors of human trafficking. According to blog reader Gretchen, an iSanctuary volunteer, “The price points are fantastic and their slogan is ‘purchase with purpose.’”

Dancing with the Pen

Dancing With The Pen is an anthology of poetry, stories, and essays written by students in middle school and high school from across the nation.

According to the book’s author, “For every book sold, we are donating a new book to a disadvantaged youth! Both hard copies and ebooks are available.”

crystal necklace

This Etsy shop features original jewelry designed by Tamara Lee.

For every piece of Lively Happenings jewelry sold in December, Tamara is donating a piece of jewelry to Strings for Hope. Proceeds from Strings for Hope, a non-profit based in Nashville where designers create one-of-a-kind pieces out of guitar strings, are donated to food distribution programs and healthcare clinics in Kentucky and Tennessee and Honduras, Haiti, India, Dominican Republic and Africa.

baking steel

“Create the crust you crave.” The Baking Steel is said to make one heck of a phenomenal pizza crust.

A portion of profits made from the Baking Steel sales are donated to the Greater Boston Food Bank to help with hunger relief efforts.


Kauzbots are fun, plush toys that help support different “kauzes.” Each Kauzbot supports a different organization and function as a fun way to teach children about giving, charities and compassion.

Ten percent of the sale price from all Kauzbots, keychains, and apparel are used to benefit the work of a non-profit focused on the “Kauze” (cause) closest to the robot’s heart.


  1. Lindsay says

    I read here every day but don’t know if I’ve ever commented. I just wanted to say that I think this is a great post. Not only does this support several great causes, but it also gives me a few ideas for last minute Christmas gifts. Thanks Julie!


  2. says

    Love the theme of this post. When I buy gifts that give back, it’s usually just a plus and isn’t my main motive. There are so many items on this list that I know people would love though. I think people would really appreciate knowing they’re getting a gift that is more than just for them. Thanks for sharing!!


  3. Fizz says

    This is wonderful, thanks Julie! It’s nice to know there are so many people out there doing good things. Times like this it’s hard but important to remember that there is so much good in the world. This post came at a great time!


  4. Alex says

    I’m SOOOOO glad you posted this!!! I ordered the balls of steel for my dad because he loves whiskey! I hope it comes in time for christmas.
    I have gotten a lot of christmas gift ideas from you. I ordered the compression shorts and sleeves for my mom for christmas, both of which I learned about from you!


  5. Cindy says

    Thank you for addressing the CT tragedy. I only follow a handful of blogs daily and yours is one of them. As soon as I read about what happened yesterday I went straight to those blogs that I follow to see if they had written anything. As of this morning only 2 had addressed the CT shootings and I found great comfort in reading yours this morning. I wish selective and loyal readers like me could express how much what you (and other bloggers) write means to me/us. So, again, thank you.


    • Tess says

      Agreed. I also read a small handful and honestly will mostly skim this one (sorry Julie). But it’s always guaranteed to have a new post so it’s kind of a go-to for me if I’m looking for something a 2am (I’m an insomniac). But out of the five or six I like o read? Two. Disappointing. I do not want kittens and rainbows. Today? I want an acknowledgment that you are human, too.


      • Ariana says

        Absolutely. I, personally, am so saddened just by reading things over and over again, but it’s still a comfort to know that it’s recognized. Too many babies were taken yesterday; too many perfect souls entered heaven…20 precious little angels. I just read the list of names of the victims. I don’t know them so it doesn’t mean anything to me. But for some reason, just seeing a NAME, paired with an age and a birthday, just brings a whole new wave of sadness. I don’t know those people, but I do know that they were innocent people. Long discussions are necessary right now, but a quick acknowledgement, a nod to the obvious, a “yes, I know. I heard, And I hurt for them too”….very needed.


        • Carrie says

          Ariana~ I agree. Seeing the names and ages was difficult and brought another level of sadness. If that is how I feel, I can’t imagine how those in the town and the friends and families of the victims feel. Unimaginable. 🙁

          I echo the sentiments of others. For some reason it is just a bit comforting to hear some kind word from bloggers (as it is
          news outlets, media, etc). Even SNL did
          that beautiful tribute to tonight. Touching.
          People need one another when these unfathomable situations occur. Thank you for acknowledging Julie.


    • Melissa says

      I agree, thank you for addressing this. As a close resident of CT, and a school employee, this has been weighing heavy on my heart. It is comforting to hear others acknowledging this tragedy, and sending thoughts and prayers to these families as well.


  6. says

    What a great list that I know I will be referring back to for gifts throughout the year. The balls of steel were funny, but even better when I saw where they donate their $$$! 🙂 I also really like the personalized bags from Brighter Day. Great gift!


  7. Kayley Brabender says

    I love your gift lists! Thank you 🙂 What type of lip liner did you buy with your red lipstick? I think I’m going to take the plunge and try red for the holidays!


  8. says

    Thank you for including us over at Threads 🙂 We love our kids and are so grateful for the amount of support we’ve received. Have a great holiday!!!



  9. says

    Wowww I just LOVE what the handmade clutch etsy shop and iSanctuary stands for! A friend of mine does iSanctuary to raise awareness, and I just think it’s awesome that more people are getting involved in helping the cause for modern day slavery abolition.


  10. says

    Thanks again for doing this post & featuring my shop, Lively Happenings, & the work I’m doing with Strings for Hope, it means so much!

    My heart breaks for those families affected by this devastating tragedy. I have said many prayers for the friends & families affected. My Uncle, shared this verse with us, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”. Ps34:18 My thoughts and prayers continue.


  11. Annie Mac says

    My prayers go out to all those affected in Newtown.
    On another note, a friend of mine started this company that sells super cute tote bags AND profits benefit girls’ education around the world! Here’s the website if you’re interested!


  12. Liz says

    Absolutely love this post! This is the reason this is one of my favorite blogs. I would have never known about these organizations otherwise. And, I still have some Christmas shopping to do so thanks for the great ideas!


  13. says

    The CT Shooting makes my heart ache for those affected. To think of all the families who had gifts for those children under the Christmas tree makes me feel so sad and devastated! Show your love this Christmas to those you love and be thankful for having them around!


  14. Taylor says

    I love this. you can find so many gifts that Give Back, I think it is the perfect way to shop for the holidays. I’m such a sucker for a good cause, and I can always find that little extra I don’t think I have, because I know somebody else will need it more. For this holiday season, I had found Feed Just One ( They sell tshirts, and for every tshirt you buy, 30 meals are able to be purchased for a group of girls they support. It’s only 30 girls out of the whole world, but you have to start somewhere. They had a goal to sell enough shirts to feed these girls through all of 2013, and they reached that well before Christmas! I was happy to contribute this this cause.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *