The holidays are upon us at last, which means we’re busy making our lists and checking them twice. But perhaps you should check once more ― is there a chance you might be missing someone? Or rather, something? In this season of goodwill, it’s important to consider how you might give back to those who are less fortunate.
Leadership teams at major companies have been asking themselves that same question, and in recent years have sought to answer in an awesome way ― with big social-impact campaigns, not just during the holidays, but year-round.
We’ve partnered with Verizon Wireless to give a special shoutout to these companies that give back, often as part of purchases consumers make. Here’s your chance to support their good deeds, and hopefully encourage other businesses to follow suit.
For The Nephew: Bears For Humanity
When your brother and his toddler live a thousand miles away, you need to invest in gifts that can provide a little in-person surrogate love. Bears for Humanity has your back; one of the stuffed-toy maker’s oh-so-soft plush cuties will not only be your nephew’s new best friend, it’ll also provide companionship to a less fortunate child elsewhere, thanks to the company’s one-for-one program. Factor in the bears’ organic, fair trade materials and the company’s Welfare-to-Work–sourced employees, and you get a gift that’s doing a whole lot of good.
For The Friend Who’s Always 15 Minutes Late: WeWOOD Watch
We guarantee your perennially late pal will be all too happy to take the hint if you gift him this super-stylish WeWOOD watch made predominantly from sustainably sourced timber. And he can feel even better knowing that your purchase is going a long way for the environment: In partnership with nonprofit organizations like Trees for the Future, the Florence, Italy-based company behind the wooden timepieces plants a tree for every watch sold. By its own count, WeWOOD has planted over 440,000 as of November 2016, with a goal of reaching 1 million by 2020.
For The Germ-Averse Sister: Soapbox Soaps
Your sister washes her hands a touch more frequently than the average bear, but you can’t really blame her, the flu’s been knocking good men and women out the game left and right this year. What you can do is make sure she’s using the best of the best when she’s sudsing up. Soapbox Soaps’ paraben-free products are crafted with ingredients like shea butter, and the company sends a bar of soap to an individual in need with every regular purchase ― track exactly where in the world your donation soap goes with this great webpage ― while also working with local soap makers in developing countries.
For The Hipster Neighbor: Skyline Socks
Your teenage neighbor has a throwback sense of style, that’s for sure ― he wears high-hemmed pants that are 100 percent Urkel-approved, pairing them with fun socks. Reward him for all the work he’s done around the yard this holiday season with a pair of Skyline Socks. You’ll appreciate the wide selection of well over a dozen city-specific skylines. He’ll enjoy the soft combed cotton and generous lower-leg coverage. As another company that employs the one-for-one model, Skyline donates socks to the needy of the city represented by the pair that was sold.
$12.95, NY White
For The Style-Conscious Dad: Mission Belt
Buying gifts for your dad has basically been one-stop shopping ever since “Mad Men” first premiered ― he can’t get enough of period-based natty menswear. Make him the happiest wannabe ’50s-era ad exec this side of the 21st century with a cool no-hole leather belt from the Mission Belt Co., a company that goes one step further by harnessing $1 from every purchase to fight hunger and poverty. So far, Mission Belts has financed 45,000 microloans, proving that the “teach a man to fish” axiom will always be in style.
For The Coworker BFF Who Needs To Block Out Distractions: LSTN Headphones
Everyone in the office likes Karen from the marketing department; she always has the best gossip on the higher-ups. It’s just that sometimes assignments need to be squared away, yet she continues to gab. Help your BFF in the next cubicle send Karen a subtle message with a pair of handcrafted LSTN headphones. Made out of premium materials like ebony wood, LSTN provides a quality product while giving back at the same time ― proceeds from every purchase go to the Starkey Hearing Foundation, which has helped provide hearing aids to people in developing countries.
$39.99, Ebony Avalon Earbuds w/ Mic
For The Aunt Who Loves Posting Affirmations On Facebook: The Giving Keys
“Live, Laugh, Love.” OK, so the flowery messages your favorite aunt has a penchant for posting on your wall may be a little corny, but you definitely appreciate the good intentions behind them. She’ll be over the moon if you get her a beautiful repurposed key necklace from The Giving Keys. Not only is the jewelry sustainable and customizable ― the pieces can be engraved with positive messages ― but the Los Angeles–based company also works with local organizations to employ people who are homeless. And Giving Keys jewelry is meant to eventually be given away, so your aunt can pay it forward and keep spreading good energy.
$42, Classic Necklace
For You Your S.O.: One Hope Wine
To borrow a line from everyone’s favorite TV show, winter is coming. Secure all the provisions necessary to make it through another teeth-chattering season of snow, including a thick fleece blanket, a subscription to HBO, a special someone and, most importantly, a nice bottle of cabernet sauvignon to split with your boo. And to enhance the warm, cozy feelings, consider sourcing the juice from the stellar Napa, Calif.-based One Hope, a winery and social enterprise that gives away half of its profits. (Each wine varietal supports a different charity.) You might want to tell your partner not to take any extended vacations without you anytime soon. She could come back to find that you’ve finished the bottle (and that unbelievable season finale) without her.
Give back this season, or any time of the year when you buy a new device. Donate your old phone to HopeLine by Verizon and help victims of domestic violence.