When budgets are small or time is running out, many people turn to Do-It-Yourself options for holiday gifts. I know I’ve done it: from homemade soap to custom spice mixes, it’s fun to create something for people you love. It makes me feel like I’m giving of myself and still giving “something”. But, one thing I’ve learned through the process is that I actually end up spending at least as much money and certainly a ton of time putting those gifts together. This year, I thought about my options, and decided to try something a bit different: giving gifts that support others.

Supporting local businesses

This is always high on my list, but I made sure that this year our gifts came from shops owned locally, featuring products made locally as well. This means that products had less transportation costs and are tied to sustaining the community’s economy. For me, my favorite part of shopping locally means that I can create relationships with the shop owners and learn more about the products and producers they work with. I’ve found some of my favorite things this way and enjoy being able to share recommendations with friends – then it is a gift and a connection!

Supporting real crafters

I know I said that I’ve taken my turn a few times with DIY projects, but I’m just a casual crafter. Etsy certainly makes it easy to find those crafters that make my homemade soap look like a class experiment! I’ve also found with Etsy that sellers are eager and open to talk with you about the products they use and how they are working to be sustainable as well. This year, I took it a step further and connected with an incredibly talented crafter locally (double whammy!) so that we could meet in person to discuss the gift idea and ensure it is going to be perfect.

Supporting real impact

The holidays are also the end of the year when many nonprofits are running fundraising campaigns and preparing for the next year. I have given DonorsChoose.org gift cards as “thank you” gifts in the past (especially for speakers or presenters!) and enjoy hearing when someone writes back to tell me which project they funded and why. Razoo also has gift cards you can purchase online and email to recipients, and instead of giving to a classroom project like DonorsChoose.org, Razoo cards can be used to donate to over 1 Million organizations!

Whether you’re a Millennial, budget-conscious, DIY-specialist, or not, I certainly recommend these three options for your last-minute holiday shopping!

Photo: Flickr gazeronly


Last-Minute Gift Guide for Social Impact
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  • Louise

    You can also make social impact via online shopping using http://www.BookBenefit.org. They have many good causes from which to choose and many retailers (including most importantly Amazon).