I love that the internet has forced companies to be more transparent, and that we as consumers increasingly have opportunities to spend our money on products that support living wages, environmentally sound production, minority empowerment, give-backs, and/or all of the above.
BALANCING BUDGET & CAUSES
Some of these items are more expensive than the versions made by standard production because it costs more to pay people properly or use higher quality, more conscientious production.
I don't buy all my gifts or purchases from these organizations, but I make a point to buy at least some from them, even if that means fewer gifts under the tree. My daughter cares deeply about the environment, so WWF and 4Ocean are my go-tos for her. Mom cares about empowering those who've been abused, so Sudara for her. I've been wanting to buy my (blind) husband something from 2 Blind Brothers for a while now, and he really needs clothes this year, so it works out well. I adore IRC's highly rated work with refugees, and have sometimes asked people to make my gift an item from their Rescue Store in my name.
Even if you can only purchase one impact gift, that's one less item supporting slave labor or pollutant manufacturing or systemic oppression.
SHOP BY CATEGORY & IMPACT
Gifts for All Ages - Fair Trade, Individual Artists, Conservation
One World - Fair trade and recycled games, jewelry, housewares, etc.
Uncommon Goods - UG includes handmade, upcycled, fair trade, and other unique gifts.
Ten Thousand Villages - Lovely handmade items that have been positively impacting communities around the world for a couple decades
GlobeIn - Handmade, fair trade gifts and housewares from around the world
World Wildlife Fund - Clothes and gifts to support endangered animal populations and ecosystems
4Ocean - T-shirts, bracelets, reusable straws, and other gift items fund 4Ocean's ocean clean-up efforts. As of this writing (11/26/19), they have removed 7,192,443 pounds of plastic waste.
Toys - Fair Trade & Give-Backs
Change the World - This is a collection of several Fair Trade shops from around the world.
Oompa - Great collection of fair trade toys for babies and young children
Cuddle + Kind - Handmade, fair trade dolls for infants and young children - each doll purchase provides 10 meals to children in need
Clothes - Fair Trade, Green, Empowerment, & Give-backs
Pact - Clothes and linens for adults & children that meet fair trade, safe chemical processes, water conservation, and community investment standards (They're having a great "Green" Friday sale)
2 Blind Brothers - Empowerment & give-back gifting: Owned and operated by two blind brothers: clothes and accessories with tactile cues for sighted or vision impaired adults and kids with proceeds going to solutions to retinal diseases and/or guide dogs. Fun fact: you can shop blind and have them select a gift within your parameters, or you can create your own shop blind collection and share it with friends
Sudara - Fair trade clothing for all ages that supports sex trafficking survivors and sex trafficking prevention
Design by Humans - Empowerment: Owned and operated by people with disabilities, DbH offers sassy T-shirts with empowering messages for people with disabilities
Rebirth Garments - Empowerment: Clothing for everyone of every gender, body type, and physical ability
Krochet Kids - Handmade clothes for all ages and crocheted animals empower women to break the cycle of poverty
VIDA - Women's clothing and accessories made in fair trade facilities with proceeds funding literacy programs - my clothing collection is produced by VIDA. They have a fantastic Black Friday Sale.
Food Gifts - Empowerment, Fair Trade
Em's Coffee - Owned and operated by people with disabilities, Em's coffee sells & ships coffee in bulk
Women's Bean Project - U.S. located nonprofit supporting economic mobility to help women break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families
Fair Trade Chocolate - Want chocolate that doesn't rely on child slavery for harvesting crops? This link leads you to lots of choices.
Gifts for Special Medical Needs - Empowerment
Pretty Sick Supply - PSS is owned and operated by people with disabilities and provides comfort and gift items for those with chronic illnesses, special medical needs, and disabilities. They have awesome eyepatches, compression sleeves, T-shirts, jewelry, etc. They also have a line of empowering items for depression/suicide attempt survivors.
Donations in the Name Of - Give-back
International Rescue Committee (IRC) - If you have people on your list who would love to see positive, humanitarian efforts made in their name, the Rescue Store is a way to select a specific gift (blanket, nonelectric lamp, newborn baby kit, year of school for a girl, etc.) for refugees and at-risk groups. IRC is my all-time favorite nonprofit, and consistently earns ratings in the 90th percentile by independent watchdog agencies for how directly they apply their budget to their mission statement.
IDignity - If you have a loved one in Central Florida trying to get on their feet and in need of help restoring identification documents, IDignity can help. If you or someone you love might want to help others access jobs, voting rights, medications, etc. by restoring their lost/stolen documents, you can donate in that person's name.