Do you have a gift in mind?

Bloomingdales bear

I don’t know how it happens, but Christmas day sneaks up on me. Every. Single. Year. I thought that by counting down the days with advent of good things this year that it wouldn’t happen, but it has. And so, I have a few last minute gifts to get and not much time to get them.

So today I ordered a couple of these little guys. Very cute, and a bargain too. And for every one sold, Bloomingdales make a donation to the wonderful Child Mind Institute. This is a fantastic organization doing amazing things, and is the only non-profit in the USA focusing solely on youth mental health. Founded by a group of NYU psychologists, the organization is devoted to transforming mental health care for children all over the world to help them reach their full potential. If you have children, they are a great resource too, as I’m reliably informed by my good friend Dallas at Skilled With Kids, that they run some awesome (and free) parenting workshops.

Do you have any last minute gift ideas? What gifts are you looking forward to receiving? Does it make a gift even more special when it does good for someone else? Let me know what you think.

Oh, and one last thing, I will also be tuning into this Homeless Memorial from the Mission this evening. I can’t be there in person, but will be thinking about the homeless who never made it home.

Gifts that give back

I happened to go past Bloomingdales today – one of New York’s ‘best department stores‘. The holiday season is in full swing and this year, as part of Advent of Good Things, I have decided to buy as many gifts ‘that give back’ as possible, and I have included some great links below if you’d like to do the same. But I really needed a few presents for those hard to buy for people to send back to the UK. So I went in. Before I go any further I must explain that I really dislike shopping. Hate is a strong word, but I have used it in the same sentence as ‘shopping’ on numerous occasions.

The shopping experience in Bloomingdales is very American. There’s a woman whose job it is to say ‘Welcome to Bloomingdales’ to everyone who walks through the door. Everyone. And that’s a lot of people. The store is so big you need to download an app to find your way around. I walked around and got lost (I didn’t download the app), felt annoyed, and left empty handed. As I was leaving I noticed almost everyone else coming through the door had giant smiles and faces full of excitement and anticipation… people just love to shop!

It made me realise that for me, gifts that give back are definitely the way to go. It’s so easy and you can find something for pretty much everyone. I say pretty much as we all have those people who are particularly difficult to buy for and so in the end I had to go to a normal store to pick up a couple of last gifts. Even then though there was an opportunity to do my one good thing – as I was paying the cashier asked me if I would like to make a donation on top of my purchase, so in the end, that was also a gift that gave back.

Great gifts that give back:

Everyone loves a good bag – especially one that is helping children achieve their dreams.

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Will Bags Wax Coated Dome backpack, ($175

Wax Coated Dome backpack from Will Bags ($175) – helping kids achieve their dreams. I have this bag and I love it.

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Stage Bags Ashton Bag, $150

The Ashton – from State Bags ($150) For every backpack sold they had deliver one to a child in need.

Charity gifts – from an Oxfam goat to a Kiva loan. There are so many charity gifts to give. Make it personal by choosing something specific to the person you are gifting to. If they are a nature or wildlife fan try Animal Adoption, if they are a family loving erm… family, why not sponsor a child through Save the Children or World Vision. (as part of his gifts this year our little one will be sponsoring a child – not sure how Santa will driver that one yet!)

Twillory Shirt

Twillory Blue Royal panama Shirt $79

For the man who has everything, how about a Twillory Shirt? They’ll also get a pre-paid mailer bag in which they are encourage to re-gift an old gently warn garment – all they have to do is put it in the envelope and drop it in the mail. Twillory in partnership with CareerGear will inspect, launder and repackage your donated goods for distribution to those in need helping the jobless, homeless and disaster stricken, both at home and abroad.

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ladies Timex Watch, United By Blue, $88

Anything from United By Blue, such as this ladies Timex Watch ($88). The company are dedicated to helping the environment. For every product sold, UBB removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways through company organized and hosted cleanups. (Tip: they also sell socks!)

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Sevenly Limited Edition Together Were Stronger Flowy Long Sleeve Tee, $36

A graphic tee from Sevenely who donate $7 dollars for every purchase to a different charity every week.

Here are some more great gifts that give back ideas from a round the web:

http://www.kitchencounterchronicle.com/holiday-giving-holiday-gifts-give-back/

http://www.popsugar.com/moms/Kids-Gifts-Give-Back-25977951#photo-25977951

http://homewiththeboys.net/guide-gifts-that-give-back/