Holiday Gift Guide 2018: The best charitable gifts

From llama ornaments and pretty perfume to hand-stitched purses and cute plush animals, these gifts give back this holiday season


Sabbara clutch

Run by Syrian women, Sabbara is a social enterprise that provides economic and mental health support to Syrian women and children. Hand-embroidered by a Syrian woman who has been displaced by violence, these clutches are modern takes on centuries-old Aleppan and Damascene textile traditions, and 95 percent of the proceeds go back to supporting other women. These clutches and other wares from Sabbara can be purchased at the Likely General Holiday Market running from December 13 to 16. Price available upon request.

December 13 to 16. 6 pm-8 pm. Likely General (389 Roncesvalles), sabbara.org

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“Not Forgotten” Infinity Shawl

This colourful shawl designed by Sioux artist Maxine Noel honours and remembers missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada. The piece benefits the Native Women’s Association of Canada, which supports and promotes the socio-economic and cultural well being of Indigenous women, girls and non-binary folks in Canada.

$25, nwac.ca

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Adopt a cute plush dog

Instead of surprising someone with a puppy this holiday, get them the plush version instead. Named Judy, this cute pooch was inspired by a real life stray dog that was rescued by the Ontario SPCA alongside her six siblings when she was just three weeks old. When you purchase this toy, you also get an official adoption certificate.

$40, pawsandgive.ca

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I’m Library People t-shirt

Show both the book nerd on your list and your local library some love with this t-shirt. For 50 bucks, you can get them a cool I’m Library People t-shirt, a pin, plus a $20 donation to the Toronto Public Library Foundation, which operates programs that are not funded by the city, like their home library service that brings books to the elderly and home-bound and their tutoring program for newcomer students. 

$50, tplfoundation.ca

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Adopt a species or landscape

The Nature Conservancy of Canada protects and manages areas of natural diversity across the country. For the holidays, support the work of this organization by symbolically adopting a Canadian species – such as polar bears, snowy owls or grizzly bears – or landscape, including the Arctic, Great Lakes and Rockies. Adoptions start at $40 and gift packages include NCC’s full-colour 2019 calendar, a 10-page landscape booklet and a certificate. 

$40, giftsofnature.ca

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The 7 Virtues perfumes

If you’re thinking of buying someone perfume this season, why not pick one that’s vegan and made by a business working with farming cooperatives in Afghanistan, Haiti, the Middle East and Rwanda to help rebuild communities? The 7 Virtues is a Halifax-based company. The farmers they work with earn as much as 2.5 times the income of the next crop, enabling them to earn a real living for their families. For a classic holiday scent, we suggest Afghanistan Orange Blossom layered with notes of freesia and jasmine. 

$70/50 mL, the7virtues.com

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Line on the Line print

Launched in November, the Life on the Line art campaign aims to raise awareness and funds for mental health. Designed by 20 Toronto artists across disciplines, the posters will be displayed on the subway until January, but you can buy your favourite print for someone this holiday season. Eighty percent of all sales go to the Canadian Mental Health Association Toronto’s Holiday Gift Program, which buys gifts and necessities for people struggling with their mental health. The remaining 20 percent goes to the individual artists.

$28, ttcshop.ca

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Give a goat

Help feed a family buy purchasing a goat, which produces milk and helps fertilize crops. Through OXFAM, the global organization working to end poverty, you can give goats, sheep, pigs, chickens and other animals to those in need. 

$58/goat, unwrapped.oxfam.ca

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Llama ornaments

Add some flair to your Christmas décor with these adorable handmade llama ornaments from Ecuador. Sold as a set of five, ornament sales benefit ME to WE, a partner of WE that supports over 1,800 artisans and makers, and their families and communities through education, clean water, healthcare, food security and financial opportunity. 

$38, shop.metowe.com

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Help a Canadian seal

The World Animal Protection is a Toronto-based charity that helps animals across the planet, including rescuing thousands of animals from natural disasters and conflicts, and supporting campaigns to end trafficking. For the holidays, they have a number of campaigns accepting donations, like helping to free marine animals from discarded fishing gear or rescued bears in their Pakistan sanctuary medication and a meal. 

From $25, worldanimalprotection.ca  

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