5 socially conscious gifts you can put under the tree

We’ve put together a list of Christmas gifts that pack an ethical punch—check out these gifts that really keep giving
  • By: Lindy Brown
child holds christmas lights in their hand

When it comes to giving a gift, it has always been the thought that counts! This year, why not show the ones you love that you are not only thinking about them, but also the environmental and ethical impact that giving has by giving a socially conscious gift this Christmas.

We love that Canadians are choosing more handmade, sustainable, fairtrade, eco-friendly and ethically sourced gifts than ever before. More and more Canadians are also choosing to give a donation in someone’s name to a cause they believe in.

If you want to do both this year, check out this list of Gifts of Compassion that are great partners for socially conscious gifts! Keep this list in mind while you browse the local Christmas markets this year.

little boy laughs under a clean water spout

Makibale stands under a new water tap.

1. We all need water

Clean Water: $50

Nothing is more critical for the health and survival of the world’s most vulnerable than access to clean water. This gift provides solutions to communities worldwide in the form of wells, rainwater filtering systems and water filters—whatever works best in the context of that community.

Gift pairing: A reusable water bottle is the perfect way to show someone you’re thinking of them at school, at the office or on the go while giving them the chance to make an impact in a global community!

young boy holds a baby goat in his arms

Daniel holds a goat gifted to his family.

2. Supporting small local businesses

Income Generation Fund: $50

The last few years have been difficult economically for many people–especially small business owners. Give someone living in poverty the opportunity to re-train or learn a skill that will change their life! This gift provides business skills training and resources to start generating a steady income from businesses like beekeeping or small-scale farming.

Gift pairing: Why not give this gift with something made by a craftsperson or small artisan food producer in your own community to show your support of small businesses locally and globally! Consider gifts like locally made soap, reusable beeswax wrap, pottery or candles.

Two teen girls hold a stack of text books

Ripa and Eti show off a stack of new textbooks available in their Compassion centre library.

3. A really good book

Textbooks: $40

It’s hard to reach your academic potential without access to up-to-date textbooks and motivating reading material! This gift will help outfit a Compassion centre library with up to one shelf of new books to help build literacy and bright futures for their whole community.

Gift pairing: A favourite book that celebrates compassion, faith and hope is a great way to bring this gift to the next level! Here are some great books that Compassion Canada staff suggest:

  • Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri (youth through adult)
  • Peace like a River by Leif Enger (adult)
  • The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (children)

…and if you want to go the extra mile, try thrifting one of these or another favourite book to gift!

Girl wearing blue and pink stands smiling in a vegetable garden filled with seedlings

Hosiana stands smiling in her grandmother’s vegetable garden.

4. The gift of green

Vegetable Seeds: $50

Extreme weather and fragile supply chains contribute to food insecurity and extreme hunger. Enable a family in poverty to access nutritious food and even provide another source of income by giving vegetable seeds and equipment to start a home garden. Growing food at a small, sustainable scale means long-term food security and less environmental impact.

Gift pairing: A window-sill herb garden kit or houseplant is a great way to cheer up your loved one’s home in the winter. You can even consider dividing one of your own plants to make an even ‘greener’ Christmas gift!

Verenice is wearing a light gray and white dress with a pink and purple pattern on the front. She is sitting at a table with her mother, sister, and niece. They are all eating food that Maritza made using supplies they received from Compassion.

Verenice enjoys a meal with her family.

5. A great meal

Meal for a Family: $10

With hunger on the rise around the world, the gift of a meal for a family is a small but impactful gift that can make a world of difference for families living in poverty. The gift of a meal can help pull families from the brink of starvation, or ensure their kids can stay in school.

Gift pairing: A cookbook or a reclaimed wood cutting board is a great way to top this gift off! Or, if you normally take friends or family out for a meal as a gift, consider gifting a simpler home-cooked meal instead and changing a life with the money you saved.

A thoughtful gift is the best gift of all, no matter what it is! Display to others the heart of Jesus for this world and the people He made by choosing socially conscious gifts this Christmas.

Give good gifts