Gifts that Give Back

Some links provided in this story are affiliate links.  

The holidays are here and if your gift list is longer than Santa’s, we’re here to help. The 2017 LLC Gift Guides will help you find the best gifts for everyone on your list leaving you time to spare! Today’s guide is for those of you who love to give but want less stuff. We know, our lives are so full but at the same time you like gifting and honoring those in your life this time of year. Gifts that give back are beautiful, practical, and most importantly, impactful. The following list has been curated from organizations and charities, both local and abroad.  Because we know children want to actually open a gift and not an envelope this guide will be heavy on the organizations that give you something tangible for your donation.

gifts that give back

Gifts that Give Back

Gifts that give back Locally

We are all about local so these will always be first on our list.

gears for giving

Gears for Giving

Bring a children’s museum to Lake County and give a brain building gift at the same time. Gears for Giving is a 65-piece Gear Building set available for just $10 to support the Busy Brains Children’s Museum. Pick one up at Green Kids Resale or purchase online.



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Photo Credit Dot Dot Dot Photography


Bernie’s Book Bank provides books to low-income children throughout the Chicagoland area. You can learn more about Bernie’s Book Bank in our meet the charity feature: Meet Bernie’s Book Bank.  They also allow children to volunteer in their book processing center and a great group of you joined us this past spring to do just that!  This holiday season you can give two at-risk children a year’s worth of books (12 books), for a $16 donation. It would be a great gift to give in the name of a favorite teacher in lieu of more apples and glue sticks. Or you can stick the donation notice in the front of a book for a child you love and talk about how they have books but not everyone around us does.







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Gifts that Give Back for Animals

gifts that give back


Give a Penguin….

… or sea turtle, or dolphin. No need to give up your bath tub, just Adopt-an-Animal from the Shedd Aquarium. Each adoption comes with a photo and the cost helps cover the animals care. For $50 or $75 you can also get an adorable plush animal, perfect for the kids who just can’t get enough stuffies! For more than fifty years the Shedd Aquarium has responded to animals in need giving them aid and care.

Available from $25 – $75 at the Shedd Aquarium website.




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Gifts that Give Back for Children

World Vision is a Christian Humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling causes of poverty and injustice. Their holiday gift catalog is filled with ways that you can donate to help villages around the world either through providing work for the people of the village creating products or by sending donations for specific items, such as farm animals or school supplies.  We received a variety of their handmade artisans items and they make great gifts for anyone on your list:


For the Fashionista:

Vietnamese Silk Scarf

Vietnam’s Ma Chau villagers weave these traditional silky smooth scarves, helping to provide them with a sustainable income with fair trade wages.

The World Vision catalog also has a large number of handcrafted artisan jewelry items. From bracelets to earrings and necklaces you will fins something for anyone no matter their style.





For the Hostess: 

Upcycled Artisanal Bowl

Upcycled from reclaimed industrial waste such as wires and metal, Artisans in India have hand bent and soldered each piece into inspirational shapes to create this artistic and elaborate bowl that is great as a decorative piece or to hold special items.






Pebble by Kahiniwalla employs 12,000 women and counting and provides them with fair wages for work within walking distance from their homes. Pebble’s aim is to provide employment which fits in within the rhythm of rural life, and stem the tide of economic migration to the cities and keep families together.

They make adorable knitted toys and hats like you see here. Starting at $7.99 and  going up. Available on their website.




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Minted has partnered with UNICEF USA with a collection of holiday cards inspired by their #GiveHope campaign. Besides being gorgeous 20% of the purchase from the collection will support UNICEF’s goal of putting children first in 190 countries and territories. Your purchase can give education, nutrition, health, water, relief, joy or a voice to children the world over.

Gifts that Give Back to Special Needs

Lambs Farm

Every purchase you make from the Lambs Farm shops or the Magnolia Cafe & Bakery goes to support programs at Lambs Farms.  Lambs Farm provides housing, jobs and supports for adults with special needs and developmental delays. They products in their shop make great gifts and are all handmade with care by the people Lambs Farm.

Purchase online or at the shop in Libertyville.


What are some of your favorite gifts that give more?

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Disclosure: Some links provided in this story are affiliate links. Little Lake County will earn a portion of sales made through these links and use them to run the site. Thank you for clicking!

We received samples of some featured products in order to facilitate the reviews mentioned in the story. All thoughts and opinions are our own. Placement in this guide was not paid for.


About Melissa Haak 626 Articles
Melissa is mom to 4. She used to dream of traveling the world, now she dreams of a clean kitchen. She can be found on most social media sites as @PBinmyHair because with this much hair and four kids, you're bound to find something in it.

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