The Alternative Holiday Gift Guide

December 11, 2016

I’m sure if you’re an avid blog reader, you’ve come across at least 10 different holiday gift guides in the last week. From Black Friday to Boxing Day, bloggers everywhere unite to spread the holiday discount cheer and also earn a nice affiliate income. I’m certainly not harping on any bloggers doing this. I’m the first person to support bloggers and entrepreneurs who are finding creative ways to make money, but this year it just didn’t feel right.

2016 has been a tough year, so instead of traditional gift giving, opt for a donation-based gift to one of these 8 incredible organizations.It’s been a rough year for most people, but I’ve found that giving back and showing gratitude has been the best way to combat this feeling. So in lieu of the $500 or so affiliate commission I’d make off a holiday gift guide, I wanted to use this space to encourage you to take a more alternative approach to gift giving this year.

I’m an avid believer that no gift is better than giving your time, but that isn’t always an option. Plus there’s so many organizations that have incredible volunteers but need fiscal support to keep running. This is even more imperative as government support for these organizations is put into question. So I’ve put together a list of organizations to donate to this year on your own behalf or on behalf of your family and friends. Of course this list is not completely comprehensive. There’s so many organizations out there that are in need of your support and it’s important to find the ones you believe in. These are just a few I’ve picked out because the causes are important to me.

Planned Parenthood

planned_parenthood_logo-svgI think it’s pretty obvious why this one is currently threatened. Planned Parenthood is one of the sole resources for women’s reproductive health in the US. Access to overall reproductive health information, birth control and in general just a safe space for women, Planned Parenthood is integral to over 50% of our population. Donate HERE.

National Parks Foundation

npf_newI’m obviously a total National Park junkie but it’s for good reason. These places need to be protected as a space where everyone in this country can reconnect with nature to find peace and relaxation. There’s a lot that divides us, but the parks belong to all of us and will hopefully remain a space that can bring us all together. Help protect them HERE.

Special Olympics

imgresThis is an organization that is near and dear to my heart. I grew up with a sister with special needs and have witnessed first-hand how important Special Olympics programs are to give kids and adults with special needs a place to connect and engage in activities. These programs don’t run without your support so please consider giving this underserved population a chance to build friendships and stay active. Support Special Olympics HERE.

The Humane Society + SPCA

human-societyIt’s no secret I’m kind of obsessed with animals, but for whatever reason not everyone feels the same way. There’s so many animals out there that need your support. The Humane Society is just one of the many organizations out there helping to stop animal cruelty, give pets in need a forever home and provide services for animals in need. Most places have a local Humane Society or SPCA so definitely check out what’s closest to your home to support grassroots needs.

International Medical Corp

international-medical-corpOne of the first responders to international crisis, the International Medical Corp is a key organization for providing quick and life-changing medical care to countries requiring medical assistance. From the earthquake in Haiti to the crisis in Syria, the IMC has saved countless lives by supporting medical help, family support and job training to families in need. Donate HERE.

Hand In Hand for Syria

handhandsyriaIt is beyond crisis-mode in Syria and those who remain desperately need our help. Hand in Hand Syria is one of the few organizations providing on the ground support for families through food, medical help and basic supplies. The crisis here is not to be ignored or dismissed as a problem besides your own. They need our help, and they need it now. Find out how to donate to Hand in Hand HERE.

Green Peace + The Sierra Club

greenpeace-logoClimate change is ALL of our issues. It’s real, it’s happening and the actions we take today will without a doubt impact future generations. The North Pole was 36 degrees warmer than normal in November. And while we may be enjoying our balmy days, the increase in natural disasters is a testament to the fact that our planet cannot handle the way we’re treating it. We need organizations that can put pressure on our governments and industries to make decisions that work in the benefit of our planet. Green Peace and The Sierra Club are both powerful voices in this community and are a worthwhile cause to donate to.

Uphold Global

upholdThis is my friend Kelsey’s non-profit that supports grassroots organizations around the world that help children with physical and developmental disabilities. Kelsey knows first hand what it’s like to grow up with a physical disability, but that certainly hasn’t stopped her from being the most badass woman I know. She recognized all of the resources that she was able to get in growing up in North America and has set-out to bring these resources to children around the world. They’re currently supporting a school for kids with special needs in South Africa and are looking to expand beyond SA in 2017. Help support Uphold Global HERE.

Feel free to drop a link to any organization below that you believe needs more support! The more we can give, the merrier we’ll be!


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  • Reply
    Erica Berman
    December 11, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Nice! Giving is so much better than getting!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2016 at 10:04 am

    Honestly I felt overwhelmed by all the gift guides in my Bloglovin feed (and didn’t read most of them). Thank you for sharing an alternative guide!

    PS. Just downloaded your podcast and can’t wait to listen.

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      December 11, 2016 at 10:01 pm

      Yeahhhh me too. I was like “seriously?! Another foodie gift guide?! Wahhhhh”. Hope you love the podcast, babes! xox

  • Reply
    Julia @ Peanut Butter & Julia
    December 12, 2016 at 8:47 am

    Such a great post! I think the Christmas season is all about giving back 🙂

  • Reply
    December 12, 2016 at 9:53 am

    I LOVE this!!! I have switched to only giving to charities in honor of my parents for their birthdays. It means so much more to them!

  • Reply
    Stella @ Stellicious Life
    December 12, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Loved to see your personality shine through this post and see why these organizations matter to you. I love giving back and trying to make others’ holidays brighter. <3

  • Reply
    December 12, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    What a lovely idea!! I work in the nonprofit space and think this is such an important thing to consider this year. I would also throw the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) into the mix on the environmental/climate change front (https://www.nrdc.org/). Also important–support your local newspaper and/or favorite online news source!

    Thank you so much for sharing. Keep up the great work!

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      December 15, 2016 at 1:52 pm

      Yes! Another fabulous organization. Also love supporting local newspapers and/or radio. Especially given how much fake news is being generated, we need to support those actually taking the time to report what is really going on!

  • Reply
    Ashley | Fit Mitten Kitchen
    December 23, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    This is such a great post and awesome idea. I need to start giving more to charities, definitely.

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