Holiday Gift Guide: Top Globally Conscious Items To Give Loved Ones This Year

Traveling the world can open your eyes to larger issues than whether you bought the perfect holiday sweater or which shoes you should add to your already extensive collection. Fortunately, giving holiday gifts can be a selfless activity this holiday season, thanks to globally-conscious items that make perfect presents but also benefit worldwide charities. Chose from a selection of artistic and travel-savvy gifts that promote education, health and artistic efforts across the globe.

To help you shop smart and ethically, here is Epicure & Culture’s 2014 globally conscious holiday gift guide:

holiday gift guide

Scrubba Bag in Use. Photo courtesy of Scrubba Bag.

Support Water Projects In Developing Nations & Keep Your Clothes Clean On The Go With A Pocket-Sized Travel Washer

Wash your clothes on the go, anywhere and everywhere, with an environmentally friendly, pocket-sized wash bag. Scrubba wash bag uses no electricity and minimal water, which allows travelers to keep your clothes clean on the go. This 5 oz. device uses hundreds of resilient nodules to serve as a flexible washboard that provides a machine-quality clean in less than 3 minutes.

When not being used to wash clothes, the device can separate dirty clothes between washes or keep your gear dry. Thus Scrubba allows you to pack lighter, travel cleaner and avoid laundry fees. Furthermore, a portion of the profits are donated to well and sanitation system projects in developing countries, such as Bangladesh and Ethiopia. Click here to check out the Scrubba wash bag in use and click here to purchase it for $54.95.

holiday gift guide

Cape function of the Chrysalis Cardigan. Photo courtesy of Encircled.

Clean Up Beaches & Lighten Your Suitcase With A Multi-way Dress/Cardigan/Scarf

Do you want a piece of clothing that can be styled as a cardigan, cape, classic infinity scarf, tunic, top and a one-shoulder gown? Thanks to Encircled, a line of women’s travel apparel, your suitcase can be lightened dramatically with a Chrysalis Cardi Cardigan. This innovative cardigan uses hidden snaps along the hemline to provide a half dozen different looks and promotes sustainability in several ways.

The piece is made from a luxuriously soft, biodegradable blend of Modal, made through a closed loop process where waste water is reused instead of reintroduced into the environment. The company uses organic cotton tags, low impact dyes and reusable shipping bags, made from recycled materials. Furthermore, 8% of the proceeds from the sale go to the Surfrider Foundation, which helps clean up beaches, oceans and reefs, globally. Click here to purchase the Chrysalis Cardi for $123.

Epicure & Culture readers can save 10% site-wide with the exclusive discount code GIFTED. This coupon code is valid until December 26, 2014. Only one coupon code per purchase.

holiday gift guide

Insect Shield Blanket to improve malaria prevention. Photo courtesy of Insect Shield.

Save Kids From Malaria & Protect Yourself With An Insect Blanket

Keep yourself warm and protected from dangerous insects while sharing these benefits with others, by purchasing an Insect Shield blanket during its holiday “Super Hero” Blanket campaign. Stay safe during your travels or camping trips with blankets that defend against against mosquitoes, ticks and other insects that can carry diseases like malaria, dengue fever and Lyme.

During the holiday’s “Super Hero” Blanket campaign, every blanket bought online will put two in the hands of children in malaria-risk areas, such as Malawi, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Cambodia, Philippines, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Haiti and Nicaragua. Insect Shield’s partner, Medical Teams International, will deliver the blankets. This global health organization that sends more than 200 volunteer teams each year to provide disaster relief and medical and dental care for impoverished people worldwide. Purchase blankets for $34.95, which includes a blanket for you and two for charity.

holiday gift guide

Herb Spoon Set. Photo courtesy of ARTICLE22.

Support Village Development & Clear Landmines In Laos With Herb Markers For Your Garden

If you want an organized herb garden that makes a positive global impact, consider buying Herb Garden Markers from ARTICE22. This brand designs high-end jewelry and home collections out of recycled Vietnam War bombs and weapon material from Laos, the world’s most heavily bombed country. Founders Elizabeth Suda and Camille Hautefort became inspired to start the company after visiting Laos and seeing artists in the community creating soup spoons out of detonated bombs. Their belief in “trade, not aid” has helped sustain local artisans who produce all pieces and are paid four times the market rate. Furthermore, an additional 10% of profits support village development and each purchased item clears 3-square-meters or more of the bomb-littered land. Click here to purchase the Herb Garden Marker Spoon Set for $65 online here  and check out the companies’ selection of jewelry and other accessories.

holiday gift guide

Classic Cabled Mittens. Photo courtesy of CherryT Knit & Co.

Equip Children In Need & Warm Your Hands With Cabled Mittens

Winter comes with colder temperatures, so keep your hands and heart warm with Classic Cabled Mittens courtesy of CherryT Knit & Co. When you buy a pair of these handmade mittens, another pair will be donated to a North American child in need. These mittens are lovingly crafted with a mix of the finest wools, vintage hardware accents, and an extra-warm sherpa lining. Click here to buy the mittens for $79.

holiday gift guide

Inca Pack. Photo courtesy of Cotopaxi.

Improve Orphan Education In Bolivia With The Purchase of A Daypack

Get equipped for your next adventure with Cotopaxi’s line of outerwear, gear and backpacks. In addition to having an extensive selection and a lifetime guarantee, Cotopaxi ties each product to a specific charity benefiting people in some of the world’s poorest areas. For example, the 16L Inca daypack is an all-season daypack, ideal for hiking, biking, canyoneering or snowshoeing. The main compartment can be used for a hydration sleeve or laptop storage. Each purchase contributes toward hiring an educator for the María Imaculada Orphanage near Tupiza, Bolivia. Pursue their other selection of packs, water bottles and accessories and you’ll find gifts that contribute to midwife training, clean water initiatives and cancer treatments. Click here to purchase the Inca pack for $89.

holiday gift guide

Lana Purse. Photo courtesy of Love41.

Support Orphans In Rwanda With The Purchase A Cross-Body Wallet And Carry-All

For a purchase that makes a big difference, try shopping for jewelry, bags, apparel and accessories at Love 41, an online retailer who gives 100% of its profits back to widows, orphans and street kids in Rwanda, Africa. Past sales have sponsored over 250 children to receive education, health care and food. In addition to providing funds for these programs and a daycare, Love41 has led several trips to Rwanda so the staff can offer support in person. If you’re looking for a travel-friendly gift, try the Lana Pouch, a handcrafted cross-body bag that doubles as a wallet and carry-all (and fits passports perfectly!). The Mexican craftsman who made it specializes in hand-loomed rugs. Click here to purchase the Lana Bag for $115.

holiday gift guide

Wine & Grind Giftbox. Photo courtesy of ONEHOPE.

Give The Gift Clean Water, While Enjoying Coffee & Wine

Love wine? ONEHOPE began as a personal mission to help a friend’s fight with cancer, but has become a thriving business producing quality wine, with 50% of proceeds benefiting a variety of important causes. These range from breast cancer treatment to pediatric AIDS prevention to US forest preservation. To increase access to clean drinking water, consider giving someone ONEHOPE’s “Wine & Grind” Gift Box, which includes a bottle of ONEHOPE Reserve Napa Valley Pinot Noir, 1lb of ONEHOPE Karma Blend Coffee and a $10 gift card. Every 4 boxes sold is enough to provide one person life long access to clean water. Click here to purchase the Wine & Grind Gift Box for $49.00.

Shawl to benefit elephant conservation. Photo courtesy of Sonia Toledo.

Shawl to benefit elephant conservation. Photo courtesy of Caterina Verde.

Support Wildlife Conservation With An Artistic Shawl

Interested in wearable art that benefits wildlife conservation? Check out “Editions for Change” by Sonia Toledo, a new recurring series of limited-edition pieces where proceeds help animals in need. The first edition piece is a 100% cashmere shawl depicting Sela, an endangered Indian elephant that Sonia connected with and photographed on a recent trip to Indonesia. Twenty-two percent of the proceeds of this edition are donated to Wildlife S.O.S in support of their elephant care, conservation and legal defense efforts. Click here to join the cause and order a Sela shawl for $400.

Do you have a globally conscious item to add to our 2014 holiday gift guide? Please share in the comments below.

By Katie Foote

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Katie Foote

Katie Foote may be a physicist by trade but she spent several years travelling the world as much as possible. After four years of semi-nomadic life, she spent a couple years in Auckland, New Zealand and recently moved to Vancouver, Canada. Despite living more traditionally, she has insight on how to travel the world on a graduate student budget (cheap!), explore off-the-beaten-path destinations and authentically experiencing new places by connecting to locals. When she's not doing physics or globe-trotting, she likes kickboxing, yoga and exploring her extraordinary new backyard of British Columbia.

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