Three Last-minute Ways to Give Back This Christmas

I think for most of us giving back during the holidays isn’t a new idea. Many of us have been doing that pretty regularly for years. As SATC makes a big comeback, I’m reminded of Carrie’s quote- “enjoy yourself, that’s what your 20’s are for. Your 30’s are to learn the lessons. Your 40’s are to pay for the drinks.” Now while I don’t necessarily agree that we should be pigeonholed at any age to do any particular thing (life is certainly more fluid than that), I do think for me the idea of giving back has become even more pronounced in my 40’s. And by giving back I mean much more than paying for the drinks- I think Carrie did too. 

Many of us are accustomed to giving to food banks, volunteering at soup kitchens, and even choosing a name from an Angel Tree. These are great ways to help your community but if you’re looking for a few last minute but meaningful ways to give back I’m sharing a few that I just learned about too.

Dropping off a few gifts to a local nursing home– Last week I was watching GMA, and they shared a story about a mother-daughter duo who learned that many nursing home residents didn’t receive gifts for the holidays and made it their mission to change that. This is something that you can do on your own too. It’s pretty easy to contact a local facility in your area and ask if you can drop off a few gifts. The nursing home staff knows which residents don’t typically receive visitors or gifts and could certainly give you a few ideas too, but typically art supplies, socks with grips, blankets, colorful scarves or pins, puzzles, and adult coloring books make great gifts.

Giving a gift that also gives back– Many of you might remember my trip with Vera Bradley a few months ago. They’re a brand that gives back in a multitude of ways. On that particular trip, one of our stops was to a beautiful boutique-styled market with the best pumpkin latte I’ve ever had (I’ve actually been wondering what their holiday flavors are right now). But aside from their wonderful coffee station, I was really taken by their mission. Everything in the goodMRKT does good! They work with creators and makers that are also on a mission to give back. This quote from their website sums it up perfectly “goodMRKT is a collective, encouraged by a cause and dedicated to doing good. It is a movement, inviting you to discover something new, something unique, something…good. Welcome to goodMRKT. You belong here.”

There were so many amazing creators featured in the store. Here are a few of my favorites in case you’re looking for last-minute gifts too.

Sackcloth and Ashes While I didn’t buy one of these beautiful blankets in store, I couldn’t shake the story I heard about how the creator started the company when his mother experienced homelessness and he was unable to help her directly. According to the website, Bob Dalton was inspired to help the homeless population when his mother found herself living on the streets in 2013. He called his local homeless shelters to ask what they needed – they all said blankets. That’s when he founded Sackcloth & Ashes. The blankets are not only beautiful but they’re sustainably and ethically made in Italy. And woven from a recycled, dye-free, chemical-free blend that is certifiably eco-friendly.

I ended up purchasing a baby blanket for my youngest grandson when I got home at my local World Market. You can find these in your neighborhood World Market as well if last-minute shipping won’t work for you. Here’s the best part: “Sackcloth & Ashes is a mission-driven company that donates a blanket to a homeless shelter for each one purchased.”

Cuddle and Kind– I was excited to see a brand I recognized in-store. My daughter had already purchased a few hand knit Cuddle and Kind Dolls for the boys. The dolls are handmade in Peru and Nepal and they’re heirloom quality, which they say “makes them perfect for passing down from one lucky baby to the next.” I love that idea. Their Favorites are Noah the dog and Sebastian the Lamb. But what really piqued her interest was their mission to impact childhood hunger. One doll sold equals ten meals provided to children in need! I also really love this quote on their site from Mother Theresa: “If you can’t feed a hundred children, then feed just one.” While your doll might not arrive in time for Christmas you’ll still be giving ten children in need a gift and I’m sure your lucky baby will love it just as much when it arrives.

ABLE-I did make an ABLE purchase in-store. I bought their Maha leather jacket in Whiskey and I have actually had to practice quite a bit of restraint because I really want that jacket in black too. The fit is amazing and the leather is so soft. It really is one of my favorite wardrobe pieces. I also recently purchased this sweater too. It’s also a winner. However, the real prize here is that ABLE is an ethical fashion brand that employs and empowers women as a solution to end poverty. So if you receive a gift card this weekend you can select an amazing gift for yourself while helping ABLE with their mission of being able to invest in, train, and educate women so they can earn a living, break the cycle of poverty, and thrive.

And last but not least I also wanted to share another easy way to give back to a mission that I am very proud of.

Shop to Give with Uncommon Threads BoutiqueHere’s a great excerpt from their site-Uncommon Threads is an innovative nonprofit located in Lawrence, Massachusetts, one of the poorest cities in the country. With an innovative “outside-in, inside-out” approach, we help low-income women see and feel their true potential by using clothing and image as tools for building self-esteem and self-worth. Unlike other organizations that solely focus on work attire, Uncommon Threads addresses all aspects of a woman’s clothing needs while nurturing personal growth through self-esteem-focused styling sessions and workshops.

I’m a proud member of their Uncommon Influence Group and have been following along with them for several years. For the last couple of years, I have been bidding on their annual fundraising auction items to help out but recently when the founder Susan put out a call for donations, I answered by mailing her a large box of new or gently used items to support the women in the program. This eventually evolved into a much larger endeavor and now there are almost 20 Influencers in the Uncommon Influence Group! You can help too by either making a monetary donation, shopping sustainably by purchasing an item, or sending a donation.

So those are three last-minute ways to give back this holiday season! I’d love to hear your ideas too! 

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas friends!

Until next post, 

Xo Tonya Parker

*None of the links above are sponsored and as always all opinions are my own.

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Tonya Parker is a counselor, author and certified life coach who believes in helping women look and feel their best! Ambassador for O, The Oprah Magazine and author of Single Mom Chic

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