How to Give Great Gifts that Also Give Back

Some people are natural born gift-givers. They seem to read deep into minds and hearts. They know what you love when you don’t even know it yourself. And they make this seem so effortless.

I envy those people. I’m not one of those people. But I do know a great gift idea when it’s shown to me. So it’s around this time of year that I start desperately visiting websites to get inspiration for gifts. That’s why when UncommonGoods contacted me, it’s like they read my mind and heart, as the good gift purveyors that they are. I turn to them to solve my holiday gift-giving problems, and maybe they can solve yours too.

Giving gifts doesn’t have to be hard or stressful. Here are four simple ways to find a great gift. Look for a gift that captures one or more of the following elements. I share a few examples for each gift-giving concept.

⇒ Uncommon and Unique

Seek an idea that’s not available at stores a mile away from home. Instead of a commodity everyone has seen before, choose the surprising twist.

Mini Desktop Bowling AlleyAmpersand Cheese and Crackers Board

Why not a little desktop bowling alley, for when the mind needs a break? The surprising twist here is, it’s a common thing made very small and put in an unusual place.

As another twist, the ampersand added to the common wood cheeseboard is creative. Use it for wine & cheese, cheese & crackers. The ampersand makes sense because who fills a whole board with just one thing? It’s always something & something else. This also has practical applications. See how the crackers are propped up nicely in the grooves. The design helps make an easy, attractive display.

⇒ Things That Make You Laugh

Life can get heavy and serious enough. So every home and office should have light things that make you laugh, right? Here are examples of fun decor gift ideas:

Whatever ClockDJ Scratching Pad

Do you know anyone who has given up trying to be on time? This clock is for them. Or, the rebellious (and maybe smart?) people who think the super-busy world around us is crazy.

If you know anyone who likes music and has a cat, this gift hits the jackpot. It gives a new name to scratching some beats. As a decor blogger with nice furniture and two cats, I can tell you, my cats are not declawed and there’s no need to do that. They have cute scratching pads around the house, and they were trained to scratch on those, not furniture. We all live happily together with furniture intact. So this is a gift for people and their pets.

⇒ Sentimental Memories

At any age, people have memories of the past. Just, some of us have more past than others.

Another sentimental angle is gifts that help build closer relationships among family.

80x Mix Tape DoormatMother Daughter Book Letter Set

Anyone who grew up in the 80’s knows what a “mixtape” is. Even Millennials are appreciating the nostalgia of these playlists on actual physical tape. Yes, us old folks, the Boomers and Gen X’ers, we invented the original playlists. And the hand-written mixtape label can be personalized; choose what you want it to say. It’s sold as a mixtape doormat, but it could be cool wall art too.

Another great idea is gifts like the Mother & Daughter Letter Book Set that help build written memories and stories among family – a memento that’s more beautiful, substantive and enduring than text messages.

⇒ Favorite Food

When all other ideas fail you, go for food. Find something related to your intended’s favorite food. Mix in an uncommon, unique or funny element about food. You can’t go wrong.

http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/know-your-knives-cutting-boardDIY Hot Sauce Kit

This cutting board with the “Cliff’s Notes for Knives” is interesting. We have a knife block with a bunch of knives, but I never give much thought that each knife is designed to do a specific job. This cheat sheet on a cutting board will help keep things straight.

UncommonGoods has many DIY food kits, but this caught my eye because with hot sauce, doesn’t it seem like the sauce is either too mild, too hot, rarely just right? Well, make the sauce just the way you like it!

Doing Good with Gifts

Now that we’ve learned how to find great gifts, I’ll raise the bar a little higher. It’s a big bonus when the gift also does good for people or the planet – when the purchase helps support a worthy cause.

To be honest, it’s not lost on me that I blog here about decorating homes, when so many on this planet can only hope to have a home again. Conflicts and severe weather around the world have left millions of people seeking new homes, and even seeking the most basic dignity and safety as they live in transition not knowing their next steps. I’m also an animal lover and I follow the organizations that save orangutans affected by deforestation in Indonesia. The fuzzy orphaned babies, they’re so cute in little diapers, but really they shouldn’t be wearing diapers and they shouldn’t have to be on Facebook. They should be clinging on their moms, learning how to live in the trees. But the safe forest isn’t there. So when I can support organizations working to do good through the gifts I choose to buy, I will make that choice every time.

UncommonGoods has a program that does this. For every purchase, they donate to a partner in their Better to Give program. Through UncommonGoods purchases, you can support a variety of causes: help for refugees, programs for sexual violence survivors, restoring forests on our planet, and literacy and education for children.

International Rescue Committee

Here’s how it works: when you shop, pick a non-profit, and a $1 donation will be made with every purchase. As part of sharing the Better to Give program with you here today, UncommonGoods has donated $50 on my behalf to the International Rescue Committee. The news about refugees and humanitarian crises in the U.S. and abroad has been on my mind a lot this year.

Beyond the social cause donations, as an avid DIY’er myself, I also appreciate how UncommonGoods sells products made by individual makers, artisans, cooperatives in the U.S. and other countries. They support the pride and talents of individual people who make products with their hands.

So, when you’re perusing websites or wandering aisles, searching for the perfect gifts, choose what fits one or more of these:

How to Give Great Gifts


This post was sponsored by UncommonGoods. I own a wall shelf purchased from their catalog many years ago, and yes it’s an uncommon and unique wall shelf, and people always noticed and commented about it. So the company lives up to its name!



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2 Responses to How to Give Great Gifts that Also Give Back

  1. Pingback: Bloggers Who Believe It's Better to Give - The Goods | The Official Blog of UncommonGoodsThe Goods | The Official Blog of UncommonGoods

  2. Oh wow, so nice because I am lover of eating and you decorate this plate beautifully by biscuits and other things. Thank you so much.

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