I struggle with gift giving. I try to find unique, high-quality gifts that the recipient actually wants, but the ethically conscious side of me is always desperate to make an impact with my dollars. Basically, my consumerism and my hippie-ism are constantly at battle, and it can be hard for them to find a compromise. My hope with this guide is that those of you who feel my pain will be able to avoid giving tacky knick-knacks (you know, the ones where you have to assure your mom or your cousin as they open it that “it’s for a good cause!”) and instead give meaningful, useful, relevant gifts that simultaneously make a legitimate difference for animals in need. I hope it’s helpful!
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In November 2018, Vegetaryn and I relaunched four of the most popular designs from my former clothing line (view this brand new collection here), and I’m so excited about them! 5% of all sales from this collaboration will be donated to my favorite farmed animal sanctuary, Rancho Relaxo. In addition to my collection, Vegetaryn also sells a wide variety of other fun and funny animal advocacy designs on super comfy apparel!
PS: Use code THETREEKISSER for 10% off all Vegetaryn orders!
I’ve been a fan and supporter of the Puppies Make Me Happy brand for a few years now, thanks to their impeccable quality and their genuine respect for other designers. Having designed apparel in the past (and having had my ideas stolen repeatedly), I really appreciate how much care their team puts into making sure their ideas are original! With their mix of compassion, creativity, and the occasional pop culture reference, Puppies Make Me Happy apparel is always on trend!
Puppies Make Me Happy donates 100% of profits from their Rescue Puppies Make Me Happy line and a portion of profits from all designs to animal rescue organizations!
*PS: Use code thetreekisser for 10% off your order!*
Originally known for their faux fur hooded scarves, SpiritHoods has also become popular worldwide for their cozy jackets, warm blankets, and unique patterns. I bought their Grizzly coat (now sold out) last year, and it keeps me toasty on the coldest Colorado days! Dedicated to raising awareness for endangered species, SpiritHoods donates 10% of net profits to conservation organizations like Pandas International, Snow Leopard Conservancy.
PS: Take 10% off your first order with code spirit10!
Since 2014, Elephant Pants has been raising funds and awareness for endangered elephants through their wide range of apparel. Loved by yogis and compassionate fashionistas alike, this company has patterns and styles for just about everyone. Don’t want to be covered in vibrantly colored animals? That’s fine, they have some subtle items too. $1 from every purchase is donated to elephant conservation groups; to date, they’ve raised over $145,000!
How did I just learn about Love Brand & Co?? This British beachwear company was founded for the purpose of protecting endangered elephants. 5% of all revenue is donated to wildlife protection organizations like Elephant Family, The David Shelddrick Wildlife Trust and Tusk Trust. I know, for most us in the Northern hemisphere, it’s a weird time to think about swimwear (unless you have a tropical vacation planned!)…but the way this planet is headed, it’ll be warming up soon! And if you don’t want to wait that long to wear their gear, don’t worry, they have bags and hats you can sport immediately!
I wasn’t quite sure which category to put the Lil Bub Store into, because they sell absolutely everything! But I love this crazy Christmas sweater (talk about a conversation piece for your holiday party!), so here she is. Thanks to the Instagram fame of Lil Bub the cat, her humans have been able to operate a shop that raises funds and awareness for special needs pets! 10% of the proceeds from all merchandise is donated to the Lil Bub ASPCA fund, which gives grants nationwide to rescues that care for pets with special needs. Since 2012, the fund has distributed over $300,000!
Innovative Fetch Eyewear was created solely to support The Pixie Project, a dog and cat rescue center in Portland, Oregon. 100% of the profits (yes, 100%!) from these eyeglasses, reading glasses, and sunglasses (probably your best gifting option), are donated to help The Pixie Project continue their life-saving work! If you’re unsure about ordering glasses online, Fetch gives you the option of ordering five pairs to try at home!
Okay, obvious disclaimer: I helped design these items (so much fun!!) and receive a portion of the sales. However, I would only put my name and reputation on a product I absolutely believe in, and Lemonbug falls into this category! Lemonbug is an independent woman-owned small business that designs modern but minimalist jewelry to raise funds for animal rescues. I designed the Chihuahua Necklace to bring attention to the chihuahua overpopulation crisis in American shelters, and the Dogs Before Dudes ring to remind woman to prioritize the companion animals that love them!
Please note: The gold and rose gold items from this collection are gold filled, not gold plated, which means they are of a much higher quality than some mass produced jewelry. Learn more about the difference here!
Votch, the watch company with vegan leather bands, was created when founder Laura contracted a skin disease that inspired her never to wear the skin of another animal again. Votch’s kindness to animals extends to its program of giving back; 10% of all sales are donated to rotating animal rescue organizations. This season, their featured beneficiary is The Retreat Animal Rescue Farm, a group that rescues and rehabilitated injured and orphaned wild animals. Votch’s collection boasts a wide range of band and face colors and materials; you’re sure to find the right combination for the timepiece lover on your list!
I’m just going to say it. There’s a lot of tacky animal-themed jewelry out there. Fortunately, The Purrfect Accessory, a collection created by established jewelry designer Alissa Wrenn Smith, is both charitable and chic! Inspired by her own foster cats and kittens, Alissa launched The Purrfect Accessory to raise funds (15% of all sales) for animal rescues like Milo’s Sanctuary for Cats with Special Needs and Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue. The pieces are primarily cat themed, but if you’re a dog momma who wants to support the cause, The Pawfect Cuff is pretty species-neutral 🙂
For the beach bunny in your life, Sand Cloud towels make the perfect altruistic gift! Sand Cloud company donates 10% of profits to marine conservation organizations, so their customers can protect the fish while swimming alongside them! If your dolphin loving daughter or seal saving sweetheart doesn’t spend time at the beach, not to worry! Sand Cloud also sells apparel and accessories for those who want to stay on land and still support the cause.
TREATS FOR HUMANS
Brewing Good Coffee Company’s motto is, “Drink Coffee. Save Animals.” It doesn’t get much more straightforward than that. After years working in large-scale animal rescue (busting puppy mills and dog fighting rings with Animal Rescue Corps), co-founder Karla Goodson set out to launch a life-saving coffee company. 10% of all proceeds benefit animal rescue organizations; if you sign your caffeine-loving friend up for a subscription, that’s a huge impact! They have a wide selection of coffee, tea, and even accessories to peruse. This is the perfect gift for your friend who caffeinates daily and would love to help animals while doing so!
(PS: Get FREE shipping on your first order with discount code treekisser, or take 25% off your first subscription with code treekisser25!)
Benefit Wines are my idea of the perfect gift: Wine + Animal Rescue! This company donates to hundreds of non-profits, each of which has their own wine shop! The offerings differ a bit between the organizations, but 100% of profits are donated to your non-profit of choice! No matter which rescue you choose, they’ll certainly appreciate the help for their life-saving missions! With most organizations, you can choose to buy a single bottle or a whole gift collection. Unfortunately some states (AL, AR, IA, KY, LA, MS, ND, NY, SD, UT) are exempt from shipping wine, but for everyone else, cheers!
PS: All wines are certified vegan! I double checked with the company this week.
(Australia only!) Goodwill Wines donates 50% of their profits to your Australian charity of choice! There are hundreds of animal advocacy organizations to choose from, including some of my favorites like Oscar’s Law, Animal Equality, and Edgar’s Mission. All wines are confirmed vegan!
Rescue Chocolate: this is obviously a winner. They offer a wide variety of chocolate products (containing zero animal products!) and 100% of profits this year are donated to Foster Dogs NYC, an organization dedicated to providing shelter pets with temporary homes until their forever homes can be found! Choose from adorably named treats like Cappuccino Kitten Bars, Peanut Butter Pit Bulls, and Bananas Foster Dogs! If anyone on your list has a sweet tooth and a sweet heart, Rescue Chocolate is the gift for them.
COSMETICS & SELF CARE PRODUCTS
Each creamy, color-rich shade was named after a Farm Sanctuary animal. Meet “Bruno,” the cow that Farm Sanctuary rehabilitated after he fell out of a speeding truck; “Julia” the pig, rescued from abuse at a factory farm; “Hilda” the sheep, who was the very first animal to arrive at Farm Sanctuary; and “Thumbelina” the chicken, saved from a trucking crate that tumbled onto the highway during transit.
While these lipsticks are currently the only products with a specific donation designation, Kat Von D is known for her generosity towards numerous animal protection organizations. The compassionate beauty lover on your list can rest assured that Kat’s entire product line is cruelty-free and contains zero animal products.
Lush is one of my favorite stores to pop into for indulgent (and ethical!) bath products. I always make sure to grab a Charity Pot, knowing that 100% of the price (excluding tax) is being distributed amongst Lush’s numerous charity partners. Since launching the Charity Pot, they’ve donated over $22 million to deserving organizations! The Charity Pot, which contains some of the richest, most hydrating lotion I’ve ever used, is a bit different than the other items in this guide, as the donations go to animal advocacy organizations as well as humanitarian and environmental groups, but you can feel safe knowing your money is going directly where it’s needed! Past animal advocacy beneficiaries include the Paws For Hope Animal Foundation, Wildlife Defence League, Fur-Bearer Defenders, and the Elephant Sanctuary Brazil (among many others!). Each pot only features imagery from one charity, so if it’s important that your gift depicts one of the animal advocacy organizations, you’ll have to pop into one of their retail stores to choose your favorite.
HOME & OFFICE
Candles get a bad reputation for being that last minute item you buy someone when you can’t think of anything more personal. That definitely does not apply to Rescue Candles, as the recipient is sure to appreciate the thoughtfulness that goes into this gift! 15% of all proceeds are donate to their animal rescue partners! These soy-based candles are sure to warm the home and heart of anyone on your gift list!
When our blind, 17-year-old Schnauzer started losing bladder control, the Bissell SpotBot Portable Carpet Cleaner was a life saver. Not just for us, but also for the pets who benefited from the donation when we purchased it! I know, not everyone on your list would be thrilled to receive a cleaning appliance, but they might if they knew Bissell donates up to $10 per Bissell Pet Product to the Bissell Pet Foundation, which has given millions of dollars to animal rescue partners since launching in 2011! The Bissell Pet Foundation is extremely open about their work, which I love. You can see an accounting of all their nationwide donations here! Bissell has a wide range of pet products, from the BarkBath to the Pet Stain Eraser; you’re sure to find something for the most overwhelmed pet parents on your list!
I can’t begin to explain how long it took me to choose just two of Sammantha Fisher’s photographs to post here; there are so many gorgeous shots! Sammantha is a traveling animal advocate and photographer who donates 50% of the sale from each piece to the farm sanctuary where the photo was taken. Her talent for capturing the soul and individuality of each rescued animal is incomparable. She sells everything from 4×6 photograph prints to massive wrapped canvases, so you’re sure to find something that matches your aesthetic and your budget.
The Red and Wolf Paper Co. primarily sells greeting cards, but I happen to be a huge fan of their “Wino” cotton tote bag! For every item sold, they donate $1 to the Wildlife Conservation Network. Given that the majority of their products are individual greeting cards, that $1 per item is quite a substantial portion. I especially love that if you buy a 10 card boxed set, your cost per card goes down but the $1 donation per card stays the same!
Trendy Little Sweethearts has a very straightforward giving model! For every t-shirt you buy, $5 will be donated to one of their rescue partners! Shirts featuring dogs and cats donate to a companion animal rescue, shirts featuring elephants donate to an elephant conservation organization, and shirts featuring whales donate to a Japanese whale advocacy organization! They also make apparel for adults and pets (all are made with recycled materials!), but personally the kids tees are my favorites!
“Animal Rescue”, a book created to help young children understand and even enjoy the concept of freeing captive animals, donates 50 pence (approximately $0.67 US) per book sold to Born Free USA, an organization dedicated to protecting and advocating for wildlife. The book has no text, so the reader can decide how to communicate the content to the child. As the child turns the page, they have the option of “freeing” the featured animal and releasing them back into the wild; you sort of have to watch this video to understand! Recommended for ages 3-5.
“Rusty the Rescue: A Book About Shelter Dogs and Us“ was written by animal advocate Christina Capatides in order to teach children about the importance of adopting pets from shelters. This is Capitides’ first children’s book, but she has years of experience creating pro-animal-rescue content for kids through the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum program. 10% of all proceeds are donated to help homeless pets at the North Shore Animal League.
PS: Don’t read the Amazon reviews if you’re easily annoyed by people who stigmatize shelter pets…
FOR FRIENDS WITH PAWS
Fit For A Pit sells apparel, toys, and other accessories designed for the often overlooked broad-chested “pit bull type” body. They thoroughly try all items out on their own pitties, as well as other friends’ dogs, to ensure everything they sell is of the highest quality. They donate a minimum of 15% of profits to dozens of animal rescues, but when sales are high (hello holiday season!), they’re able to give up to 75%!
Three Little Iglets is another extra charitable Etsy shop! As a chihuahua mom, I can promise you: EVERY chihuahua wants one of these pouch style “burrowing dog beds”. And apparently so do all other kinds of dogs (and according to Facebook, a few cats)! Gifting this kind of cozy luxury to your own (or a friend’s) furry friend is almost generous enough, but on top of that kindness, all profit from your purchase will benefit Italian Greyhound rescues in Texas! From my brief email exchange with the owner of this shop, I can assure you she puts every ounce of love and care into helping these rescued pups who too often come from puppy mills or other neglectful situations. While I have my eye on this pocket bed, the shop is full of other options; you’re sure to find the right fit for the lucky recipient!
Thank you for thinking of animals in need during these busy holidays!