Another year has flown by, and the season of giving is upon us again. Oftentimes, we run around purchasing “stuff” for the people in our lives. These gifts may look like a t-shirt, wallet, coffee mug, scarf, and whatever seems, well, thoughtful enough.
If you’re looking for ways to enhance a person’s life, how about gifting something more than “stuff”? Many gifts can truly add value to the life of a loved one.
If you’re looking for unique gifts that prompt kindness and compassion, here are some ideas:
1. The Book Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
Written by Gregory Boyle, this is my favorite book about compassion. Boyle is a Jesuit priest and the founder of Homeboy Industries, and his moving stories of working with gang members in Los Angeles will ignite your own compassionate heart.
2. Smile Cards
This is karma in a box! When you order your Smile Cards, there is no charge. Someone has already paid for your deck! You are asked to “pay-it-forward” and pay for the next person’s cards.
What’s in the deck? Cards that read, “Smile. You’ve just been tagged.” Leave a smile card behind when you do an anonymous act of kindness, and the card encourages the recipient to pass on the ripple effect.
3. COMPASSION IT Wristbands
These black-and-white reversible wristbands prompt compassionate behavior and serve as a conversation starter. Each time you act with compassion, you flip the wristband. Research indicates that compassion makes you happier and healthier, and this simple tool reminds you to “compassion it” each day.
Wristbands come in pairs so that you wear one and share one, and your purchase supports compassion education programs.
4. Garden in a Can
This is an ideal gift for loved ones who want to help the planet. Back to the Roots wants to help you grow fresh and organic food in your own kitchen. With Garden in a Can, you can grow basil, cilantro, sage, and dill. The package contains seeds, soil, cans, and special technology that allows the plants to thrive for months without chemicals or transplanting.
5. SOLO Eyewear Sunglasses
When you purchase a pair of SOLO’s eco-friendly sunglasses, you are providing eye care for someone in need.
When SOLO founder Jenny Amaraneni learned that 1 billion people don’t have access to eye care, and that 80 percent of the world’s blindness is preventable, she knew she had to do something about it. SOLO Eyewear was born, and has restored vision to 10,000 people in 32 countries.
6. Bosh Bosh Bags
The nonprofit organization Bosh Bosh educates women and girls in Liberia and teaches them valuable skills so they can restore their communities and nation. The Bosh Bosh production team in Salala, Liberia, creates colorful and beautiful hand-crafted bags, and your purchase will help pay for school uniforms for girls, scholarships, livelihood for many women, and more.
7. African Elephant Adoption Kit
For $55, you can adopt an African elephant from the World Wildlife Fund. Your kit includes a plush elephant toy, an adoption certificate, a photograph of the species, detailed information about the species, and a gift bag.
World Wildlife Fund offers adoptions for a variety of species which makes it easy to find one that works best for your animal-loving friend.
8. Eco-Friendly Drinking Glasses
Made from repurposed wine and vodka bottles, this set of four cobalt blue glasses will please your Earth-loving friend. The San Diego-based company Bottles & Wood upcycles wood, steel, and glass from locally sourced waste streams to create products, making it an ideal model of “sustainable” business.
I hope the above gift ideas can inspire you and your loved ones to cultivate compassion for each other and our planet.