Holiday Gift Guide 2021: Gifts That Give Back

Find something amazing for everyone on your gift list while supporting creators, communities and small businesses that give back

Holiday Gift Guide 2021: Gifts That Give Back

Find something amazing for everyone on your gift list while supporting creators, communities and small businesses that give back

Happy holidays, folks!

Get an early start on your shopping with excellent, eclectic finds in our annual holiday gift guide that support small businesses, creators and marginalized communities. From Fido to Aunt Freida, there’s something for even the hardest-to-please people on your list. (Reminder: Covidvaccines — including boosters and those for kids ages 5 and up — just may be the greatest gift of all, and they’re free!)

For more great gift guide ideas, be sure to check out our guides to local Black-, women-, and veteran-owned small businesses, too.

Whatever and whenever you celebrate, we wish you the best of health, peace, and joy in the new year, and beyond.


Grant BLVD recycles and upcycles, supports worthy causes, and makes do-good stuff you actually want to wear, like their super-useful “Really Philly” and “Disrupter” fanny packs. Perfect for running errands around town, and around the world. $26 here.


Ursinus College professor Sarah Kaufman spent seven years photographing Devil’s Pool in the Wissahickon, capturing folks from all walks  interacting with one of the few wild places left in the city. A portion of proceeds from this stunning new coffee table book will benefit Friends of the Wissahickon. Pre-order here.


We devour the tasty treats from the woman-owned Manayunk bakery, and we also can’t get enough of their cutesy accessories, like these enamel whisks, spatulas, and rolling pin pins. Perfect for jazzing up your favorite baker’s apron, jean jacket, backpack, lapels…whatever. $5 here.

RELATED: In the mood to bake now? Try these Kwanzaa cookies for the holidays!


The team at woman-owned Yowie promises that this special edition room spray, bottled in Philly by Redoux and created for Yowie’s anniversary with notes of Verbena, Yuzu, Neroli and more, will bring a vibe to every room. $36 here.


These showstopping jackets, made by a woman-owned business in nearby Lancaster and sold locally by woman-owned Sable Collective, have as their base vintage army jackets, which are then decorated with gorgeous fabrics from around the world. $140 here.

RELATED: Support these other incredible Black-owned businesses in Philly


Treat the person who warms your heart and home to an ongoing gift like this candle subscription box that benefits Project HOME, Philly’s nonprofit supporting people experiencing homelessness. Once a month, your loved one will receive a new candle along with Project HOME matches, and you’ll get the good feeling of knowing you’re supporting the organization’s important work all year long. $20 per month, here.

RELATED: Project HOME is a safe haven for local people experiencing homelessness. Here’s how you can do your part to help, too. 


Harriett’s continues to roll out statement-making hoodies that pay homage to the great writers and poets of our time, and this holiday season owner Jeannine A. Cook is introducing hoodies (tote bags, too!) that shout out some of the best of the best. From $47 here.

RELATED: The owner of Harriett’s talks to local author Kiley Reid about her new book that was longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize


Ren Jewelry is a small, woman-run business that hand-makes jewelry, like these stunning “sun and moon hoops,” available in silver or gold. From $130 here.

RELATED: Gift someone a spa treatment at Old City’s Kári Skin, which is working to take the “mean girl” out of the spa industry


These exclusive Barnes Foundation socks are inspired by Horace Pippin’s Giving Thanks, on view in gallery 12 at The Barnes. “Pippin’s meticulous use of pattern and color are highlighted by the knitting process, making this scene even more enjoyable to wear than the average art sock,” Barnes’ staffers say. Plus: All Barnes purchases support the museum’s educational mission. $24 here.

RELATED: Did you see the recent “vaginas in concert” performance at the Barnes?


Made of 100 percent organic cotton, these darling onesies come in a classic onesie style, and in romper or long-sleeved styles too. Check out them and so many other sweet gems at Tina Spence’s Germantown boutique, or online. From $28 here.


Will Smith may be a global sensation, but his heart and his roots will always belong to Philly, and his inspiring new memoir explores his life in West Philly and beyond. Plus, Oprah said it was the best memoir she’s ever read, so…  $27.60 here.

RELATED: Local bookstore owners shared their favorite Philly reads at the moment—from the silly to the serious.


The nonprofit MANNA provides medically tailored meals to nurture Philadelphians with illnesses. To help them help others, buy this year’s lovely holiday gift collection, the Made in Philly box, that’s filled with a fantastic round-up of locally made goodies, like Franklin + Marshall’s face scrub and lip balm; Paul Carpenter’s LOVE tote bag; Exit 343 Philly Magnets; Rival Bros Coffee Revolver Blend; Natalie Hope McDonald’s LOVE ornament; and more. All proceeds support their work. $125 here.


Local artists—aspiring and expert—who volunteer with Bethesda Project, the nonprofit that provides emergency shelter, permanent housing, and case management for people experiencing homelessness, are taking orders for custom home portraits, artistic renderings of your home, done in a range of styles and techniques. Portraits are $30, with the option to add a donation, and 100 percent of proceeds benefit Bethesda Project’s programs and services. Sales close at midnight on November 22, 2021, so act fast. From $30 here


One of the hardest parts of the pandemic has been not being able to gather in community to enjoy live music and performances; now, as the city has been getting its groove back, it’s a thrill to step back through the doors of venues like World Café Live. Get the arts-lover in your crew gift cards, and check out the full calendar of events here. From $20, here


If you’re raising a glass for the holidays, make it Yards’ new India Pale Ale, brewed with fresh pineapple juice and Apollo, Centennial, and Columbus hops. All proceeds benefit Make The World Better Foundation, Connor Barwin’s nonprofit that improves playgrounds, parks, and outdoor spaces for our communities. Get yours at any of the citywide retailers listed here.


It’s always so hard to know what to give teachers, who so clearly deserve the world, especially after the last 20 months they’ve worked through. May we suggest a gift card to Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books, where teachers have always gotten a 10-percent discount, along with these adorable bookmarks, too Bookmarks, $3, in-store only at Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books.


Kids love putty because it’s ooey and gooey and silly and fun. We love it because the Norristown-based company employs people with disabilities and gives back to the community in countless ways. The “Present Surprise” is holiday-themed, and there are tons more options online. Get shopping, then read all about the company here. $15 here and at most local toy retailers.

RELATED: Can Crazy Aarons Thinking Putty be answer to the world’s woes? 


Dogs are the best, but their accessories are often so stinkin’ fugly. Not so with this chic, cozy bed from United By Blue, which comes in three sizes and is made in the U.S. with 100-percent upholstery-grade cotton and a brass zipper. Bonus: The Philly-based B-Corp removes one pound of trash from our oceans for each product you buy. From $139 here.


Send a sporty family you love to the new pop-up skating rink and winter village in Newtown Square, where Flight on Ice presents the Veterans Memorial Rink, with a portion of proceeds benefitting local veterans. Tickets here.

RELATED: Find more fun things to do this winter with our guide to fun things to do in Philly this weekend

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