The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

14 best charity Christmas gifts: Presents that give back

When you’re making your list (and checking it twice), choose from our round-up of feel-good presents

Eva Waite-Taylor
Monday 01 November 2021 13:37
<p>From T-shirts to beer, make sure your picks spread goodwill and cheer in more ways than one</p>

From T-shirts to beer, make sure your picks spread goodwill and cheer in more ways than one

It may feel like 2021 has passed in a flash, but the Christmas countdown is officially on.

After last year’s disrupted celebrations, we’re all about making this year’s festivities the best they can be, whether that’s by spending plenty of time with loved ones or giving ourselves some attention.

Traditionally, it’s a time for reflection and celebration, as well as spreading cheer. But the latter seems all the more pertinent considering the happenings of the past year and a half.

So we thought we’d go the whole hog and compile a Christmas gift guide full of covetable presents that also give back to charitable causes.

From brands donating to food banks to those giving to environmental charities, when you’re making your list (and checking it twice), be sure to select from our round-up of feel-good gifts.

Read more:

How we tested

To make this list, we looked to some of our all-time favourite brands that are on a mission to do good. But we also made some new discoveries along the way, finding companies that are committed to supporting social and environmental causes.

We wanted our round-up to cover a broad range of tastes and ages, so as to provide you with a whole host of ideas. Without further ado, these are the best gifts that will give back this Christmas.

The best charity Christmas gifts in 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Aromatherapy Associates inner strength bath and shower oil: £49, Aromatherapyassociates.com
  • Best affordable jewellery gift – Posh Totty Designs share a hug ring: £27, Poshtottydesigns.com
  • Best for beer lovers – Brewgooder mixed pack: £20, Brewgooder.com
  • Best print – Frankie Rosello hun print: £13, Etsy.com
  • Best coffee subscription – Rave Coffee subscription: From £23.85, Ravecoffee.co.uk
  • Best beauty gift – Mac Cosmetics viva glam lipstick: £17.50, Maccosmetics.co.uk
  • Best last-minute flowers – Bloom & Wild florist’s pick: £28, Bloomandwild.com
  • Best for the house proud – The Tartan Blanket Co. lambswool knee blanket: £65, Tartanblanketco.com
  • Best charity T-shirt – War Child Bella Freud peace and love tee: £25, Wearitforwarchild.com
  • Best candle – L’Occitane solidarity candle: £8, Loccitane.com
  • Best charity gift for children – Their Nibs classic kids pyjama set, navy lion moon print: £20, Theirnibs.com
  • Best for home cooks – Our Place always pan: £125, Fromourplace.co.uk
  • Best direct donation – Choose Love basic wash bag: £15, Choose.love
  • Best washbag – Vida Vida leather wash bag: £40, Vidavida.co.uk

Aromatherapy Associates inner strength bath and shower oil

Best: For self-care

If your giftee could do with a little extra relaxation at Christmas and during the winter months, this bath oil is where it’s at. All they’ll need to do is pour a small splash into their tub and it’ll transform their bathroom into a spa-like experience. It’s known as the brand’s “hug in a bottle”, and we can totally see why. Having enlisted the help of a number of testers – men and women of all ages – we all came to the conclusion that it allowed us to completely switch off after a busy day. What’s more, the smell lingered around our homes long after the bath was over. Surely there’s nothing better than giving the gift of relaxation during the cold wintery months?

If they’re not a bath person, but you still want to treat them to the anxiety-soothing benefits of the collection, we also love inner strength body oil (£47, Aromatherapyassociates.com). It’s an equally decadent gift and works to soothe irritated skin in an instant.

Aromatherapy Associates donates 10 per cent of proceeds from each product in its inner strength collection to the Defence Against Cancer Foundation to help fund research into new treatments. The brand is also a certified B-Corp, meaning it’s a company that meets the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.

Posh Totty Designs share a hug ring

Best: Affordable jewellery item

This ring has been created in partnership with Women For Women, a non-profit humanitarian organisation that helps women survivors of war to rebuild their lives. Each one is handmade to order in the Posh Totty Designs studio and the design symbolises a hug. The size can be adjusted by moving the hands closer or further apart – a truly lovely sentiment. It serves as a reminder to your giftee that you’re always there. With 100 per cent of profits donated, this is the perfect gift for any jewellery lover, and depending on their preference you can choose between sterling silver, rose gold and yellow gold.

This share a hug ring isn’t the brand’s only charity piece – it also has the Rockinghorse line, donating to a charity that is dedicated to improving the lives of sick children in Sussex. And another collection in partnership with Brighton Women’s Centre is working to support women in the county who need it the most.

Posh Totty Designs is also on a mission to make its business as sustainable and ethical as possible. Not only is its packaging all recyclable, but it’s also a living wage employer and ethically sources all the materials used to makes it jewellery. This really is a brand to bookmark, not just for Christmas.

Brewgooder mixed pack

Best: For beer lovers

Another certified B-corp, Brewgooder is an independent beer brand on a mission to use its profits to improve the quality of the lives of others – all its profits are donated to clean water charities. Its current partner is Charity Water, which works in developing nations.

As for its beers? Well, they lived up to expectations and were delicious. The tropical pale ale was fruity while the IPA was perfectly hoppy. The mixed pack is the ideal solution if you’re gifting to someone who loves the lot (and so popular that it’s currently out of stock), but you can also buy the lager, IPA and pale ale separately. And if you really want to treat them this Christmas, why not sign up for a subscription for them? Prices start at £20 and you can choose how often they receive the beers. This would really be the gift that keeps on giving.

Frankie Rosello hun pink and yellow charity print

Best: Artwork

Who wouldn’t want to receive a bright and bold print that reminds them that they are an absolute hun? This one is designed by an independent illustrator and printmaker Frankie Rose and is printed on a thick card. It’s available in A4 or A3, and we’d recommend mounting it in a white frame (£6, Ikea.com) prior to gifting.

The best thing of all is that 50 per cent of proceeds will be donated to Choose Love, a charity working to support refugees and encourage people to put love into action. Rose notes that the remaining 50 per cent will cover Etsy fees, postage, packaging and printing. A gorgeous sentiment that anyone would surely love to have on show.

Rave Coffee subscription

Best: Coffee subscription

If you’re buying for a coffee expert, yet you’re stuck on what to get them, we’ve got the gift for you. This informative subscription gives your giftee a detailed guide to the beans, brewing tips and tasting notes, allowing them to get clued up on their favourite drink.

There are three different plans on offer: three months for £23.85; six months for £47.70 or 12 months for £95.40. You can then choose the date you’d like it to arrive and how they brew their coffee, followed by the roast style and how many bags per delivery. We can confirm it was some of the best coffee we’ve tried.

Not only does it taste great, but it’s also part of 1 per cent for the Planet, meaning regardless of whether the brand makes a profit or not, it will donate one per cent of all sales to environmental causes, namely Fauna and Floral International, the world’s oldest international wildlife conservation organisation; Project Waterfall, a charity that brings clean water, sanitation and education to coffee-growing communities across the world; and One Tree Planted, a non-profit on a mission to make it easier for anyone to help the environment by planting trees.

Mac viva glam lipstick

Best: Beauty gift

This lipstick was launched by Mac in the Nineties to raise money to support people living with HIV and AIDS. There are three shades within the collection and 100 per cent of the RRP is donated to non-profit organisations that support the health and rights of people of all ages, races and genders within the LGBTQ+ community. So far, the lipsticks have raised over £370m ($500m) for more than 1,800 non-profits around the globe.

As for the lipstick itself, the satin shade has mauve undertones and a hint of shimmer. And while it has a slightly matte finish, it didn’t feel drying on the lips. If you think your recipient would suit something a little bit darker, the viva glam I shade served up a serious statement in a great plum colour.

Bloom & Wild florist’s pick

Best: Last-minute flowers

We’re big fans of Bloom & Wild – it’s saved us countless times when we’ve needed to send a last-minute, thoughtful gift. And we’ve recently discovered that when you buy a bunch of the brand’s florist’s pick it donates 15 per cent to Carer’s Trust, a charity that provides support, resources and respite breaks to unpaid carers.

The lucky recipient will receive a beautiful in-season bloom through their letterbox, so you won’t have to worry about them not being in to accept it. Plus, you can personalise the gift card to include a photo of you and them. Ideal if you run out of time ahead of Christmas or you’re buying for someone who appreciates a blooming great bunch of flowers.

The Tartan Blanket Co. lambswool knee blanket

Best: For the house proud

Surely no living room is complete without a cosy blanket? If your recipient is without, then Christmas offers the perfect time to give them the comfort they deserve. The Tartan Blanket Co. is a great destination for just that – selling a whole number of different coloured and patterned throws, including block colour, check and herringbone. But we were taken by this gingham number. It’s a decent size (75cm x 200cm) and super soft, so is perfect for a cold winter’s evening spent on the sofa. It also looks gorgeous when thrown over a settee or bed, making it the ideal gift for the house proud.

It’s made from lambswool from Mongolia, where the blanket is also woven. What’s more, in a bid to make a difference, it’s part of both 1 per cent for the Planet and 1 per cent for the People, which are organisations that work to tackle environmental and humanitarian issues. Last year, The Tartan Blanket Co. donated £60,000 to a number of charities including Choose Love, The Trussell Trust and TreeApp, proving that it is committed to giving back.

War Child Bella Freud peace and love tee

Last year, in honour of its 25th anniversary, War Child teamed up with a stellar line-up of designers to produce a capsule collection of T-shirts. This version, by London-based brand Bella Freud, is one we’ve gifted multiple times.

For every purchase, a donation of £6.25 will be made to War Child, a charity dedicated to helping children who are forced to live with the brutality of war, aiming to reach them as early as possible when conflict breaks out and support them through recovery. Its vital work covers five countries – Iraq, Yemen, the Central African Republic, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo – and targets four main areas: protection, education, livelihoods and advocacy.

The T-shirt also comes in black, and there’s even a winter-appropriate jumper (£40, Wearitforwarchild.com).

L’Occitane solidarity candle

Best: Candle

Who doesn’t love receiving a candle for Christmas? If you’re thinking of gifting one this year, we’d recommend opting for one that will do more than fragrance their home. For every L’Occitane solidarity candle purchased, 100 per cent of profits are donated to Unicef’s International Vitamin A Supplementation Programme, with the aim of helping prevent childhood blindness.

It has a sweet and subtle vanilla scent that’s not overpowering but throws well. We love the bright and bold design of the candle pot, which could easily be reused. Its price and excellent cause make it a great stocking filler, secret santa present, or gift for a friend or loved one.

Their Nibs classic kids pyjama set, navy lion moon print

Best: Charity gift for children

London-based sleepwear brand Their Nibs is all about creating “beautiful prints to brighten up the every day”, and this is exactly what its pyjamas do. If you’ve not had a look at its men’s and women’s range, we’d urge you to do so. But here we’re interested in its children’s offering. This 100 per cent cotton pair was a huge hit with our little tester, who praised them for being comfortable and soft on the skin.

If that wasn’t good enough already, the brand is donating 20 per cent of the profits from its kid’s PJs to Coram – a charity committed to supporting and improving the lives of vulnerable children and young people. The organisation supports children and young people from birth to independence, creating a change that lasts a lifetime.

It’s a great option if you’re stuck for ideas on what to buy a little one. If you’re not sure about this design, there’s a whole host to choose from, including cheetahs and a jungle print.

Our Place always pan

Best: For home cooks

Chances are you’ve seen the Our Place always pan all over Instagram this year. Owing to the deluge of hype, we were sceptical that it would perform well – but we had a blast when making everything from a fry up to ramen.

It’s an eight-in-one utensil that replaces the need for a steamer, strainer, sautee pan, saucepan, frying pan, non-stick pan and spoon rest, because it quite literally does it all. There are eight colours to choose from, from light grey to yellow. We also loved how neatly the spoon rested on the handle.

At £140, it’s undoubtedly expensive – but its versatility means any home cook would be over the moon to unwrap this on the big day. Plus, it’s still cheaper than Le Crueset.

The brand also donates 10 meals to The Felix Project, a London-based food redistribution charity supporting communities in need (and The Independent’s charity partner), for every purchase made. That means buying the brand’s plates (£45, Fromourplace.co.uk) and bowls (£40, Fromourplace.co.uk) would also result in a donation – they would make the perfect gift for any new homeowners this Christmas.

Choose Love basic wash bag

Best: Direct charity donation

Choose Love supports projects that provide emergency aid and vital long-term services to refugees and displaced people around. So if you want to do your bit this Christmas, the charity's online shop has a whole host of options for different budgets, from buying a family a hot meal (£10, Choose.love) to an emergency bundle (£45, Choose.love).

All are equally important gifts, but you can give the gift of hygiene during the pandemic with this basic wash bag. It contains hand sanitisers, sunscreen, mosquito repellent and other essentials. And at just £15, it really is a no-brainer.

Vida Vida leather compact wash bag

Best: Washbag

If you’re buying for a frequent traveller, or simply know someone who needs to update their washbag, this could be ideal. It’s made with a waterproof lining and features a separate zip pocket for keeping sharper objects away from your toiletries. It’s handmade from 100 per cent leather, and we think it gets better with age and a little bit of wear. What’s more, it arrives in a dust bag and can be personalised.

The brand has partnered up with United World Schools – a charity that is dedicated to providing education to children from conflict-affected, remote and marginalised communities across the world. Vida Vida is providing support through the organisation’s bag for a bag programme – for every purchase over £25, the brand provides the provisions of a school bag to a child in need. Your giftee will also receive details on how they’ve helped.

The verdict: Best charity Christmas gifts

It’s not easy to choose, but we think that over the busy festive period, everyone could do with some extra relaxation — so the Aromatherapy Associates inner strength bath and shower oil is our top pick. It’s not something that you’d necessarily buy for yourself, making it a decadent treat. And it received rave reviews from a broad range of testers, proving it is a real crowdpleaser.

For a beer lover, you simply cannot go wrong with Brewgooder’s mixed pack or, if you want to win extra brownie points, its subscription service. Equally though, we love the sentiment of gifting the Choose Love basic wash bag.

Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on Christmas presents, try the links below:

Want to have a great countdown to Christmas? Read our guide to the best beauty advent calendars

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.