Give Good!

♪♪♪ It's the most wonderful time of the year! ♪♪♪ And the most stressful, because we're all trying to get our year-end done at work, better make those appointments you've been putting off, of course I'll make 8 dozen cookies for the office holiday party, better get the house cleaned before the cousins arrive, does little Joey still like trucks? (I'm tired just typing that).
Let DDG help you out. We've put together a guide of some great gifts for the holidays. There's something for everyone, most can be easily ordered online, and best of all, every one of them gives you the opportunity to support a charity, a local business, or sometimes both. These are gifts that do good, and when you give them, you feel good. Okay, technically the gifts aren't doing good, it's not like a hand-poured candle is about to go serve meals at a soup kitchen, but you're a smart cookie, you get the gist. Oooh, cookies...

1. Jaybird and Ro
For the littlest members of the family. Bibs, blankets, bandanas and bows are handmade by a Silver Spring-based mother-daughter team. Fabrics are fun and whimsical -- what toddler doesn't need a bib decorated with the periodic table or a headband in a woodland vine print? We dare you not to ask, "Do you make anything in this fabric for adults?"
Good Giving: Jaybird and Ro donates five percent of proceeds to DC Diaper Bank.
Where to Buy: Etsy

2. Where in the World Books
As lifelong lovers of reading, we think that books are some of the finest gifts that can be given (or gotten). Where in the World Books is a mobile bookseller offering texts to help children and adults of all ages better understand different cultures. 
Good Giving: One of the goals of the company is to provide books that "(equip) our kids to be good citizens in our democracy,  where civic involvement on specific issues is the key to responsible government," as well as supporting UNICEF and general literacy. As a mobile bookseller, WINWB visits local markets, schools and fundraisers. 
Where to Buy: OnlineBethesda Farm Women's MarketDowntown Holiday Market

3. Urban Farm Plans
For the one with the (aspiring) green thumb. Don't we all have that friend who swears he'll start a vegetable garden "next spring"? Time for the excuses to stop. Urban Farm Plans offers consultation sessions, custom design and installation of equipment, including compost sifters and raised beds -- pretty much everything needed, short of the seeds and the watering can. Sure, it's not really a gift you can wrap, but what's Christmas without a little crafting? Break out the glitter and make a custom card: "Happy Holidays. I got you a dirt box."
Good Giving: UFP proprieters, brothers Eriks and Andrejs Brolis, are dedicated environmentalists and devotees of renewal energy. In addition to providing several options for helping customers compost -- a major waste saver, Urban Farm Plans also sells rain cisterns. Not only do cisterns collect rainwater to be recycled for garden use, they also help decrease runoff. In his spare time, Andrejs is a volunteer with National Park Service. The brothers have collaborated with area nonprofits, including Common Good City Farm, and provide community workshops on urban farming. 
Where to Buy: Contact UFP to discuss the ins and outs of their garden-riffic gift options. 

4. Handmade Habitat
Vegan, environmentally sound soy candles and gifts to soothe the body and soul. Give the gift of winter coziness with an amber and vanilla Nostalgia candle and a tin of soothing cinnamon orange clove Gather tea.
Good Giving: In addition to using eco-friendly materials and piloting a recycling program, Handmade Habitat often pairs with other local, women-owned small businesses that feature handmade items. For the holiday season, HH will donate 10 percent of sales to the National Resources Defense Council. Through science, law, business and advocacy, NRDC works to "ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities." 
Where to Buy: West Elm Holiday Pop-Up (Dec. 15), GRUMP (Dec. 17), Denizen's Crafts & Drafts (Dec. 18), online

5. Kicheko Goods
Kicheko: Swahili for "laughter." Handmade necklaces, bracelets and earrings are crafted at the Kicheko design studio in Washington, D.C. Individual pieces and collections are inspired by concepts such as travel, geometry and nature. Most jewelry is made from metal, wood, fabric, natural stones and leather, all ethically sourced whenever possible. We love this simple, but memorable English Fog lariat and the Hope 71 necklace, which represents the first 71 children to receive year-round scholarships to the Mango Tree School in Eastern Congo.
Good Giving: Every Kicheko purchase provides a child in the Democratic Republic of Congo with a scholarship to attend school for one month. “In 2014, proceeds from Kicheko were used to help construct a 6-classroom brick school building for the Mango Tree School.”
Where to Buy: Online, Steadfast Supply, 116 King Holiday Pop-Up

6. WritePads
Know someone who's forever sketching or scribbling away? A notebook from WritePads will make a great gift. Choose from a variety of designs, all with a kraft- paper-esque background. There are pocket sizes, steno pads, reporter pads, even notebooks for lefties. WritePad was founded by a third-generation book binder, and all products are made with an eye toward environmental sustainability.
Good Giving: For every notebook purchased, WritePad will donate one to a Baltimore City Public School.
Where to Buy: Online, Brightside Boutique

7. Chocotenango
The gorgeous bonbons from Chocotenango are what the concept of "mindful eating" was made for. Your lucky loved one will be almost reluctant to bite into the sunset ombre of a spicy Maya Chili caramel, then savor the heat of four chilis, the sweetness of caramel, and the bite of dark chocolate. And that's just one flavor! Go for the gift box full of colors and flavors, a tin of hot chocolate (or a trio!) for those blustery winter nights ahead, or how about gifting a chocolate class?! (We're very excited by this concept).
Good Giving: Chocotenango sources cacao beans from farmer-owned cooperatives in the Dominican Republic. A percentage of every bar of chocolate purchased goes to EcoLogic to catalyze community-powered conservation projects in Central America and Mexico.
Where to Buy: Online, also found at gourmet and local food shops throughout the DMV.

8. Leafyhead Lotions and Potions
Leafyhead features all-natural creations to soothe, scrub, pamper and protect your all-natural (or partially natural) body. Owner Tricia McCauley is an herbalist, nutritionist, health coach and yoga teacher (total underachiever, right?). Her products are all organic, sourced locally and ethically as much as possible. We wouldn't mind a man sprinkled with woodsy Gentlemanly Dusting Powder, or how about some ginger- and- cardamom-scented winter Body Butter? 
Give Good: Tricia is the resident herbalist at Common Good City Farm, which offers nutrition and gardening education, and helps fight food insecurity in the District. She offers herbal workshops that help you learn about how to identify healing herbs and transform them into teas, lotions and more. 
Where to Buy: Etsy, Bloomingdale Holiday Bazaar (Dec. 17, 18) 3 Stars Brewing Artists & Artisans Holiday Extravaganza (Dec. 18)

9. Spoil Me Rotten Dog Biscuit Co.
Do you know any of those people who just live for their pets? Oh, you are those people. Okay. Well, let me just remove my foot from my esophagus and direct you to Spoil Me Rotten Dog Biscuit Co., which offers all-natural, small-batch dog biscuits, free of common allergens like soy, wheat and corn. Gift your favorite furry friend (who is also a dog) tasty treats in flavors like duck confit, peanut butter delight and, yes, pumpkin n' spice. What's the over-under on how many humans taste their pet's canine cookies?
Good Giving: In addition to giving your dog a biscuit that's free of fake, nasty crap, a portion of every sale goes to the Spoil Me Rotten Foundation, providing dog biscuits and donations to animal rescue groups.
Where to Buy: Online, Stores throughout the United States

10. Bailiwick Clothing Company 
Here's your gift for that friend who's just full of DC pride. Brothers and Cleveland natives J.C. and Jeff Smith created their line of #DedicatedToDC clothing in honor of their adopted hometown. "...we chose D.C. We weren’t born into it. It wasn’t an arranged marriage. We chose you," J.C. said in an interview with Medium. "We chose D.C. as our prom date, so to speak." 
You won't see sports logos or cherry blossoms here. That's not their, uh... wheelhouse. Dig this scoopneck 202 tee, or how about a soft, cotton call to make DC the 51st state (dare to dream). Bryce Harper wore one over the summer, if that helps. 
Good Giving: Bailiwick partners with The Black Upstart, an organization that trains African American entrepreneurs in the art and science of starting a business. The Smith brothers local Strivers, so called after the Strivers Section neighborhood, the area that has been synonymous with Black leadership since the 1870's. 
Where to Buy: Online





Keep checking in with us here and on our Facebook as we add more give good gifts to our Chrismakwanfestikah list. You can also check out our picks from 2014 (1, 2, 3) and 2015 (style, taste, pet, read, bling, cozy). Happy shopping! #GiveGoodFeelGood

Editor's notes: These products may be available at additional locations, including holiday markets. Retail locations were included if the stockist site mentioned the vendor. Markets or pop-ups were included if the information was on the vendor website. All photos were borrowed from the websites of the respective businesses featured here. 







Hashtag Holiday Giving - Social Media Campaigns We Love

1. Oxfam America's Unwrapped holiday gift catalogue allows for donations to support families in need. For $150, you can support a midwife's training, or give a pair of chickens for only $18. Follow all the good on Twitter via the hashtag #Unwrapped (not to be confused with the Food Network Show) at @OxfamAmerica.

2. Evite and Pledgeling's #GiveMeFive challenge is a fun way to send holiday greetings to friends, family and coworkers, while encouraging them to make small donations ($5) to charity. Guests can opt to make a donation when they RSVP to a party. Easy as pie. 

3. Goodwill is offering a simple solution to the environmental impact of shopping online: Take the boxes you receive and use them to ship donations of clothing and household items. Visit to send donations for free, and follow the impact via #GiveBackBox.

You might need to fight for your box.

You might need to fight for your box.

Holiday Markets That Do Good

If you couldn’t make it to GiveGood! Holiday Bazaar, you missed out. But don’t worry -- you’re not completely out of luck. Check out five area markets that feature nonprofit and local vendors. 


  1. Downtown Holiday Market is the big one. There’s a rotating cast of vendors (60 a day), According to the website, “ the market features more than 150 regional artisans, crafters and boutique businesses of ethnically produced goods.” We think they might mean ethically…. Through Dec. 23, Noon - 8 p.m. daily, 8th and F Streets

Get leather goods by Katie Stack of  Stitch & Rivet

Get leather goods by Katie Stack of Stitch & Rivet

2. Ever hear that expression "what do you get for the person who has everything"? How about a present at National Education Association's Alternative Gift Fair? An alternative gift fair gives you the opportunity to learn about the needs of different organizations like Heifer International or Music For Life, and sponsor them in your loved one's name.

3. The Del Ray Artists is a nonprofit organization working to promote the works of local artists for the enrichment of the community. Check out their holiday market over the next three weekends. There are different vendors on hand each time -- the perfect excuse to go back! Dec. 4, 11, 18, 6-9 p.m.; Dec. 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 11 a.m - 6 p.m. Del Ray Artisans Gallery at the Nicholas A. Colasanto Center, 2704 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA

Find paintings by artist Claudia Olivos, owner, along with her husband Sergio, of  Olivos Art Studio    

Find paintings by artist Claudia Olivos, owner, along with her husband Sergio, of Olivos Art Studio


4. HOLIDAZE, a pop up shop by Fenton Street Market in Silver Spring, features the work of 40 local creative beings. Find handmade goods from crocheted stuffed animals to photographic gift wrap. Megan Moriarty, owner of Fenton Street Market, called supporting local makers and micro businesses an "amazingly effective" way to spend your dollars for good. 

One Sock On Photography owner Jennifer Vallina will be selling gift wrap and other paper goods featuring her photos.

One Sock On Photography owner Jennifer Vallina will be selling gift wrap and other paper goods featuring her photos.

5. Imagine you're in Europe at A Holiday Market in Alexandria. Get special gifts and let kids decorate their own Christmas ornament. Donate toys and canned food to Volunteer Alexandria and Hunger-Free Alexandria

BUILD has branches in DC, Boston, NYC and the Bay Area. This image is from a Holiday Sales Bazaar in Oakland, CA.  

BUILD has branches in DC, Boston, NYC and the Bay Area. This image is from a Holiday Sales Bazaar in Oakland, CA.