Whether you need gifts to give for Christmas, Hanukah, a birthday, or graduation, why not give something that helps your recipient be their best self?
I mean, there’s a time and a place for everything—some gifts should definitely be frivolous, fun, or luxurious. But giving gifts is also an opportunity to invite your recipient to make a chance in themselves and the world.
Here are 9 gifts that do just that—some are on my own wish list, and some I crowd-sourced from my Facebook friends. They fit a range of budgets—from free to a couple hundred dollars. I hope they help you feel better about the gifts you give this year!
1. Donation to the charity of your recipient’s choice
Yes, it’s definitely a better person thing to do to give to worthy causes, but how do you decide what’s a worthy cause on behalf of someone else? You give them a gift card to Global Giving, which allows them to decide which organization they want the money to go to.
Price: Minimum of $10
2. Compost bin
Composting is one of my 2020 goals not just because I have a growing love of gardening. According to the EPA, one person who composts saves ½ pound of food waste from going to the landfill every day. For a family of four, that’s 2 pounds a day—over 700 pounds a year! Plus, compost enriches the soil so you’re not just reducing waste, you’re giving back to the Earth. I’ve got my eye on this one because it has the highest reviews on Home Depot and it has two separate chambers so you can have batches of compost in two different stages of compost-iness.
3. How to Be a Better Person book
Chock full of 401 ways to make a difference in yourself and the world, reviewers say about How to Be a Better Person: “This isn’t your normal boring self help book. It breaks each topic up in quick fun ways.” And “I like to share a lot of the excerpts with my husband and even my friends. Anyone can take away something good from this book!”
Book price: $14.99 (although $8.99 on Amazon as I write this)
4. How to Be a Better Person Podcast
If your recipient isn’t much of a reader, introduce them to the podcast version of How to Be a Better Person. How do you give a podcast? You use the brilliant website giftofapodcast.com, that’s how!
Podcast price: free
5. Aqua Notes
The kinds of inspired ideas you get in the shower are almost always the ones that come from a higher place—call it your intuition, your wisdom, the universe, what have you. And acting on those ideas pretty much always helps you be a better person. But not if you forget those ideas as soon as you dry off! This waterproof pad helps you capture those insights so you can act on them.
6. Jamie Oliver’s Veg Cookbook
Because eating less meat is good for us, good for animals, good for the planet, good for your wallet… it’s just good, OK? And Jamie Oliver’s food is always scrumptious and in recent years he cares a lot more about making his recipes simple and fast.
Price: $35 (though discounted at big online retailers)
7. MamaSezz Meal Service
OK, so maybe they don’t like to cook, but they still want to eat more plant-based foods. This meal service ships you meals that are ready to heat and eat (no cooking) that are also gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, peanut-free, and oil-free.
A friend of mine who swears by it says: “I eat way more vegetables and so much less carbon-heavy meat, now than in ever before in my life. I also notice better mood, fewer aches and pains, and a happier belly.”
And if you just want to send a little something to someone who’s been ill, lost someone they love, or just had a baby, you can also ship soups, such as Cauliflower Bisque or Hungarian Mushroom for $16.99 (because there is no better gift than healthy food when you’re dealing with something major).
Price: $169 for a family pack that includes 9 meals and 3 snacks for 4 people; $16.99 for three servings of soup
8. The Five-Minute Journal
I have two friends who swear by this to keep their happiness levels up—one even credited it with pulling her out of a severe depression. It gives you the same prompts to answer each day in a time-efficient method of getting you to focus on the good.
9. A Decent Travel Mug
Did you know that the paper cups that coffeeshops use for hot drinks are NOT recyclable (because they are lined with plastic)? Neither are the lids – only the cardboard sleeves are. That’s a consumable that’s so easy to stop consuming if you have a reusable mug. Your giftee probably already has a travel mug, but I’m willing to be it doesn’t work very well. This 20-ounce cup by Contigo was chosen as the number-one all-around best travel mug by TheSpruce.com, and has over 1200 reviews on walmart.com. I brought one with me on a recent plane trip and saved at least eight reusable cups from the landfill with it.
For more ideas on giftable items that help you be a better person, check out these podcast episodes for more ideas: