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A necklace that fights homelessness and 30 other holiday gifts with a bigger purpose.

At Upworthy, we believe a little generosity can go a long way. And that's especially true during the holidays.

So naturally, we wanted our 2016 gift guide to be tailored just for you — our big-hearted readers who can appreciate a great gift that also makes the world a better place.

We rounded up the hippest, neatest, most unique products we could find that give back to a variety of worthy causes in important ways. From empowering women in the developing world and keeping our planet pristine, to helping pets in need and fighting human trafficking, you and your loved ones can feel great about their presents this year knowing your purchase went to a cause near and dear to their heart.


Here are 31 holiday gifts that give back, separated into three sections — gifts for grown-ups, for kids, and for your four-legged friends.

NOTE: Upworthy has no official business partnerships with the companies and nonprofit organizations featured in this guide. We just think they have fantastic gifts that give back.

1. The lounge pants of your dreams: $54

Inspired by the Sanskrit word "Sundara," which means "beautiful," these comfy jammies are just that. Made of 100% cotton with side pockets, these pants are perfect for lounging the day away. Each pair you buy is also handmade by women who are survivors of human trafficking and now work as seamstresses. Get some Punjammies.

2. A dashing tie that helps military families: $95

When you buy one of these stylish ties, you're helping the families of fallen soldiers through the Folded Flag Foundation. According to the company's website, each purchase helps fund scholarships for the children and spouses of those who've lost their lives in service, with $5 donated for every tie. Get the tie.

3. A power source that spreads the light: $79

The adventurous techie on your list is going to love this. The WakaWaka Power+ is a solar charger and flashlight in one. It provides 150 hours of bright LED light with a single charge from the sun. It can also charge a smartphone, camera, and any other gear with a USB port. Every purchase will also provide solar light to a family in crisis or living without electricity through International Rescue Committee. Get a WakaWaka.

4. A colorful cardigan to keep them warm: $128

This soft cardigan is made from Peruvian Alpaca wool, and it’s guaranteed to keep your loved ones feeling warm and fuzzy all season long. 25% of each item sold goes to UNICEF, and those funds help to provide vaccines, oral rehydration salts, and nourishment to children in need. Get the Blue Chakana cardigan.

5. A bracelet for your BFF: $76

For your conscientious bestie, look no further. Article22 utilizes the talents of skilled local artisans in Laos to turn Vietnam War shrapnel into stunning jewelry as part of their Peacebomb collection. These friendship bracelets are helping to clear out some of the 80 million unexploded bombs still littering Laos.  Get your friendship bracelet set.

6. A selfless statement cuff: $64

Your fierce and fashionable loved one will appreciate this bronze statement cuff by Raven + Lily. The cuff is sustainably made made from upcycled metal by female artisans in Kenya. Each cuff sold helps provide women in the Kibera slum area of Nairobi, with a way to earn a sustainable living. Get Raven + Lily's statement cuff.

7. Socks with a message: $45

Give your loved one the gift of a right step forward by gifting them these Conscious Step socks. The trio of socks provides two schoolbooks through Room to Read and 18 months of clean water through Water.Org. Want even more of a good conscious? The socks are created in fair trade conditions with organic cotton.  Get a Conscious Step box of socks.

8. An everyday necklace with great impact: $56

The Giving Keys employs people transitioning out of homelessness to make these meaningful keys, inscribed with messages like "hope" and "dream." The wearer is encouraged to embrace the word on their key and then pass the key on to someone who needs it more. Get a mini-key necklace.

9. Beanies that help Mother Nature: $20

Perfect for your friend who loves the Great Outdoors. To celebrate 100 years of the National Park Service, Pendleton has launched the National Park Collection, which includes towels, shoes, and accessories like these classic beanies. A portion of proceeds from the collection will benefit two park restoration projects from the National Park Foundation.Get the Pendleton beanies.

10. A vibrant clutch: $35

It holds all your necessities — and gives back to girls who need an education. This beautiful clutch from Bloom & Give is made of durable cotton and comes in four bright prints. Each purchase will also help a girl go to school. To date, Bloom & Give has enrolled over 100,000 girls in school.Get a Kayva Clutch.

11. A worldly windbreaker: $80

This windbreaker might be reminiscent of the 1980s, but it's actually all about the future. Made by Cotopaxi, a certified B-corporation, purchasing this jacket will help fund grants that focus on alleviating poverty, health care, education, and livelihood development around the world.Get the windbreaker.

12. Girl Power T-shirt: $35

1973 was a historic year for women's rights. It was the year the Supreme Court decided on Roe versus Wade — that every woman should have the right to safe, legal abortions. For every 1973 T-shirt sold, Prinkshop will give 30% of the profit to the National Institute for Reproductive Health. Get the T-shirt.

13. Sunglasses that help give sight to others: $149

TOMS has been at the forefront of "one-for-one" giving, and their sleek, new sunglasses line is no exception. We love this throwback design mixed with the modern TOMS feel, a hand-finished frame, and 100% of all the UVA/UVB protection you'll ever need. With every purchase TOMS will help give sight to a person in need through sight-saving surgery, prescription glasses or medical treatment. Get the glasses.

14. Guilt-free sneakers: $130

These minimalist kicks are from Veja, which sources its materials from organic cotton farms and wild rubber producers and production takes place in fair trade factories in Brazil. Bottom line: When you purchase these sneakers, you're buying eco-friendly and fair trade footwear. Get Veja's Velcro Pierre sneakers.

15. A pin to take on the future together: $10

Pins are everywhere this season so why not gift one that gives back? This lovely Together pin from Just Peachy stands up for women's rights and health care for all. When you purchase the pin,  50% of total sales will be donated directly to Planned Parenthood. Get the Together pin.

16. An umbrella that fights for freedom: $23

When it rains, it pours, so protect those who need it. The ACLU is more crucial than ever right now to help defend the rights and liberties of people across the country. Every umbrella purchase supports the ACLU. Get the freedom umbrella.

17.  Earbuds that help others listen: $70

For the music fan in your circle. LSTN created a pretty pair of rose gold earbuds that provide high quality audio. The wireless ear buds have a battery life of over 10 hours and come with a nifty vegan leather pouch. Even better: Your LSTN purchase helps give hearing aids to someone in need through the Starkey Hearing Foundation. Get the rose gold earbuds.

18. The perfect pouch for bookworms: $15

Because we all have a Jane Austen fanatic in our lives. 100% of proceeds from this purple pouch will help fund the renowned New York Public Library. NYPL is the largest public library system in the country, so your purchase is helping a grand institution keep people reading. Get the library pouch.

19. Sweet treats: $30-$120

Get freshly baked cookies delivered in flavors such as lemon sugar, peanut butter chocolate, and triple chocolate chunk. A Cookies for Kids' Cancer purchase will support research at the best pediatric cancer centers across the country. Get the cookies.

20. Body lotion with heart: $8-$28

'Tis the season for dry skin, so keep your friends protected with body lotion. The ingredients in Lush's Charity Pot alone will make them feel amazing with fair trade olive oil and shea butter. And Lush donates 100% of proceeds from the lotion to environmental, animal, and human rights orgs. To date, they have donated over $17 million to great causes. Get the Charity Pot body lotion.

21. A book written by girls, for girls: $20

Girls Write Now is after-school initiative that just published its newest installment of poetry and essays — "(R)evolution: The Girls Write Now 2016 Anthology" — written by the young women who participate in the program. Proceeds from the bookhelp empower underserved teen girls by pairing them with mentors who are professional writers. Previous anthologies have won awards and have been praised by literary figures such as Roxane Gay, Janet Mock, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Gloria Steinem.
Get "(R)evolution: The Girls Write Now 2016 Anthology."

22. Art fighting hate: $10 (and up)

Illustrator Jeff Couturier wants you to donate to some important charities, including ACLU, NAACP, and Planned Parenthood. When you make a donation, email him the receipt and he'll create an original illustration for you. "When it comes to hate and intolerance, I don't want to make a little dent with my small donation. I want to kick the door down with a few million friends," he said of the project. 100% of what you donate goes directly to the cause of your choice and you'll receive handmade art for your friend. It’s truly a win-win.Get the original art.

23. A bottle of wine that helps feed the world: $59

OneHope is an award-winning Napa winery, so you know this bottle of sparkling wine is going to taste great, as well as give back. In the last six years, OneHope has donated over 1.1 million meals to children, along with providing monetary donations, shelter, and vaccines. Every Bottle of OneHope gold sparkling wine equals 15 meals for children in need. Get OneHope gold sparkling wine.

24. A cool cat that fights hunger: $45

Maximus the Cat from Cuddle + Kind is peak kitten cuteness, hand-knitted with cotton yard. His favorite quote — “Start each day with a grateful heart” — is a perfect holiday reminder to all of us to stay thankful, even during the toughest of times. When you buy Maximus, you'll be providing 10 meals to children in need through the World Food Program's School Meals Program. Get Maximus the Cat.

25. A ukulele that keeps America informed: $40

What's more charming than a kid playing a little four-string Hawaiian guitar? NPR's DIY wood ukulele kit is super easy to assemble and made-ready to stain or personalize, whichever way you please. This gift's proceeds will benefit NPR, a public radio station that provides all Americans with thoughtful programming known for broadening horizons. Get NPR's ukulele.

26. A baby hat that helps Haiti: $25

Silky and snug, Haiti Babi's hat is made from the same warm pima cotton as the company's blankets — yet it's durable enough to survive the three Ts: “teething, tumbles, and tantrums.” When you buy this hat, you'll be helping provide a living wage to the Haitian women who make them.Get Haiti Babi's baby hat.

27. The fire hydrant that fights for dogs: $20

Your pup will be all over this smiley toy from PrideBites. It squeaks, it floats, and its sales help fund the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation, a group fighting back against animal cruelty and neglect in all its forms.Get the dog toy.

28. "Ugly" holiday doggy T-shirt: $16

Don't forget — your pets aren't immune to the changing seasons either. Bundle up your little furball with this "ugly" holiday T-shirt (that looks like a sweater). Proceeds from the sale benefit the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an American animal rights organization.Get your pup's "ugly" holiday sweater.

29. Veggie toys good for your (cat's) soul: $9 each

Your cat might not like eating veggies but will definitely enjoy these eggplant- and radish-shaped toys, which are handmade in California using 100% organic catnip. Like the dog shirt above, your purchase of these toys helps PETA fight for animal rights. Get the veggie cat toys.

30. Delicious dog peanut butter: $10

Dogsbutter — yep, peanut butter for dogs — is a healthy way to take your treat-giving game up a notch. It’s made from peanuts and flaxseed, minus any sugar, salt, or hydrogenated oils you may want to avoid, and it works wonders when you're trying to get your pup to swallow some medicine. What's more, for each item you buy, an equal amount of food is provided to a pet shelter, so dogs in need will also benefit. Get Dogsbutter for your four-legged friend.

31. Starchaser cat toy: $23

Is your cat slowly destroying your sofa? This scratch pad with catnip — which comes with a motion-activated LED ball on a circular track — will keep your kitty occupied for hours (instead of ruining your furniture). Your purchase will help the Animal Rescue Site provide food and care for our furry friends in need. Get the Starchaser cat toy.

Island School Class, circa 1970s.

Parents, do you think your child would be able to survive if they were transported back to the '70s or '80s? Could they live at a time before the digital revolution put a huge chunk of our lives online?

These days, everyone has a phone in their pocket, but before then, if you were in public and needed to call someone, you used a pay phone. Can you remember the last time you stuck 50 cents into one and grabbed the grubby handset?

According to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, roughly 100,000 pay phones remain in the U.S., down from 2 million in 1999.

Do you think a 10-year-old kid would have any idea how to use a payphone in 2022? Would they be able to use a Thomas Guide map to find out how to get somewhere? If they stepped into a time warp and wound up in 1975, could they throw a Led Zeppelin album on the record player at a party?


Another big difference between now and life in the '70s and '80s has been public attitudes toward smoking cigarettes. In 1965, 42.4% of Americans smoked and now, it’s just 12.5%. This sea change in public opinion about smoking means there are fewer places where smoking is deemed acceptable.

But in the early '80s, you could smoke on a bus, on a plane, in a movie theater, in restaurants, in the classroom and even in hospitals. How would a child of today react if their third grade teacher lit up a heater in the middle of math class?

Dan Wuori, senior director of early learning at the Hunt Institute, tweeted that his high school had a smoking area “for the kids.” He then asked his followers to share “something you experienced as a kid that would blow your children’s minds.”


A lot of folks responded with stories of how ubiquitous smoking was when they were in school. While others explained that life was perilous for a kid, whether it was the school playground equipment or questionable car seats.

Here are a few responses that’ll show today’s kids just how crazy life used to be in the '70s and '80s.

First of all, let’s talk about smoking.

Want to call someone? Need to get picked up from baseball practice? You can’t text mom or dad, you’ll have to grab a quarter and use a pay phone.

People had little regard for their kids’ safety or health.

You could buy a soda in school.

Things were a lot different before the internet.

Remember pen pals?

A lot of people bemoan the fact that the children of today aren’t as tough as they were a few decades back. But that’s probably because the parents of today are better attuned to their kids’ needs so they don't have to cheat death to make it through the day.

But just imagine how easy parenting would be if all you had to do was throw your kids a bag of Doritos and a Coke for lunch and you never worried about strapping them into a car seat?


This article originally appeared on 06.08.22

Michael B. Jordan speaking at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con International, for "Black Panther", at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California.

As long as humans have endeavored to do anything great, there have been those who have tried to take them down. These are the opposite of the creators in life: the bullies, haters and naysayers who only want to bring people down to their level.

But when you have a dream and desire, its easy to tune out the voices of negativity. "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better,” Theodore Roosevelt once said. “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena."

Some folks use the naysayers as fuel to push them to work even harder. Basketball legend Michael Jordan was infamous for letting his thirst for revenge drive him to even greater heights on the court.


Another Michael Jordan, "Black Panther" star, Michael B. Jordan, came face to face with someone who doubted that he could reach his dreams, and he wasn’t shy about letting her know that he remembered. What's Upworthy about the encounter is that he did so with class and confidence.

In 2023, Jordan was on the red carpet for the premiere of "Creed III," a film he starred in and directed. He was interviewed by “The Morning Hustle” radio show host Lore’l, who had recently admitted on the “Undressing Room” podcast that she used to make fun of him in school.

“You know what’s so crazy? I went to school with Michael B. Jordan at a point in life,” Lore’l said. “And to be honest with you, we teased him all the damn time because his name was Michael Jordan. Let’s start there, and he was no Michael Jordan.”

“He also would come to school with a headshot,” she added. “We lived in Newark. That’s the hood. We would make fun of him like, ‘What you gonna do with your stupid headshot?’ And now look at him!”

In addition, her co-host, Eva Marcille, referred to Jordan as “corny.”

Jordan had no problem discussing their past on the red carpet. “We go way back, all the way back to Chad Science [Academy] in Newark,” Lore’l told the actor. Oh yeah, I was the corny kid, right?” Jordan responded with a smirk.

“No, you did not hear me say that! I said we used to make fun of the name,” Lore’l said.

“I heard it,” Jordan said. “I heard it. It’s all good. What’s up?” he responded. “But yeah, [you are] obviously killing things out here…you’re not corny anymore,” Lore’l clarified.

After the exchange went viral, Lore’l admitted that she teased Jordan in school, but they were only classmates for one year.

“So the narrative that I bullied him all throughout high school—this was 7th grade. We were like 12 years old, and everyone made fun of each other,” Lore’l said. “That was school, you know. That was one year. And, again, I’ve never bullied him. That just sounds so outrageous to me.”

Jordan later shared some advice on how to deal with bullies.

"Just stay focused, just stay locked in,” he told a reporter from Complex. “You know, just follow your heart, try to block out the noise and distractions as much as possible and run your race. Don't compare yourself to anybody else. Just keep going."

via Pixabay

A sad-looking Labrador Retriever

The sweet-faced, loveable Labrador Retriever is no longer America’s favorite dog breed. The breed best known for having a heart of gold has been replaced by the smaller, more urban-friendly French Bulldog.

According to the American Kennel Club, for the past 31 years, the Labrador Retriever was America’s favorite dog, but it was eclipsed in 2022 by the Frenchie. The rankings are based on nearly 716,500 dogs newly registered in 2022, of which about 1 in 7 were Frenchies. Around 108,000 French Bulldogs were recorded in the U.S. in 2022, surpassing Labrador Retrievers by over 21,000.


The French Bulldog’s popularity has grown exponentially over the past decade. They were the #14 most popular breed in 2012, and since then, registrations have gone up 1,000%, bringing them to the top of the breed popularity rankings.

The AKC says that the American Hairless Terrier, Gordon Setter, Italian Greyhound and Anatolian Shepherd Dog also grew in popularity between 2021 and 2022.

The French Bulldog was famous among America’s upper class around the turn of the 20th century but then fell out of favor. Their resurgence is partly based on several celebrities who have gone public with their Frenchie love. Leonardo DiCaprio, Megan Thee Stallion, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Reese Witherspoon and Lady Gaga all own French Bulldogs.

The breed earned a lot of attention as show dogs last year when a Frenchie named Winston took second place at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and first in the National Dog Show.

The breed made national news in early 2021 when Gaga’s dog walker was shot in the chest while walking two of her Frenchies in a dog heist. He recovered from his injuries, and the dogs were later returned.

They’ve also become popular because of their unique look and personalities.

“They’re comical, friendly, loving little dogs,” French Bull Dog Club of America spokesperson Patty Sosa told the AP. She said they are city-friendly with modest grooming needs and “they offer a lot in a small package.”

They are also popular with people who live in apartments. According to the AKC, Frenchies don’t bark much and do not require a lot of outdoor exercise.

The French Bulldog stands out among other breeds because it looks like a miniature bulldog but has large, expressive bat-like ears that are its trademark feature. However, their popularity isn’t without controversy. “French bulldogs can be a polarizing topic,” veterinarian Dr. Carrie Stefaniak told the AP.

american kennel club, french bulldog, most popular dog

An adorable French Bulldog

via Pixabay

French Bulldogs have been bred to have abnormally large heads, which means that large litters usually need to be delivered by C-section, an expensive procedure that can be dangerous for the mother. They are also prone to multiple health problems, including skin, ear, and eye infections. Their flat face means they often suffer from respiratory problems and heat intolerance.

Frenchies are also more prone to spine deformations and nerve pain as they age.

Here are the AKC’s top ten most popular dog breeds for 2022.

1 French Bulldogs

2 Labrador Retrievers

3 Golden Retrievers

4 German Shepherd Dogs

5 Poodles

6 Bulldogs

7 Rottweilers

8 Beagles

9 Dachshunds

10 German Shorthaired Pointers


This article originally appeared on 03.17.23

Parenting

Mom creates a stir after refusing to drop her child off at a parent free birthday party

"I loved drop off parties. I didn't want to sit at some kids party."

Photos by Ivan Samkov and Gustavo Fring|Canva

Mom refuses to let kid go to "drop-off" birthday party

There are many Millennial moms that were raised on "Unsolved Mysteries" and "America's Most Wanted" during formative years, which may or may not have influenced the way they parent. It can be hard to think clearly when Robert Stack's voice is echoing in your head every time your child is out of eyesight. The jokes about what is responsible for the average Millennial's parenting style resembling more like a helicopter are endless. But sometimes additional caution is warranted where others may find it unnecessary.

At least that's what many folks on the internet believe after one mom seemingly split parents into two camps with her revelation about children's parties. Liv, who goes by the TikTok handle Liv SAHM, takes to social media to explain that her seven-year-old son was invited to a birthday party but when she went to RSVP, she noticed the invitation said, "drop off only."

The mom explains, "It's at someone's house. I don't know these parents. I don't know that there's actually going to be other adults besides this child's parents."


Liv states that she would not be dropping her young child off alone with strangers. To many parents this seems like a reasonable response. If you don't know the parents or any other adults then how can you ensure your child will be safe. Other parents felt like Liv was completely overreacting with a helicopter parenting style.

"Little kids have been going to peoples birthday parties without clingy parents for decades," one person declares.

"I'm a drop off kinda house. I want the parents to leave that is one less person I have to feed. I don't wanna have to make small talk with other parents," another says.

"That's a big no for me too! And I always try to take my kids to classmates parties because people never show up," someone writes.

"That's so worrisome. I completely agree with you mama bear, same with my son," a commenter says.

"Yeah, that would make me uncomfortable too! It's always a little interesting to me when parents drop off their kids at parties," someone else adds.

@livsahm

No thank you! I don’t feel comfortable with that. #mom #momsoftiktok #momlife #sahm #sahmlife #birthday #birthdayparty #celebration #controversial #parenting #parentingtips #parents #no

There's no right or wrong way to throw a party for a kid because there's no rulebook. Generally parents are accustomed to seeing invitations that say no siblings or the offer of parents staying or leaving. Many commenters pointed out that it seemed odd that the invitation was worded in a way that sounded like parents staying wasn't an option.

Some parents noted that the world has changed since they were children and wouldn't feel safe dropping their kids off either. Others found no issue with it and think fellow parents are overreacting. What do you say, odd or perfectly fine?

Family

Dad shares what happens when you give your child books instead of a smartphone

The key to fostering healthy habits in children is to be wholly present and reject the “pressures of convenience”

via Armando Hart (used with permission)

Armando Hart and his son, Raya.

One of the most pressing dilemmas for parents these days is how much screen time they should allow their children. Research published by the Mayo Clinic shows that excessive screen time can lead to obesity, disrupted sleep, behavioral issues, poor academic performance, exposure to violence and a significant reduction in playtime.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting screen time to 1 to 2 hours daily for children over 2. But American children spend far more time in front of screens than that and the situation is only worsening.

Before the pandemic, kids between the ages of 4 and 12 spent an average of 4.4 hours a day looking at screens, but since 2020, the average child’s daily screen time has increased by 1.75 hours.


A father in Long Beach, California, is getting some love for his TikTok video sharing what happens when you give your kid books instead of an iPhone. Armando Hart posted a video showing his 10-year-old son, Raya, reading a book in the back of a car and it’s been seen over 8 million times.

"Give them books instead of phones when they are little and this is the result," the caption reads. "Thank me later."

We’re so blessed with our son Raya. I think he’s read more books than I have.

@lifeinmotion08

We’re so blessed with our son Raya. I think he’s read more books than I have. #Books #Read #Fyp

Hart and his wife started reading to their son every night before bedtime, hoping to instill a love for books. "It was all about leading by example and creating a nurturing environment where reading was celebrated," Hart told Newsweek. These days, Raya is an avid reader who enjoys just about anything.

“My son likes novels, fiction, nonfiction, and realistic fiction,” Hart told Upworthy. “He also likes informative content, such as reading the almanac and other informative magazines. He loves to build, cook from recipes, and make art.”

For Hart, reading is all about creating a sense of balance in his son’s life.

“It's not about being against technology but about fostering a balanced approach that prioritizes meaningful experiences and hands-on learning,” he told Upworthy. “By instilling a love for reading, creativity, and exploration early on, we're equipping Raya with the skills and mindset he needs to thrive in an ever-changing world.”

Hart believes that the screen time discussion isn’t just about technology but a trend that goes deeper. “It speaks to a broader societal problem: our youth's lack of self-esteem, confidence and fundamental values. While screen time may exacerbate these issues, it is not the sole cause,” he told Upworthy.

“In contrast, physical activity, such as exercise, promotes joy and well-being. Spending hours scrolling on a phone can detract from genuine moments of happiness and fulfillment,” he continued. “Therefore, we must address the deeper underlying issues affecting our youth's mental and emotional health rather than solely attributing them to screen time.”

Hart believes the key to fostering healthy habits in children is to be wholly present and reject the “pressures of convenience” that encourage parental complacency.

“We prioritize quality time together, whether exploring nature, sharing meals with the best available foods, or engaging in meaningful conversations. In today's rapidly advancing technological world, staying grounded in our humanity and embodying integrity in everything we do is crucial,” he continued. “This means staying connected to our authentic selves and teaching our son the importance of honesty, kindness, and respect.”