Holiday Survival Guide

The Gentleman’s Guide to Giving Better

The Gentleman’s Guide to Giving Better

How to avoid giving (and getting)
useless, wasteful crap

How to give better this holiday

It's the most wonderful time of the year and by that we mean: it's the time of year when we have to wrack our brains trying to effectively give gifts (and, in some cases, get gifts). This is a yearly hurdle that flares up around birthdays and anniversaries but year-end holidays deliver the biggest blow, right? Add a notoriously difficult year like 2018 into the mix and you have a truly unique headache on your hands. How can you alleviate the drama? By giving better, opting toward donations and unique gifts that hold goodness close to heart. To help you, we have a few ideas for alternative ways to give more than stuff this season.


Give goods that
pay it forward

While donations in lieu of a gift is well intentioned, sometimes people just want a physical something they can hold onto. To gift while giving, opt for more luxurious one-for-one model brands. In addition to one-for-one brands, some companies make significant charitable donations for any purchase like Patagonia or actor Eric Wareheim's up-and-coming winery.

Warby Parker Percey Limited-Edition Sunglasses

Percey limited-edition sunglasses,
from $95 by Warby Parker

Donates a pair and provides vision care to those in need.

Parachute Turkish Cotton Towel Bundle

Turkish cotton towel bundle,
$225 by Parachute

Donates mosquito nets through Nothing But Nets, a global campaign against malaria.

Field Notes National Park Series Notebooks

National Park series notebooks,
$13 by Field Notes

Donates 5% of every purchase to the National Park Service.

Patagonia Recyled Cashmere Hoodie

Recycled cashmere hoodie,
$249 by Patagonia

Donates portions of proceeds to environmental activism.

Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co. Nice List Blend

Nice List blend,
$14.99 by Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co.

Donates 20% of all profits to animal rescue organizations.

Starling Candles Juniper + Saffron Candle

Juniper + Saffron candle,
$34 by Starling Candles

Helps provide solar energy to communities in need around the world.


Give things away...

If you're feeling the need to purge before the onslaught of new things, donate your out-of-use goods to those in need. Outside of local charities—which watchdog Charity Navigator can help you find in your area—an organization like Habitat For Humanity offers a reputable place to give goods. Goodwill is another great alternative. The money its thrift stores make goes towards community programs like job training and classes for people who have disabilities or are otherwise challenged in finding traditional employment. But if you only have one or two things to donate, consider re-gifting the item. Years ago, it wasn't all that cool to do, but according to etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore, it's now universally accepted as long as the item is appropriate for the gift-getter and actually of value. "Just don't re-gift a present among the same social circle," she says. "That's where you can get yourself in trouble."

... and
get used

Speaking of re-gifting, take the idea of giving something not-new to the next level by shopping vintage, a smart solution for curbing holiday consumerism. Outside of rad local stores, there are plenty of used and vintage outlets online. Besides mainstays like eBay and Etsy, TheRealReal takes luxury consignment online while What Goes Around Comes Around offers thrilling (if not pricey) vintage fare. One Kings Lane has vintage housewares covered while 1stDibs is the destination for fairly affordable antiquity. For the tech fiend, brands like Apple and Canon or such outlets as Amazon Renewed offer trustworthy refurbished electronics.


Give change
in America

Consider giving to a cause near to a loved one's heart in their name. To defend vulnerable environments, give to the Environmental Defense Fund. To help fund the rehabilitation of orphaned wildlife in Kenya, try the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. To combat extremism and hate, donate to the Southern Poverty Law Center. To fight for immigration, particularly immigrant youth, consider United We Dream. To protect public policy for people with disabilities, pledge to The Arc. To ensure LGBTQ+ rights, give to Lambda Legal. Or to support veterans adjusting to life back home, The Mission Continues is a worthy organization.

Give without
knowing you're giving

Overwhelmed by giving decision fatigue? Set up ways to give money or information without doing much of anything. Coin Up rounds up the change from debit and credit card purchases to donate to charities of choice. Tab for a Cause gives tiny donations whenever you open a tab. And, for those needing something more tangible, consider donating airline miles and credit card points to help organizations like UNICEF and the Red Cross travel and house people in need.

How to give cash as a present

When all else fails ...

You might think cash is boring but giving money affords a freedom that dodges waste or a useless bad gift. If time isn't on your side or you're feeling uninspired, grab this gift at the most reliable store in America: your local ATM.

NOTE: Items featured in this story are independently selected by the editorial team. Purchasing via our links may earn Valet. a portion of the sale, which helps fund our editorial mission.

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