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Give gifts that give back this holiday!

Our 2016 gift guide highlights giving for community and environment

December 13, 2016 by Centaine Hlushak on Alora Boutique, Calgary Reads, Ellie Bianca, Hotel Arts, Lowen's, MaƱana Imports and Gifts, Mealshare, Neal's Yard Remedies, Place2Give, ReWorks Upcycle Shop, Righteous Gelato, River Cafe, SwizzleSticks SalonSpa

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! While you’re doing your holiday shopping this year, consider the following gifts that give back:

  1. The Be Local Lip Balm was introduced last winter as a partnership between REAP, Lowen’s Skincare, SwizzleSticks SalonSpa, and Apiaries and Bees for Communities. The ingredients of this lip balm include beeswax, honey, and canola oil that are all sourced locally, with $1 from every purchase going towards Apiaries and Bees for Communities’ Bumblebee Rescue program right here in Calgary. Click here to read more about it and find which REAP retailers have them for sale.
  2. Neal’s Yard Remedies has a full line of skincare products called Bee Lovely, infused with organic honey and orange essential oils. Each purchase helps raise money for save-the-bees programs in the United Kingdom: Buglife, Landlife, and Pesticide Action Network UK. These can be purchased online, or at the retail locations on 4th Street or in Southcentre Mall.
  3. Ellie Bianca is a natural skincare retailer where shea is the main ingredient. The shea is harvested by a women’s co-op in Chad. Each member of the co-op is a shareholder of the company, so each purchase of Ellie Bianca lip balm or body oil gives profit to a woman in a developing country. Click here to order through the Ellie Bianca website.
  4. The Unlock Collection is the latest line from local jewelry designer Alora Boutique. The line features brass key necklaces emblazoned with empowering words like “Brave,” “Badass,” and “Happy.” With every necklace, $10 is donated to the Mustard Seed. Alora Boutique is hoping to raise $1,000 for the shelter, where it also provides regular jewelry-making workshops to give women in need new tools and skills to get back on their feet. Necklaces are available online or at these retailers, including SwizzleSticks SalonSpa and ReWorks Upcycle Shop.
  5. Mealshare provides a meal to a youth in need each time you purchase a Mealshare menu item from any of its 70 partner restaurants in Calgary. This holiday, give a gift card for a unique dining experience at Deane House, Fiasco Gelato, Poolside at Hotel Arts, River Café, or Yellow Door Bistro and tell your recipient to watch for the orange Mealshare symbols on the menu.
  6. TheCardThatGives by Place2Give Foundation is a charitable gift card that allows your recipient to choose one of 90,000 Canadian charities to receive the gift. Companies can purchase cards in bulk to give to employees and clients, and Place2Give will provide a custom landing page to see where the donations are going. Denominations range from $10 to $100. Cards can be purchased online at
  7. Puzzles for Good has social change-themed word puzzles for downloading, with a portion of proceeds going towards a related charity or non-profit. Give the gift of entertainment this holiday and give back to Joy Socks, Calgary Reads, and Made by Momma. Get yours here.
  8. At Mañana Imports and Gifts, every item is directly and fairly sourced from artisans in developing countries, from Guatemala to Nepal. Based in Kensington for over two decades, it’s a treasure trove of jewelry, knick-knacks, clothing and musical instruments. Stop in at 1132 Kensington Rd NW through December 24th to pick up unique, exotic gifts from around the world.


  1. Share how you’re giving back this holiday season! Tag @reapcalgary on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and use the hashtag #belocal.
  2. Looking for other local businesses to support? Click here to search our directory.