Newshub's definitive Christmas gift guide: Gifts that give back

  • 13/12/2018

With December underway and everyone beginning to panic about what to do buy their loved ones, do not fear! In this new series, Newshub has put together a definitive list of pressie ideas - from the budget to the bougie - to help you on your way.

As Christmas draws near, you might have bought the kid's toys, the kitchen appliances for the in-laws, gin-filled Christmas baubles for millennials, the latest tech gadgets... the list goes on.

But what about giving a gift that gives back to others? Whether its local kids in need, children around the world or an enterprise that offers others equal opportunity, these ventures are here to make a difference. 

Here are some of our favourites:

TOMS shoes


While traveling in Argentina in 2006, TOMS Founder Blake Mycoskie witnessed the hardships faced by children growing up without shoes. Wanting to help, he created TOMS Shoes - a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a new pair of shoes for a child in need.

The simple idea has evolved into a celebrated business model, providing 86 million + shoes to children in need.

TOMS went on to launch an eyewear range and with every pair of glasses purchased, TOMS helps restore sight to a person in need. So far vision has been re-gained by more than 600k people.

Recently TOMS unveiled their NZ arm and is intent on making an impact locally, teaming up with local partners like Everybody Eats to raise funds for their pay as you feel/food recycle restaurant.  

Founder Nicholas Loosely told Newshub TOMS were a key part in their crowdfunding campaign, allowing them to "give something meaningful apart from food back to our vulnerable people we serve". 

Newshub's definitive Christmas gift guide: Gifts that give back
Photo credit: Supplied / TOMS.

Eat My Lunch


An estimated 290,000 Kiwi kids live in poverty and many go to school without lunch.

Spearheaded by Lisa King, Eat My Lunch was actually inspired by TOMS.

"I thought 'that's such a simple idea, why don't we do it for lunch?' Because everybody eats lunch, every day," King told Newshub earlier in the year.

For each lunch bought, the social enterprise gives a lunch to a Kiwi kid who would otherwise go without, improving their health and wellbeing, as well as improving concentration and behaviour in classrooms.

Since they started, they have given over 1 million lunches to 91 schools throughout the country, feeding over 2,800 kids every school day.  

Newshub's definitive Christmas gift guide: Gifts that give back
Photo credit: Supplied / Eat My Lunch.

The Cookie Project


The Cookie Project is a social enterprise that provides paid work experience to people with disability to make tasty butter cookies.

According to Stats NZ, one in four Kiwis is disabled, and employment rate for the disabled people is only 22% compared to 70% for those who are non-disabled.

Their purpose is to provide "fair, meaningful and fun employment" to disabled youth and adults so that they feel accepted, included, and valued.

The Cookie Project currently have 17 people with disability working with them, and another 14 on their waiting list. The organisation has generated over 50 hours of paid work experience since opening their doors in mid-November.     

Christmas cookie gift packs are available to purchase by emailing orders no later than Monday 17 December. 

Newshub's definitive Christmas gift guide: Gifts that give back
Photo credit: Supplied / The Cookie Project.

FRANK Stationery 


Founders Jason and Jess launched FRANK is 2012 after watching a documentary on child poverty in New Zealand.

Following some further research, the pair discovered that many students are heading off to school without exercise books.

Pledging to make a difference, Jason and Jess united their skills and passions to bring to life FRANK.

To date they have given more than 45,000 exercise books to kids in need.

Jason told Newshub it was about creating a business that gives back and out of that him and Jess formulated the idea to do journals, diaries and notebooks.

He said it feels "amazing" to see it work off the back of a lot of hard work and challenges.

Through a partnership with School Kit, which is connected to primary schools all over the country, exercise books are allocated to kids most in need. 

The team is looking ahead to their next big give in 201, with approximately 25,000 books going out to school kids.

Newshub's definitive Christmas gift guide: Gifts that give back
Photo credit: Supplied / FRANK.