Gifts for the Activists in Your Life

Need gift ideas for the activist in your life? We’ve got you. Find ideas for donations you can make, experience gifts and “stuff” gifts that your activist friends will truly appreciate.

Shopping for someone who is politically active can feel a little bit tricky, can’t it? You don’t want to give your friend who runs an animal sanctuary a pair of leather gloves, for example. And your buddy that raises money for social justice causes probably doesn’t want a scarf that was made under sweatshop conditions.

But the activists in your life appreciate a thoughtful gift as much as anyone else. I asked my friends who are active in the worlds of politics and animal rights about what holiday gifts they’d like. Here’s what they said.

Donations in Their Names

This was by far the most asked-for holiday gift (after impeachment). If your friend volunteers for a specific organization, throw some cash its way. If you need ideas for worthy groups that could use your money this year, here are some that my friends suggested:

Consumer Reports has some really great tips on choosing a worthy organization (and an even more robust list of charities!). They caution against “sound-alikes”. These are organizations with names close to legit charities, but aren’t. They also suggest double-checking an organization’s tax-exempt status and donating directly, rather than through a fundraiser which may garnish some of the cash to cover the cost of the event.

Experience Gifts for Activists

Experience Gifts

Whether they’re marching in protests, caring for animals or doing the mundane office work that supports charitable organizations, chances are what your activist friends are not doing is taking great care of themselves. Experience gifts can be the little push they need to engage in some vital self-care.

Many people won’t ask for this, but a massage or spa gift certificate is a great gift idea for your activist friends. When you’re spending your spare time caring for others, it’s hard to carve out time for you. But a massage gift certificate burning a hole in your pocket can be just the nudge you need to indulge in some you time.

You can also gift them with other little ways to treat themselves, like movie tickets or a gift card to their favorite local restaurant. Keren Landman, a physician and writer, suggested, “Memberships to new or small museums (or really, any museum), state or national park passes, tix to minority-run/progressive independent theater productions—because you’re supporting underfunded arts/culture/nature while also giving someone else the gift of access and a prompt to do something fun.”

We could all use a prompt to do something fun after this year, don’t you think?

"Stuff" Gifts for Activists

“Stuff” Gifts for Activists

If you do want something that can be unwrapped, don’t worry! The list below has some of the “stuff” gifts that the activists in my life mentioned, when I asked them about holiday ideas:

  • a shirt from Rabble and Rouse
  • merch from Crooked Media
  • a good pair of boots – Try MooShoes or avesu for some great ethical, vegan options.
  • a stainless steel water bottle with a lid that seals closed, like S’well bottles
  • a misting fan for summer marches and rallies
  • gifts that give back, like housewares or accessories from Ten Thousand Villages
  • handmade gifts that you make or that you purchase from a local artist

When shopping for “stuff” gifts for the activist in your life, just make sure you’re keeping your giftee’s ethics in mind. That means no fur, leather, feathers or silk for your vegan activist friends and looking for brands that use fair labor practices. That extra effort won’t go unnoticed.


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