Christmas Gift Guide: Support Great Causes With Presents That Give Back

Walk the talk when it comes to community and give a gift that offers a glimmer of hope for the future

Support Trees That Count this Christmas. Photo / Babiche Martens

Trees That Count
Trees That Count is a conservation charity that has been championing native tree planting since 1990 with the aim of planting millions more native trees across Aotearoa. Sixty thousand native trees were planted in December 2020. For as little as $10, a gift certificate with a personalised message will be emailed to the recipient’s email inbox, and Trees That Count will do the mahi to get the tree planted and cared for by a community group in your region of choice.

The Fred Hollows Foundation
The Fred Hollows Foundation continues to run its regional eye training and treatment centre in Suva, Fiji, working remotely despite the challenging circumstances of Covid and subsequently dealing with a backlog of patients. For this year’s annual Gift of Sight campaign, in collaboration with Specsavers and Rise Beyond the Reef, it aims to support the team in Fiji by giving local craftswomen much-needed support. By donating to The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, you’ll receive its popular annual tote bag ($40 minimum donation), a card ($25 minimum donation), a turtle toy ($30 minimum donation), a sunglasses case ($50 minimum donation) and a pair of YAWA masi earrings ($75 minimum donation), all handcrafted by Fijian artisans. Donations will be generously matched by Specsavers.

Safe Night
An ongoing campaign from Women’s Refuge, and one that’s particularly timely at Christmas, the organisation’s “Gift a Safe Night” initiative helps victims of family violence, an issue that can be exacerbated by the stress of the holiday period. A $20 donation pays for a room for the night, helping to support others in our community.

World Vision x Karen Walker
Give the gift of basic needs with a World Vision New Zealand x Karen Walker limited-edition Christmas card. For as little as $10, you can buy the card and choose a World Vision Smiles gift to go inside it, making a life-changing donation on behalf of the card recipient. Smiles gifts range from fast-growing seeds to clean water, and are a way for us to extend the Christmas spirit to those in need by supporting some of the most vulnerable children in the world. For a full list of Smiles gifts visit

Downlights NZ
Downlights NZ is a New Zealand-owned and operated candle company and social enterprise that manufactures luxury candles using artisanal techniques. The manufacturing process supports the development of a variety of workplace skills for people with Down syndrome and intellectual or learning disabilities. Every candle sold helps provide long-term employment opportunities to the Downlights team. The luxe White Tea & Ginger soy candle is the perfect gift for someone special. The GMO-free, lead-free, zinc-free soy candle comes with a reusable candle container that can be repurposed or refilled via the Downlights candle refill service. $59.

Everybody Eats
Community-focused initiative Everybody Eats has been doing great work the past couple of years. Operating a pay-as-you-can model in Auckland, Wellington and Papamoa, it works with leading restaurants like Gemmayze Street, Tommy Millions and Mr Morris to feed people in need, with clientele enjoying chef-prepared meals with dignity. A present that pays it forward, you can gift a meal on someone’s behalf; donate to Everybody Eats and your recipient will receive a personalised gift card, and for every $10 donated, the charity will feed two New Zealanders in need.

Frank Body Rose Gold Shimmer Scrub, $10
As part of this year’s Project Santastic campaign, Frank Body and six other Australian brands have teamed up to donate a Christmas gift to a child in need. The full value of all six gifts — which range from clothing and cookies to body scrubs and bath sponges — will be gifted to charity partners RAS Toy Drive and Magic Moments to ensure children in need receive a little joy this year. At the end of the gifting drive, you’ll receive an email outlining the total amount raised and how many gifts were given.

Coffee Pen
Popular coffee shop Coffee Pen has a range of products including original bags and apron designs in collaboration with Tuhirangi Blair of upcycled shirt brand Lucky Dip and rising designer Taylor Groves, with both items made using specially sourced Kaihara denim. Each item is made as part of a limited-edition run. Pre-ordered products will be ready mid-December and a percentage of proceeds from sales will go towards the Auckland City Mission, Trees That Count, Unicef and the Afghanistan crisis. Coffee Pen original Kaihara denim tote bag $95.

Lothantique Argan Oil Pump Soap 500ml, $35
Every year, Tessuti selects one item from which to donate 100 per cent of its sales to the Auckland City Mission. This year, it’s the Lothantique Argan Oil Pump Soap, an oil-enriched hand soap that boasts moisturising and hydrating properties. Available while stocks last from Tessuti, 224 Jervois Rd, Ponsonby, Auckland, or online at

Our local charity shops are a brilliant source for gifting ideas — here are two with a few stylish choices.

Shop Dove Hospice from anywhere in Aotearoa, and support its efforts in providing holistic care from the time of diagnosis of a life-threatening illness. Shop online from its carefully curated selection of high-quality secondhand goods, fashion, homewares and more.

Mercy Hospice has also recently launched its helpful online store. Specialising in care that enhances holistic wellbeing after diagnosis of life-threatening illness, the hospice also provides a range of specialist community palliative care and hospice services for people facing life-limiting illnesses. Shop its edit of unique fashion finds and accessories at

Aesop The Mentor Gift Kit, $260
Upping the feel-good factor in 2021 is Aesop’s curated edit of five seasonal gift kits which comprise the brand’s Anatomy of Generosity campaign — each of which are paired with organisations and charities to foster acts of kindness throughout the season. Viva loves The Mentor Gift Kit, which houses three of the brand’s Parsley Seed-infused best-sellers in a case crafted from 100 per cent recycled paper pulp. The Mentor Kit partners with Create UK, which seeks to educate children in the UK with special needs and disabilities. Available from Aesop signature stores, selected department stores or online at

Moana Fresh
A community-driven store that supports Pasifika artists in Aotearoa, Moana Fresh is a great place for gifting. We love their 2022 calendar, which features work from Louisa Afoa, Huriana Kopeke-Te Aho, Claudia Jowitt, Jessica Thompson Carr aka Māori Mermaid (pictured), Natasha Matila-Smith and more. Moana Fresh also stocks a range of charity-focused goods, including T-shirts from organisations such as Auckland Action Against Poverty.

Sunday Blessings
Give the gift of food with Sunday Blessings. A donation on behalf of this Auckland-based charity offers someone the chance to have a decent meal this Christmas. Sunday Blessings believes that no one surviving without shelter should be forced to search through rubbish bins for food, and since its formation in 2018, the organisation has co-ordinated more than 40,000 meals predominantly from food waste for the unhoused community of Auckland central, every Sunday at the Ellen Melville Centre. When donating, 100 per cent of the funds raised go to the people who need it. A Give a Little page has been set up.

The Aunties
An excellent grassroots initiative led by Jackie Clark that advocates for and supports women healing from violent situations, The Aunties Shop website has a “wants and needs list” tailored to the whānau it’s currently helping ( which outlines things you can provide. The Aunties also accepts clothing donations (high-quality and clean) and you can message them to find out what they need. Or pick up a Kai Tautoko T-Shirt, $45, to rep your support and donate to the organisation. Cash donations are welcome too.

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