I was asked to guest edit for OhThePeopleYouMeet’s Annual Gifts That Give Back Holiday Guide and I am so stoked to finally share the article with everyone! You can see the original here.
Happy holidays, everyone! We’re back this year with OhThePeopleYouMeet’s Annual Gifts That Give Back Holiday Guide for the 2023 season. I’m Laura Grier and I’m the co-founder of Andeana Hats, my own sustainable hat company with artisans in Central + South America. In addition to hats, I’m a photographer who travels the globe (90 countries and counting) and I get to photograph some absolutely incredible places and people for a living. A huge thing for me while traveling is to find a way to give back to the areas that I’m in. Whether that is making sure that I bring extra shoes for people on my trips in Uganda or helping organizations fundraise and market themselves in Nepal, keeping up this cycle of gratitude and love is very important to me. With that, I’m super excited to share some companies that are very near and dear to my heart for all of your holiday shopping. Each of these brands have an incredibly positive impact on their communities or the Earth and I’m stoked to give them some shout outs.
@LauraGrierTravel (guest editor)
The OTPYM Traveling Team (our passionate + talented film crew) and I are excited to share the 12th edition of our Gifts That Give Back Guide! Laura, who I met while shark tagging with the University of Miami during Summit at Sea, has selected gifts inspired by travel and for your travels, and with such beautiful mission statements! Since inception, OTPYM has focused on PEOPLE, PLACES + PURPOSES and these gifts are spot on! Because sustainable travel + global human connection are our editorial DNA, we’ve included an “Experiences Not Stuff” section, inspired by our local hosts who we’ve filmed with all around the world.
Wishing you a happy + healthy holiday season,
@Michaela Guzy (OTPYM Founder) + the @OTPYM Traveling Team
Travel makes one of the best presents. Visit one of the rural Quechua villages in the high Andes mountains above Ollantaytambo and connect with artisan leaders there. The women will share their textile heritage – including spinning, dyeing, and weaving on a backstrap loom. Try your hand at spinning on a drop spindle and weave a bracelet with one of your artisan hosts. With the Rural Tourism Package, you can choose a typical lunch of soup and a main course in one of the artisan’s homes or opt for a traditional earth oven lunch. Take cooking or language classes and really give the gift of new experiences.
Skiers and boarders alike, know that the best time to rip and shred in South Lake Tahoe is typically late November – April. OTPYM Founder, Michaela Guzy hit the slopes with Olympic hopeful Kyle Smaine on his home mountain to perfect her ski skills. Sadly, Kyle died earlier this year in an avalanche in Japan. His wife, family and friends have started the The Smaine Fund to help aspiring athletes reach their goals. Take a lesson at Sierra-At-Tahoe, donate to The Smaine Fund + watch Kyle and other Olympic athletes interviews in our “OH THE PEOPLE YOU MEET with Michaela Guzy in Tahoe” episode now streaming on M/LUX (Roku, Vizio, Fire + Apple TV).
This journey begins just outside of the ancient hilltop fortress city of Motovun, in Istria, Croatia get your waistlines ready for the culinary journey of a lifetime…
Outside of the fortress walls, we took electric bikes down a winding dirt path that was formerly a railroad where the OTPYM crew found ourselves filming SLEEPING AROUND SAFELY at the new Roxanich Winery + Design Hotel. This biodynamic winery is family owned and run by four talented sisters. While filming our episode, we harvested grapes and learn from one sister, how Istra should be on every wine connoisseur’s bucket list. Don’t miss tasting their delicious + drinkable wine at their gorgeous hotel pool set above the vineyards.
The region of Istria, Croatia averages 10 tons of black + white truffles each year and is considered one the world’s largest collection of truffles! While filming our episode of SLEEPING AROUND SAFELY in Istria, the OTPYM crew went deep into the famous Motovun forest truffle hunting with Karlic Tartufi and our charismatic local host + sniffing puppies who found two white truffles! Ivana Karlic Ban then took us back to their restaurant to learn to make several dishes with fresh truffles. Too much of a good thing, does not apply when it comes to truffles! Watch the episode for more inspo: SLEEPING AROUND SAFELY in Istria, Croatia.
Buckle up, because our local hosts from The Capitol Kempinski, a GHA Discovery Hotel, took the OTPYM film crew on the ride of our lives across the smallest country (by surface area) in Southeast Asia in vintage upcycled Vespa sidecars by Singapore Sidecars – a world’s first! They proudly present exclusive UNESCO World Heritage content – during the full-on half day Tiong Bahru + Tanglin tour – in conjunction with an award winning Chinese Arts Institute committed to the preservation of rare traditional music forms.
For an authentic local immersion with one of our most colorful local hosts to date, pre-book a visit with Alvin Yapp who turned his home (Intan) into a museum to preserve the Peranakan culture (Singaporean culture) which was being lost to Modernization + Westernization. He will make you sing along as a part of your experience! Watch our video teaser from Singaporefeaturing these experiences.
The OTPYM film crew set out on an eco adventure with Travel Designer in the first electric cars by Drive Electric across the scenic Western Cape of South Africa along the coast to meet The Kelp Shack who takes travelers for to the beach and rock pools to learn about the Kelp forest and the nutritional value of this superfood source. After he’s sustainably harvested Kelp on his surfboard, he brings you back to the shack to teach you his gourmet recipes over a bottle of local South African wine. Floored by how delicious (and not salty) the food was + so good for you!
OTPYM’s founder, Michaela Guzy has been SLEEPING AROUND SAFELY at The Silo Hotel, by Royal Portfolio in Cape Town. The hotel’s interior design and breathtaking art collection are custom curated by the one and only Liz Biden. She is accompanied by the young talented Art Concierge, Michael Jacobs, who seeks out emerging local artists, including in underprivileged areas in surrounding townships and host art shows in the hotel with their art for sale. The Silo also choose a piece from one artist (per session) to keep as a part of the permanent collection of the hotel. We highly encourage heading out on the town with the Art Concierge to check out the Zeitz Museum Of Contemporary Art Africa just off the hotel lobby, the local galleries and even out for an immersive painting experience with a local artist.
The OTPYM film crew always hire a guide to show us where the locals go. In Sydney, we met with the Style Doctor for an insider’s look into Australian Fashion, its influences and even met some of the Aussie designers themselves, including pret-a-couture designer, Mariam Seddiq. She celebrates maximalist artistic pieces, all made right in her Sydney studio. Watch the “OH THE PEOPLE YOU MEET with Michaela Guzy in New South Wales, Australia” episode now streaming on M/LUX (Roku, Vizio, Fire + Apple TV).
With this Tinggly, you can gift someone an experience. It has everything—ziplining, spas, swimming with manatees, city walking tours, and more. It’s for a variety of places across the USA and they work toward a ton of climate initiatives so that your purchase also goes towards things like cleaning up plastic pollution or planting trees.
Can’t find the perfect gift? No problem. Gift a coupon that donates a portion of the sales to the American Cancer Society.
Of course, first up in our Travel Style section are Andeana Hats – we have alpaca wool hats and bands that are sustainably handmade by Quechua artisans in Peru and hand woven palm leaf hats made by K’iche artisans in Guatemala. Each hat comes with a woven band with an ancient intention in the Quechua language that you select. Everything we do goes back into supporting these female artisans’ communities to preserve their craft and help lift them out of poverty. Check out Adeana Hats and use the discount code: HOLIDAY15 for 15% off all hats!
You can’t go wrong with anything here at Awamaki. Baby goods, bags, and purses hand woven using ancient Incan weaving techniques and all natural dyes – everything they do supports Vanishing Crafts and female artisans.
The company is called Small Llamas and all of their beautiful products give back 100% to non-profits and causes. Their motto is “Small Llama, Big Impact.” In addition to bracelets, they also sell Llama Christmas tree ornaments for all the llama lovers in your life. It’s all handmade in hospitals by women who have terminally ill children while they take care of their little ones. This is a newer company and I’m so excited to see them flourish with all that they do to give back.
NOVICA is an incredible group that connects artisans to a global marketplace – they have so many unique gifts for purchase this holiday season and it all goes back into the communities where these beautiful crafts take place. With this, timeless craftsmanship meets sustainable style in a unique upcycled handbag collection – recycled pop tops, magazines, candy wrappers, rubber tires, fabrics, and plastics are all employed in these bold, contemporary, eco-friendly and handcrafted designs from global artisans.
Ripple Foundation is such a cool organization. They are super passionate about promoting literacy and creativity to children and youth. Their collection aims to inspire, motivate, and encourage people to embark upon their own writing journey. 100% of proceeds from the sale of Ripple Foundation’s official merch will support community programs and outreach efforts.
Gracemade is a new find for me – stunning and modest clothing that’s elevated and well-made in a world that is increasingly becoming all about fast fashion. Gracemade is a Black-owned fashion brand that uses deadstock fabrics and natural materials. They donate a portion of every sale to Life Impact International, a non-profit organization that rescues at-risk children.
I’m gonna be honest here, I get a LOT of my panties during the holiday season. Maybe that’s not all that crazy, but this is that gift that you can really get cozy in. Kent has comfortable and compostable underwear that you can plant – that’s right, PLANT – when its natural life has faded, thus making sure that plastic-based fibers, like polyester, don’t sit in landfills. I love that it’s plastic-free around exactly the areas where you don’t want plastic near. Kent puts sustainability at the heart of everything they do. They use natural, plant-based materials and create an ethical and transparent supply chain – perfect way to make conscious and practical gift giving.
For when you want to actually sleep comfortably during that time of the month! These shorts from Thinx are the future and are the perfect gift for those in your life with a uterus. They work toward providing period products to those in need through donations and activism, so you really can’t go wrong with this – plus their products help cut down on single use period products.
You gotta love a comfy fit for around the house or even on a plane. These ICONI (I Can Overcome, Nothing’s Impossible) Leggings are incredibly comfortable and 10% of profits go toward nonprofit organizations like the Minnesota Freedom Fund and Healing Wings Foundation. They have such a great message behind them, and I also love that extra support in the tummy.
The animal lover on your list will adore these vegan slippers and further appreciate that a donation from the purchase goes towards improving the lives of shelter cats and dogs. I’ve already added a pair of Bob’s Keepsakes to my cart…
Love Your Melon is a company that I have seen totally take off and soar. What makes them so special besides their high-quality pieces is that 50% of net profit from the sale of all of their products is given to support charities and nonprofit organizations through their “Love Your Melon Fund” Since 2012, they’ve given nearly $10 million and 235K+ beanies.
Sunflowers for Ukraine Earrings are Morgan Lane Tanner’s handmade earrings help support the Ukrainian communities that have been torn apart due to the ongoing war. Each purchase donates to Global Giving’s Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund, who are providing food, water, shelter, and more to those who are in desperate need of it.
This is such a fun use for tires that no longer have any use on the road. It’s got a great, durable, and rugged look to it, and it’s great for a passport or even for everyday use like a light wallet. This particular gift is from Global Goods Partners, and they help artisans with microloans, bridging gaps and opening doors for female artisans so that they can create a sustainable business for themselves in international marketplaces.
Honestly, as I’ve gotten older, I appreciate a good pair of socks more and more. But what’s better than socks that have a purpose? Each pair of Conscious Step Socks purchased, contributes to either planting trees, saving the oceans, or saving the rainforest – and you can choose which purpose you want to donate to, because they’ve expanded to so many more organizations. You can also get gift boxes or even a subscription of socks to keep the gifts coming.
The holiday season is also an amazing time to jump into getting that new luggage you or your loved one has been eyeing. These pieces are super durable, crafted from 100% recycled materials, hand-finished in the USA, with a lifetime guarantee and 100-day trial and fully customizable. Afterall, it’s about the journey, not the destination…
Visit: www.roamluggage.com/OTPYM and use the code: OTPYM for $50 USD off your order over a $125 USD + free shipping!
You can always use a cute new tote…why not get one that also gives back? Each bag bought from The Tote Project fights human trafficking and supports survivors.
A travel iron and steamer in one. No boards needed. OTPYM founder, Michaela Guzy always has one packed in her gypsy caravan. Weighs less than 1.5 lbs, so perfect for travel. Use discount code: OTPYM10 for 10% off. Wrinkles be gone: nori.co
Perfect for seasonal decorating without all that plastic that inevitably ends up in a landfill. This is a sustainable gift idea from Global Goods Partners who are committed to providing sustainable jobs for female artisans, which is a topic that is dear to my own heart and aligns with my own activism. Supporting women in these communities is widely proven to be the key to community development and family wellbeing.
The mission behind Serry is to put an end to global poverty through fair and ethical trade. Purchases help artisans in Moradabad, India “graduate” and create independent businesses, breaking the cycle of poverty and preserving Indian culture and livelihood. These candles in particular are designed with copper to reflect branches of a forest of river Birch trees. Also, Birch, in some cultures, means Love and Protection. A gift with extra special meaning for all those on your list this holiday season!
At OTPYM we are all about lighting up the holiday season, how about handcrafted Kaind candles by Venezuelan-born and American immigrant Manuel Borrero. These unique candles embody a blend of artistry and technology—a reflection of their creator’s journey—and serve to uplift moods and enhance experiences. The stylish design, elegant scents, and innovative tech feature, which links each candle to handpicked Spotify playlists when you tap your phone to the jar, make them a gift that will delight even your most discerning loved ones. Made of non-toxic coconut wax and available in three different fragrances, Kaind candles are more than just décor items; they are conduits of cherished moments and memories. This holiday season, give your dear ones the gift of soothing aromas, ambient music, and a token of love with Kaind candles.” Use code: HOLIDAY for 15% off + free shipping now-12/31/2023 at 11:59 PST onwww.kaind.co or @kaindco on Instagram.
Art Enables is an organization that has art made by and thereby supporting special-needs artists. They are an art gallery and vocational arts program dedicated to creating opportunities for artists with different abilities to make, market, and earn income from their original and compelling artwork. There are hundreds of pieces of artwork to select from so many different artists – 70% of your artwork purchase price goes directly to the artists, and the remaining 30% goes toward studio supplies, framing costs, and other needed art materials!
I always think it’s cool when companies really go above and beyond – they start by doing one thing and as they grow, they create amazing ways of giving back. Suay Sew Shop is a queer-owned business and they are no stranger to championing garment worker rights and policy reform for fair wages. In 2020, Suay organized weekly food distribution drives for garment workers and launched their nationwide textile donation recycling program, Suay SOS. How cool is that? Let’s get colorful this holiday season!
Williams Sonoma in partnership with No Kid Hungry have created silicone spatulas with the goal of ending childhood hunger with each purchase. Each Tools for Change spatula is designed by a chef or a celebrity and is such a fun gift with an amazing cause to back it up.
I’m such a fan of these – stained glass succulents. Perfect for those of you, like me, that travel so much you can’t even keep a succulent alive. They’re handmade in Poland and since they’re made by hand, each item is truly unique. The story behind a product really matters to Uncommon Goods. They want to know how it’s made, who’s making it, and the process that leads to the finished design. From potters to painters to jewelry artists to craftspeople of all kinds, they’ve worked with hundreds of makers over the years and are proud to offer independent designers a place to showcase their work.
Pokoloko curates unique, high-quality artisanal goods from around the world, for the home and life of thoughtful consumers who like to collect and give beautiful and meaningful items. Unlike big box supply chains, POKO products are ethically traded through personal travel adventures — each item has a story that enriches all by connecting maker, collector, and earth and it makes for a great gift for any traveler in your life. It is also perfect for home, when you want to bring a little bit more of the world into your space.
Uncommon Goods has so many gifts that are fun and quirky and won’t break your budget. Check out their site here where you can find so many unique finds. I love this one in particular because I can chow down and have a book open and a cozy drink going any ‘ole time. This would also make a great piece for any tablets or phones when you want to video call loved ones, too
Mindful Gift Company offers carefully crafted goods that nourish the mind + body. We can always use a little more self-care and these boxes are just the solution. Their mission is to bring you products from socially conscious and eco-friendly companies and all in the name of indulging on yourself for a moment in a proactive and positive way.
Hinoki Body Wash is a soft exfoliating scrub – great for that gentle cleanse after long days of travel and holiday shopping. Plus it gives you that spa feeling from the comfort of home + has essential oils that we LOVE.
Before all NYC based events, TV appearances or OTPYM film shoots, our founder, Michaela Guzy checks in with Skin Therapy by Susan for a customized facial + always leaves with the “Susan approved” skincare products for her trips. Susan is a licensed aesthetician, a certified aromatherapist and certified in clinical aesthetics plus she has over 25 years of experience in this field. Because no two faces are the same, Susan customizes each treatment. She is current on all emerging methodologies and embraces tried and true techniques. To learn more about the services offered, book an appointment or order products, check out: https://skintherapybysusan.com/ just put discount code: OTPYM20 for 20% off in the notes section when booking your appointment for a customized facial with Susan.
ImuRegen+ is formulated to nourish the body and enhance overall well-being. This powerful supplement combines a synergistic blend of nucleotides and amino acids to provide a wide range of benefits, supporting multiple aspects of health. It’s complex, like our DNA, so read up beforehand on how ImuRegen harnesses the power of nucleotides and amino acids to provide you with the ultimate supplement to take your health and wellbeing to the next level – read up to see if ImuRegen is right for you. Visit: https://imuregen.co/ + use the discount code: MG10 for 10% off your order.
Thank you for supporting small businesses and the entrepreneurs behind them, local communities + for giving yourself some extra special self care this holiday season!