Giving gifts that give back

In the first installment of's Holiday Wish List series, Lauren Bush Lauren offers her top gift picks for her inner circle.

The holidays have always been my favorite time of year, for all the obvious reasons (time with loved ones, food that makes me feel nostalgic for my childhood, fresh snow). This year in particular, I am especially concerned with giving gifts that make the world a better place.

Lauren Bush Lauren
Source: Roger Moenks
Lauren Bush Lauren

While I've spent most holidays traveling for family gatherings and little getaways, I am anticipating a holiday season of staying put to care for my new little one and letting the reality of what is really important in life sink in in a new way.

With that in mind, here are my picks for small gifts that make a big difference:

For the dog in my life: BlackOmbre Leash

Source: Found my Anima

Via Found my Animal, $62

My mom's new puppy, Scout, stole my heart the first time we met. She is the sweetest (and fluffiest) ball of energy, and offers her kisses indiscriminately. I often volunteer to hang with Scout when my mom goes out of town, and we love going on long walks together. This beautiful handmade-rope leash from Found my Animal promotes pet adoption, something both Scout and I can get behind.

For the love of my life: Cedarwood and Vanilla Candle

Source: Syndey Hale Co

Via Syndey Hale Co., $30

This holiday, my husband, David, and I will be getting the best gift we've ever received: our first baby. Words cannot describe our excitement, though we also know that once he or she comes (it's a surprise!), we'll be saying goodbye to life with just the two of us. This candle reminds me of one of our most special adventures down the coast of Big Sur. Suffice it to say, I think it might be burning through many a sleepless night ahead.

For my little (big) brother: Leather Notebook Cover

Source: Shinola

Via Shinola, $150

My little brother, Pierce, had a really big year with his recent promotion to CEO of the Texas chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters. I think this handmade-notebook cover will help him stay organized in style, whether his day is full of meetings or hanging with his favorite kiddos. I want this gift to say how proud I am of him for using his talents to help others.

For my little sister Ashley: Monogrammed Shopper Tote

Source: FEED Projects

Via FEED, $35

There is nothing I love giving my favorite people more than gifts that keep giving. It is during the holiday season that FEED gives back the most as a brand. Since every product we sell gives meals to families in need, we can really move the needle on hunger. This monogrammed Shopper Tote provides 15 school meals to children in need around the world when purchased. I see Ash toting her personalized shopper around sunny L.A. farmers markets,filling it with fresh veggies, apples and a crusty baguette.

For my new niece and nephew: Portable Magnetic Blocks

Source: Tegu

Via Tegu, $25

These cuties are constantly in tow with their on-the-go parents, so I thought a small pocket-sized block set was perfect for them. These blocks are particularly special because they are made in Honduras with eco-friendly materials. It’s so cool to think that something as simple as a toy can provide jobs, help the environment and, ultimately, make a big difference. I want little Kingsley and Cooper to understand that they can help people at a very young age.

For my Team FEED Secret Santa: Artisan Made Necklace

A Peace Treaty

Via A Peace Treaty, $220

This is a bit of a splurge for a Secret Santa, but I when I found this necklace, I envisioned it on each of the socially conscious and fashion forward ladies on Team FEED.This one-of-a-kind piece is handmade by an artisan in India, and would look lovely with a little black dress for a cocktail party, or jeans and a tee for the office.

Commentary by Lauren Bush Lauren, the founder and CEO of FEED, a social business that uses a portion of its proceeds to provide meals for needy children and families around the globe. Follow her on Twitter @laurenblauren.