7 Unconventional Gifts for the Activist in Your Life

Activists can be a difficult bunch to find presents for. Here are a few out-of-the-box holiday gift ideas for the inspiring advocates in your life, whether they fight for animal welfare, protect the environment or defend human rights.

1. Funds to Sponsor a Shelter Animal

Give an animal lover the warm fuzzies by sponsoring a homeless pet in their name. By spending as little as $20, you can ensure that dogs and cats get the care they need as they wait to get adopted. The funds will help cover everything from veterinary expenses to food. Check with your local animal shelter to find out more about programs in your area.

2. Anti-Surveillance Pack

Privacy is sacred for activists, especially those doing high-stakes work. But protest attendees frequently face surveillance from a wide array of people, including police officers and critics of their message. Help keep a loved one’s information secure with an anti-surveillance kit. A baseball cap or bandana can help conceal someone’s identity in photos and on security cameras. A cheap, prepaid phone can help someone stay in touch with fellow activists — without getting their everyday phone confiscated or mined for information.

3. Your Time

Lasting change is hard to effect. Activists can get overwhelmed with how much they need to do. And even in large organizations that seem to have high membership numbers, often a very small group does everything. Offer to lend a hand in menial tasks, like writing letters to legislators or cleaning up after an event. Don’t forget unconventional favors like volunteering to check someone’s else social media account to delete comments from online trolls.

4. Self-Care Kit

Folks who take care of themselves are better at taking care of the world. Give someone a self-care package full of items that help them recharge. For a bigger impact, personalize the kit. Reading enthusiasts can get a light-hearted book that’s about something unrelated to their activism, for instance. A frequent traveler may appreciate an eye mask and ear plugs for naps. Parents can purchase a gift card to cover child care costs for a needed day off.

5. Reminders of Their Impact

Sometimes activism can leave people feel like they’re spinning wheels. The good they’re doing can be hard to see. Something like a card that reminds them of their progress can mean the world. If possible, reach out to a few people who benefit from the work your loved ones do. Ask them a little about how their lives have changed with help from the organization or individual. You can also talk with fellow activists who work with them, and ask them about their teammate’s strengths. You can even write a personal thank-you letter yourself.

6. Tickets to an Event in Their Field

Conferences, classes and fundraising events can quickly add up in cost, but these activities can be a valuable way for activists to network and learn. Consider the generous gift of paying admission to an event related to someone’s passion. You may want to check in with the receiver of your gift to make sure they clear their schedule for the day or even approve the event before you buy.

7. Thoughtful Trinkets

Presents don’t have to be expensive to have a big impact. Pass on a small item that represents someone’s reason for taking action. Combine a person’s hobbies with their cause for an added touch. For instance, present an LGBTQ advocate with a love for sports with something like Pride Tape, rainbow hockey tape. And an environmentalist with a passion for gardening would love to receive heirloom seeds.

Let these ideas inspire your own holiday gift list for the incredible people in your life.

Photo Credit: Getty Images


Rita Delfing
Rita Delfing5 months ago

For my 50th my sister donated a nice sum of money to a TNR cat rescue I thought it was a great idea.

Clare O
Clare O5 months ago

tickets to an event is great but make sure they have the time to go

Clare O
Clare O5 months ago

good ideas

Paula A
Past Member 5 months ago


Lisa M
Lisa M5 months ago

Thanks for sharing!

Lisa M
Lisa M5 months ago

No on the trinkets (except the seeds!) but everything else is great!

hELEN h5 months ago


Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 months ago

Thank you for posting.

Debbi W
Debbi W5 months ago

If you are close to an activist I'm sure you know or have a good idea what they might need or want.

Spam flagged.

Alea C
Alea C5 months ago

I own a cat shelter so I'm doing all I can, just like all my activist friends who are also rescuers. We're barely hanging on as it is, so giving gifts isn't something we do.