1. The zero-waste newbie
That friend who got very upset about the components of the stomach of that whale that washed ashore. They didn't know the situation was this bad! They want to start living more consciously and lessen their impact on the environment but don't know where to start. Give them a hand by gifting them their first reusable bottle. We love our fellow Dutch company Dopper's bottles.
Me, and you, and your friend, we all have access to running, safe water. We don't think of this as a privilege, but it is. One in ten people around the world doesn't have access to clean drinking water. So as you're giving your friend the gift of a clean conscience make the gift even more meaningful by supporting it with the gift of clean water to people who don't have it.
Simavi is a non-profit organisation tackling water, sanitation and health challenges to stop preventable diseases, reduce mortality rates and boost social and economic development. Donate to them below and enhance the power of your gift.
2. The workaholic
The friend who has a nine to seven job and a million side hustles. You're not even sure if you'll see them in the next four years because they'll probably be busy giving a TED talk or being the first civilian in the Mars mission. Regardless, you still want to give them a gift in case they become the ruler of the universe.
To this friend, you need to give something they will never give to themselves: the gift of a break. Some time to take care of their mental health. Since you never know where they are in the world, gift them a portable self-spa set. Buy an already curated one or make one yourself.
While some things can be soothed with a bath, depression is a serious health problem that needs professional attention. Depression is often overlooked as a problem in the Global South but it affects people's lives gravely. Add a donation to a mental-health non-profit to your friend's self-care package and help people who don't have access to mental health services.
Strongminds is a non-profit that works with women with depression in Africa. They have a special community-based model that leads to women helping themselves and helping others. Donate below and give women the opportunity to take care of their minds.
3. The crafty one
The friend that will give you a homemade gift. They've probably invited you to a theme party that required a very specific costume at some point. They bring homemade kimchi and origami greeting cards to every dinner party. They make their own clothes and you can tell.
Any type of DIY set or 'how to' book would make this friend very happy. The more obscure the hobby the better. A personal favourite is this book on spoon carving.
United Painting is a non-profit, using art as a tool to unite and empower communities. Just like the crafty friend, United Painting wants to bring some whimsy and colour to people's lives and create lasting change. A donation to Favela Painting below would be a great complement to the gift.
4. The one who just had a baby
This friend welcomed a new member to the family just in time for the New Year. They're probably high on bliss but also on sleep deprivation. I've heard from reputable resources that the best gift for a friend with a newborn is food. Get on your most trusted food delivery app and order a meal or two to their house. This way, they won't have to worry about feeding the rest of the family on top of all the new baby hassle.
With food, you're relieving your friend from thinking about one aspect of life with a newborn but new parents have many other things they have to think about.
Stichting Steun Emma Kinderziekenhuis is a children's hospital in Amsterdam trying to provide parents and children with the best healthcare. Donate to them below and relieve more parents and their babies.
5. The Treehugger
The friend that loves the great outdoors. They're always on a hike, going on a hike or talking about a hike that they've just been to. They wear hiking boots on every occasion because "it's just really practical".
The best gift for this friend is a new hobby that they can do outdoors, so why not give them an introductory course for an adventure sport. My personal favourite is bouldering which can also be done indoors. Bonus points: the friend will shut up about not being able to go hiking in the winter months.
This friend loves trees as much as they love ugly footwear but if we keep going at this rate of deforestation there will be no trees left to love. Cool Earth is an organisation that works with local communities to protect rainforests in the Amazon. Donate to them below to make sure there are trees left to hug on your friend's many hikes.