Undivided's Holiday Gift Guide 2021
It’s the most wonderful time of the year: gift-giving season! We’ve curated a selection of gifts from all over the country that are either created by makers with disabilities or benefit organizations that support people with disabilities. Skip the big-box stores and buy from these creators who give back to and lift up their communities. From delicious treats to rad T-shirts to fine art (and don’t forget the moose stuffy!), something here is bound to make even your choosiest loved one happy!
Housewares and Food
Amy and Ben Wright have four children. Their daughter Lillie has autism spectrum disorder, and Bitty and Beau both have Down syndrome. The Wrights believe that Bitty & Beau’s Coffee creates a place for people with disabilities to be accepted as part of the community. Their original coffee company was founded in January 2016 and employed 19 people with disabilities. Now, the franchise is located in 12 states with 23 locations and 200 employees. Coffee-related goodies, a Coffee Club subscription, and “radically inclusive” clothing are available for online purchasing.
Brandt’s Wicked Pissah Hot Sauce is a collaboration between Chef Sean Huguenin and Brandt Wellwood, a hot sauce lover who has Williams syndrome. The team has developed a line of sauces with varying heat levels that maximize flavor profiles in food. Anyone who loves heat is going to go wild for their variety of spicy sauces, which include Bourbon Barrel Aged Grill Masters Special, Asian Flare, and Hawaiian Paradise.
Collettey’s Cookies is the brainchild of Collette Divitto, an entrepreneur and baker with Down syndrome. The company employs people with disabilities, and Colette was recently featured for her work on the docuseries Born for Business on Peacock. Her online shop offers cookies for humans (and dogs!) as well as other merchandise like books and apparel.
Gabi is an entrepreneur with Down syndrome based in Raleigh, NC. Her store, Gabi's Grounds, sells bags and K-cups of dark or medium roast coffees, teas, heart-shaped tea strainers, mugs, and much more. Gabi's Grounds “promotes equal access to people with disabilities in their workplace.” She has created her own special blend of organic Guatemalan and Sumatran coffee, and your order will include a handwritten thank you note from Gabi!
Little Lobbyists seeks to “protect and expand the rights of children who have complex medical needs and disabilities through advocacy, education, and outreach.” Their online store has a fun collection of hats, bags, and phone cases that promote awareness and advocacy while helping fund important legislative health care and infrastructure initiatives for people with disabilities.
Poppin Joe's Gourmet Kettle Korn is the enterprise of Joe Steffy, a young adult with DS-ASD, who operates and manages his own business. His popcorn has been found in many stores including Walmart, fairs, craft shows, car shows, and other events. The company also raises funds for charitable organizations and ships bags overseas to American troops. You can buy his popcorn directly from his Etsy page in flavors like Kettle Corn, Sweet & Cheesy, and Cheddar.
Seeds for Autism is a program in Phoenix, Arizona, helping young adults with autism create a path from “learning to earning” via education, vocational training, and social development. Their online store includes items handcrafted by students in their workshop who are learning artisanal skills. Their work also includes items like metal-crafted jewelry, wooden cutting boards, and wine bottle stoppers.
Sweet Heat Jam Company, based out of Texas, supports adults with intellectual disabilities. The owner, Nolan, is a culinary artist with Down syndrome who is living his dream of owning a business. The jams consist of fresh chili peppers and fruits, crafted with artisan expertise. Jams are gluten and fat free. Choose from thirteen flavors here.
Coletta Collections is run by St. Coletta of Greater Washington, a nonprofit in Washington, DC, that provides work opportunities for artisans with disabilities like those featured here. The artisans are involved in designing, manufacturing, packing, and shipping their products. Along with housewares, their online store hosts a stunning collection of jewelry, bags, scarves, tableware, and garden accessories. Rebecca Hill, Chief Development Officer at St. Coletta, told us, “When you purchase a holiday gift from Coletta Collections, you are giving twice – once to the gift recipient and once to the artisan by supporting their work.”
Check out this short video, where an artist named Zach talks about working in the Coletta studio!
Momentum Creative “supports a vigorous community of working artists with a variety of developmental challenges such as autism, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome, whose perspective is vital within the contemporary art world.” Their online gallery showcases the work of a vibrant group of artists in varying formats, from marker on paper to digital media to acrylic on canvas. Buying from their collection helps fund their ongoing work. Fun fact: The Undivided offices proudly host a collection of work by these skilled artists.
Founded in 1961, the MFPA (Mouth and Foot Painting Artists) has been publishing original artworks by creators with disabilities from all over the world. Currently in the United States, there are 54 artists contributing to the collection, all of whom have received international recognition through artwork produced through the use of brushes held between teeth or toes. If you are in need of greeting cards for the season, their online store is offering a holiday greeting card package with assorted graphics.
We Are Lions provides opportunities for people with disabilities through art and entrepreneurship. The artists are given 50% of the profits from their sales, and their art is featured on such products as shirts, leggings, and tote bags. Their shop features a stunning array of artwork in varying styles.
Gracie’s Doggie Delights is run by a woman with Down syndrome. The business was inspired by her love of dogs, and giving them treats is one of her favorite things to do. Doggie Delights are only made with freeze-dried, USDA-inspected meat. Freeze-dried meat maintains flavor and nutrition. The treats have a shelf life of six to eight months. Choose from varieties like Beef Liver, Chicken Breast, and Flavor Booster Pet Food Toppers.
ECHO Barkery’s dog treats are handmade by people with disabilities. The ingredients are all natural, and everything from mixing the ingredients to rolling the dough, cutting it into shapes, and packaging the treats is done with care. The biscuits come in different flavors: bacon, chicken, and peanut butter, or you can buy all three in a variety pack. Get free shipping on orders over $25. ECHO Barkery empowers people with disabilities through meaningful employment. Employees have the opportunity to develop skill sets and be part of a community. The bakery functions through ECHO, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting adults with disabilities throughout their life.
Clothing and Jewelry
Grace has Down syndrome but refers to it as “Up syndrome.” She and her mother Carrie co-founded Candidly Kind. All the designs are created by Grace. Writing, drawing, and painting are ways she expresses herself. The company strives to promote kindness. A percentage of sales goes to various charities including Best Buddies International, Rudy’s Rainbow, and the Special Olympics. Clothing comes in sizes ranging from toddler to adult. Happy shopping!
John Lee Cronin, who has Down syndrome, is the inspiration half of the father-son duo who founded John’s Crazy Socks. “I wore crazy socks my entire life,” John says. “They’re fun, colorful, and creative. They let me be me.” John’s Crazy Socks sells a huge variety of funky men’s, women’s, and children’s socks—including, of course, crazy holiday socks. Each order is sent with candy and a handwritten thank-you note from John. Spreading happiness and demonstrating what is possible is the Cronins’ mission. The staff of John’s Crazy Socks is made up of 35 people, 15 of whom have disabilities. Socks supporting awareness for Down syndrome and autism are offered as well as socks to benefit front-line health care workers and animal rescue. The company donates 10% of all awareness socks to various applicable charities, and 5% of the proceeds are donated to the Special Olympics.
Watch this short video of John talking about the company and showing off some of their designs!
Keisha Greaves, founder of Girls Chronically Rock, was diagnosed with limb-girdle muscular dystrophy at age 24. She has a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising and a master’s degree in Business. She started her apparel line after she received her diagnosis because she wanted to create motivational clothing for herself and others living with chronic illnesses. Her products include adaptive swimsuits with clasps at the top for ease in changing, t-shirts, hats, and much more.
As Los Angeles locals, we can’t help but be huge fans of The Last Bookstore in Downtown LA. Its labyrinth of books and art make it a cultural landmark. (Plus, it’s disability-owned.) If you’re looking to support an online independent bookstore, this is the place to shop. You can order any new book in their online shop or visit in-person to browse their massive collection of used books. If you’re seeking other disabled-owned bookstores, check out this list from Libro.
Sean McElwee had a particular way of speaking when he was growing up that his family dubbed “Seanese,” and now he’s taking his unique catchphrases to his own clothing collection. Sean has Down syndrome and loves sharing his particular viewpoint through his creativity. His business provides free and low-cost baby onesies to Down syndrome organizations for their new parent baskets. One dollar from every item ordered goes toward his new Welcome Baby onesie mission, and he donates 10% of his profits to varying nonprofit organizations. Many more designs are available in his online store.
Special Sparkle was founded by mother-daughter team Karen and Kelly. Kelly has Down syndrome and loves fashion and jewelry. Karen recognized the challenges that Kelly would face trying to find a job, so she decided to think outside of the box. Jewelry-making is an activity that Kelly is able to do independently and is passionate about. This is one of the ways she supports herself financially. Check out her full line of accessories. There’s a men’s wear line in addition to holiday specials.
Check out this short video of Kelly talking about her business and her passion for fashion!
Apraxia Kids is a nonprofit organization that works to strengthen the support systems in the lives of children with apraxia of speech through advocacy and research. The online store features an array of apparel and accessories for families of kids with apraxia, including some cool Touch Screen Gloves that can help AAC users communicate through their device in cold weather.
Board & Measure is a Deaf and CODA-owned shop based in Michigan featuring handmade wooden products with ASL themes, including the wonderful “Welcome Sign” in varying colors and “ASL Hands” in the letters of your choice to adorn your child’s wall. See the rest of their store here, which includes ornaments, keychains, stocking tags, and much more.
Siri Chettipally is an autistic artisan who has designed a vast collection of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and wine bottle rings in her signature beaded styles. Check out her online store for glass beaded earrings and adorable handmade eyeglass lanyards with seashells from Hawaii.
L.A. Goal is a non-profit organization based in Los Angeles that works for opportunity and equity for adults with developmental disabilities. Inside Out Productions is their social enterprise and professional art studio that employs their members as artists to develop and sell their artwork. Inside Out Productions sponsors art exhibitions through their Etsy store, which includes original works of art, greeting cards, apparel, and this Disabled Fables storybook with retellings of Aesop’s Fables. Coming December 4th and 5th in Culver City, CA: an in-person Holiday Boutique where you can purchase original artwork, apparel, home goods, gift items, and more.
Little For Now is an online retailer that donates yearly to Down syndrome or autism charities, and the owner is the parent of three kids with disabilities. Not only do they offer a wide range of eco-friendly products to get parents started in cloth diapering, they even offer guides on how to do it. Something special about this site: the company devotes a section to special needs products, including a cool Nook Lilypad Playmat that is a great surface for tummy time, and a Happy Mat for easy and fun feeding time.
L-OMA offers a luxurious collection of organic buckwheat-filled pillows, custom-made weighted blankets, aromatherapeutic neck pillows, and weighted vests. Their Organic Buckwheat Pillow for Kids can be filled with an aromatherapy scent like balsam or lavender for a truly relaxing night of sleep. Better still, individuals with developmental disabilities work to help make the products to benefit the Bridges Foundation, earning a living wage while at the same time helping to raise money to fund programs and services for themselves and others.
Two Blind Brothers is the work of brothers Bryan and Bradford Manning from New York City. They are both legally blind and donate 100% of their profits to charitable foundations like the Foundation Fighting Blindness. They also work closely with other organizations supporting the blind community, including Industries of the Blind, which helps to make some of their products. More soft and comfortable clothing and accessories can be found in their online store.
If you purchase any of these items, let us know in the comments!