Holiday Gifts that Give Back 2011

For anyone who has walked past the Salvation Army bell ringers or is finding their mailbox filled with donation pleas, you know that the holidays are upon us.  This time of year is typically the last push for many charities looking to solicit donors when they are feeling charitable. But, with budget cuts and joblessness seemingly plaguing the economy, it can be a tight year for our wallets.  I'm all for getting the biggest bang for my buck, so here are some great ways to give back and be philanthropic at the same time.

A while back I posted about some great food and beverage companies that donate portions of their proceeds to charitable causes, but you can get ideas just about anywhere.  In the December issue of Oprah magazine, she added holiday gifts supporting charitable organizations to her Favorite Things list, and below are ideas borrowed from abc news.  Along the same lines, Real Simple magazine also created a list of 10 gifts that support charities, from makeup to musical instruments. 

 Customize a sweet treat for the holidays by selecting from more than 100 toppings and then select one of three charities to benefit from your purchase atChocomize Chocolate Bars.  

 At Philosophy Bath Products, smile and smell great with Philosophy's charitable selections this season: Heart of the Season, Shower for the Cure, Joyful Heart and She Colors My Day. 

 Joan Hornig Jewelry's motto is "Philanthropy is Beautiful" and that's something to celebrate. The "Working Together" necklace from the "Tools for Giving Collection" is a unique favorite in sterling. Best of all, 100 percent of the proceeds from every purchase are donated to the charity of the buyer's choice.

 Created by another small business, Footzyrolls are great for around the office or on a long flight. Every pair supports the United Way.

Gloves can often be a "blah" gift, but fingerless, text-friendly "i-heart" gloves from Object Mythology will warm hands and hearts, as they benefit One Is Greater Than None, providing medical care to uninsured Americans in rural areas. 

The PBTeen offers a collection of beautiful pillows with powerful messages -- all benefitting a variety of causes.

Project Linus is great for "Peanuts" fans or anyone on your list who could benefit from the security of a cozy blanket. Every purchase benefits Project Linus, which delivers handmade blankets to sick kids.

A penny for your thoughts. The Penny Stones game gives the gift of conversation, and every stone is made in Ohio by people with disabilities.

It is always said that giving is better than receiving, and with these special gifts you can give something extra special to the person you care about while helping people in need. It can be hard to write a check or make a cash donation with all of the holiday anticipation surrounding Christmas morning, but just one thoughtful gift can make a world of difference.


Austin Charity Spotlight: Front Steps

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