Gifts that give

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As you may have already noticed, everyone who is anyone has a charitable holiday gift giving guide, listing their favorite holiday gifts which also contribute to charity. Well, I'm a sucker for a trend, so here are a few I like:

  1. JustGive.org. Want to give a donation in someone's name, but not sure where they would like the cash to go? As JustGive, you can buy a charitable donation gift certificate, and the recipient can then choose which of over 1,000,000 local and national charities to use it for.

  2. Eco-Libris. Eco-Libris is an organization from whom you buy credits to plant trees to offset the books you read (like carbon credit purchasing). A good gift for a book geek? For the holidays, they have packages of a holiday card and 5 book credits for $6.50, 10 for $12.00, 25 for $25.00, and up.

  3. Humane Society Woof Doormat. Cute, heavyweight doormat, made of natural fiber and eco-friendly dye, benefiting the Humane Society. $35 plus $5 S&H.

  4. Dog Breed Bottle Stoppers. Also benefiting the Humane Society. How freaking cute are these? Comes in tons of breeds, $18 each.

  5. Recycled Silk Throw Rug. This throw rug is not only gorgeous, it's made from recycled silk scraps by a family-owned fair-trade certified Indian business. Buying it for $39.95 through Greater Goods also provides either 28 bowls of food for shelter animals (if you choose The Animal Rescue Site store) or something similar through one of the site's other charitable stores (The Breast Cancer Site, The Hunger Site, The Child Health Site, The Literacy Site, or The Rainforest Site).

  6. Stone Mala Necklace. These hand-strung fair-trade semi-precious stone necklaces are blessed by the nuns at the Dolma Ling nunnery in Tibet, whom the proceeds from their sale help support. The $24.95 you pay for a necklace at Greater Good will also provide 50 cups of food if you order through The Hunger Site, or similar from the other options.

  7. One Laptop Per Child. If you haven't already heard of this program, the premise pretty simple. Through the "Give One Get One" program, you spend $399 and get one specially produced XO children's laptop and donate one to a child in the developing world. Gotta do it now, though, as it is available only through December 31.

  8. Can I Sit With You? I've mentioned it here before, but buying the $14 Can I Sit With You? book, to the dual purposes of giving kids stories to help them believe they really will make it out alive and supporting the Special Education PTA of Redwood City (SEPTAR), is an excellent plan.

  9. Life saving essentials for Burmese families. Partners World asked Burmese refugees what they needed to stay alive, and they came back with the following heartbreakingly simple list, for a family of 5 for a month:
    1. 75 kilograms of rice; 5 kilograms of salt
    2. 1 cooking pot
    3. 1 lighter
    4. 1 machete
    5. 1 large plastic sheet for making a roof in the jungle
    These things can be provided for $50.

  10. Finally, whatever you are going to buy, you can probably sign up through iGive to buy it and make sure some of the proceeds to to the charity of your choice.

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FYI, we are doing the One Laptop Per Child for H, under the "give one/get one" program. Folks doing likewise should be advised that the machines won't ship until early '08. (Thus, we are planning to give it to H for her birthday instead of Xmas.)

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