Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Soldier Soother

Skincando’s Combat-Ready Balm soothes everything from sunburn and dry skin to razor burn and sand-flea bites, which is why U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are big fans of the product. From now through December 25, you can donate a two-ounce jar of the cream to a solider and get another sent to you, all for $12.50. It’s a small way to say thank you to the men and women making big sacrifices for our country.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Sweetness and Light

This time of year, many people in the cold and potentially snow-covered northern part of the country would love to be spending a little time down south. But if an escape isn’t in their future, they can at least make their own home feel a little bit like Charleston, New Orleans, or other Deep South spots with soy candles from Low Country Luxe. And while all of them give off good scents, many of the company’s candles also give back to nonprofits. The sweet tea olive blossom and citrus scented New Orleans candle ($54.95) benefits the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans and Music for Tomorrow, while the Beau, Belle, and Sugah collection ($34.95 each) helps raise funds for the March of Dimes. The Savannah-based company also supports its own region through its Gullah candle ($49.95), which generates donations to the Penn Center and its efforts to preserve South Carolina’s Gullah history.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

What a Card

If you’re a slacker when it comes to Christmas cards, don’t worry. You still have time to order some photo cards from Tiny Prints, which offers stylish options for those who prefer a more modern spin on the traditional custom. And if you choose one of the designs in the company’s Celebrity Holiday Card Collection, you’ll be supporting charity while sharing your favorite photo of your kids with friends and family. Desperate Housewives’ Marcia Cross and Alison Sweeney of The Biggest Loser and Days of Our Lives are among the famous moms who provided design ideas for cards benefiting organizations like Feeding America and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. So don’t wait any longer—upload your favorite photo and place an order to share some holiday cheer with your loved ones and some very worthy causes.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Going to the Dogs

Got a pet lover on your gift list? Then check out Emily Elizabeth Jewelry. The New York–based company, whose designs have been spotted on celebs like Kristen Wiig and Vanessa Hudgens, donates 50 percent of the proceeds from the sale of its animal-centric items to the ASPCA. Pieces include a paw-charm necklace ($48) and matching stud earrings ($35) sure to appeal to any dog owner you know.


Monday, December 14, 2009

A Recipe for Success

I love that the pieces in KitchenAid’s Cook for the Cure Pink Product Collection look like grown-up versions of a little girl’s play-kitchen accessories. And I love even more that they help generate funds for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest grassroots network of breast-cancer survivors and activists working to put an end to the disease. For every piece purchased, KitchenAid donates up to $50 to fight breast cancer. So go ahead and whip up a cake or puree some veggies—it just might help save a life.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Culture Club

Even if they’re not world travelers yet, the kids in your life can look the part with globally influenced fashions from the Tea Collection. From kimono-inspired dresses for girls to dragon-emblazoned T-shirts for boys, the worldly attire looks like it could have come straight from the closet of the Jolie-Pitt kids. And like that famously charitable family, Tea Collection is also known for giving back. Twice a year, it introduces a new selection of onesies, T-shirts, and hoodies that benefit the Global Fund for Children. Fifty percent of their sales go to the organization that has awarded more than $13.9 million in grants in 72 countries since 1997.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Everyday People

Going through Harry Potter withdrawal? Ease your pain with One Day in the Life of Daniel Radcliffe ($29.95), a new book from photographer Tim Hailand. Featuring 50 black-and-white and color images, it captures a day during Radcliffe’s run in Equus on Broadway, everything from him dozing in bed to rehearsing his buzz-worthy role. The book goes on sale December 15, and a portion of the proceeds goes to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Look for additional books from Hailand focusing on artists and entertainers like Rufus Wainwright and Christian Lacroix in 2010.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Shop Like a Celeb

Know someone who’s as stylish as Rachel Bilson or Brooke Shields? Then head to Piperlime, where you can see their gift ideas along with picks from Rashida Jones and Kristen Bell. Purchase any of their suggestions through December 31, like these Kate Spade earrings ($95), and 10 percent of the proceeds will be donated to The Art of Elysium, a nonprofit that connects actors, artists, and musicians with kids with serious medical conditions.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chipping Away at a Problem

I’m never one to turn down a cookie. Especially when it’s a cookie that helps fight pediatric cancer. And that’s what all the treats sold by Cookies for Kids’ Cancer do. The charitable organization was founded by a mom inspired by her son’s battle against neuroblastoma. Since its first bake sale in 2007 and official launch in 2008, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer has raised some $700,000 to fund pediatric cancer research. Cookies ($30 a dozen) come in flavors like triple chocolate chunk and chewy oatmeal raisin, and 100 percent of the profits help fund research for new and improved therapies for pediatric cancer. And through the end of December, the Glad Products Company is matching all the funds raised by Cookies for Kids’ Cancer up to $100,000. Which makes this gift idea an extra sweet one.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Blanket Statements

OK, I have to admit—I laughed at my brother when I heard he’d bought one of those blankets with sleeves. But the more I see them, the more they make sense. Especially for someone like me, who likes to flip through a magazine while I’m watching TV, which is kind of hard to do if your arms are covered by a regular old blanket. There are lots of options out there for keeping you cozy but not confined, but perhaps none with the warming power of the Joyful Nuddle ($88). Purchase one and a second Joyful Nuddle will be sent to a survivor of sexual assault, domestic violence, or child abuse in one of the programs of the Joyful Heart Foundation. So you won’t be the only one who gets that warm and fuzzy feeling.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Forward-Looking Fashion

Think your kiddo is as stylish as the offspring of Jennifer Garner, Tori Spelling, and Naomi Watts? Then deck him or her out in clothes from Baby Eggi like celeb moms do. Founded by two sisters, the company offers fashionable but still practical apparel like bell-sleeve jackets ($48) and raglan-striped tops ($28) for girls and T-shirts for boys ($10 to $26) featuring artwork by Los Angeles tattoo artist Mark Mahoney. But what’s even cooler than the clothes is the fact that 20 percent of Baby Eggi’s net proceeds are donated to partnering children’s charities like Artists for a New South Africa and Kids Courage Foundation.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Shirting the Issue

Even small fries can make a big impact. That’s the philosophy at Tiny Revolutionary, which sells hip kids’ T-shirts, onesies, and hoodies bearing socially conscious messages extolling everything from recycling to hybrid cars. And the company’s Giving Tees ($25 to $44) take that idea even further, donating up to $20 of the proceeds of their sale to small children’s charities like Save a Child’s Heart and Rock for Kids. So even though your nephew or daughter might not be able to tie their own shoes yet, they can sport a cool shirt that helps make a difference in another kid’s life.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sweet Talk

I’ve always had a thing for caramel, whether it’s enrobed in chocolate, drizzled over ice cream, or just all by itself. So the gift packs ($10 to $165) offered by Good Karmal are right up my alley. Packaged in earth-friendly containers and wrapped with words of wisdom from sages like Gandhi and Maya Angelou, the candy comes in flavors ranging from classic vanilla to green apple or chipotle. A portion of all sales goes to environmental charities like the World Wildlife Fund and the Nature Conservancy.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Score Some Brownie Points

Know someone who’s a Top Chef addict or a Martha Stewart devotee? Get them a copy of The Greyston Bakery Cookbook, which features more than 80 recipes for cookies, bars, cakes, and tarts. All of the profits from the cookbook go to the Greyston Foundation, which provides jobs, workforce development, and other support services to the Yonkers, New York, area. The bakery—which is the exclusive producer of brownies for Ben & Jerry’s products—also sells packaged versions of its Do-Goodie Brownies for those people you know who think a kitchen is only good for storing takeout menus.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

On the Money

If you’re at all like me, you’ll probably make at least a few trips to Target this holiday season. But before you stock up on toys, ornaments, or wrapping paper, check out Target’s GiftCoins. Sold in sets of five, each coin comes pre-loaded with $5. And through December 24, Target will donate $2 from every GiftCoins purchase to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, for a maximum donation of $750,000. So hand them out to your kid’s teachers, stuff them in some stockings, or use them to make your own holiday purchases. If you’re going to spend the money there anyway (and come on, you know you are), you might as well have some of it go to a good cause.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Serenity Now

The scent of lavender has long been known for its calming effect, something we all could probably benefit from these days, thanks to the onslaught of bad news that keeps coming our way. So add some tranquility to the lives of your friends and family with these stylish lavender sachets ($15 for a set of three) from Henry Road, a Los Angeles–based studio and store that features colorful textiles by designer Paula Smail along with an eclectic assortment of home decor and gifts. Proceeds from their sale go to SOS Children’s Villages, an international organization that helps provide loving and stable homes for children who have lost their parents or who can no longer live with them.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Everyday Escapes

Wouldn’t it be nice if our bathrooms always felt like five-star spas? The Spa Bath and Spa Shower collections from Lisa Hoffman can definitely help set that mood. Featuring natural botanicals like orchid extract and palm milk, they help make any spot feel like an exotic locale, whether it’s your friend’s tiny apartment in Brooklyn or whatever hotel room your road warrior sister is currently occupying. Available in both travel- and full-size versions ($9.95 to $29), the products also help preserve the places that inspired them. A portion of the proceeds from their sale goes to the Rainforest Foundation, which was founded in 1989 by Sting and Trudie Styler and works to fight tropical deforestation around the world.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Garlands of Goodwill

Want to spread peace this holiday season? Why not extend a literal olive branch toward your neighbor, coworker, or, hey, even your mother-in-law. You can do that with a wreath made of olive, bay, and eucalyptus branches from Lindsay Olives, part of California-based Bell-Carter Foods, the largest table-olive producer in the United States. Available in 14- and 18-inch sizes, the wreaths ($30-$35) make a fragrant addition to any front door or table centerpiece. And proceeds from wreath sales go to the Meals on Wheels Association of America, the oldest and largest organization in the United States representing those who provide meal services to people in need. Order one at www.lindsayolives.com or by calling 800-765-2029.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Just Desserts

I’ve been known to have something of a sweet tooth, a trait that definitely runs in my family. So I can think of plenty of people who’d love to dig into one of the cakes made by Rubicon Bakery. The bakery’s part of Rubicon Programs, a Richmond, California–based nonprofit that provides employment, job training, and other support services for people who are disabled, homeless, or otherwise economically disadvantaged.

This holiday season, Williams-Sonoma will be selling the bakery’s 12-layer chocolate cake ($69.95), coconut lemon layer cake ($59.95), and gourmet marshmallows ($14.95, pictured above) through its catalog and online. Proceeds from the tasty treats help Rubicon create jobs for people with barriers to employment, such as the formerly incarcerated and those overcoming addictions. So there’s no reason to feel guilty about eating these desserts during the holidays.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lend a Hand

Dry, chapped hands are something that many of us must contend with during the winter months. The Body Shop’s Soft Hands, Kind Heart Hand Cream ($10) can not only provide some relief on that front but can also help solve a much bigger problem—child exploitation. Around $6 from every purchase goes to ECPAT-USA, which works to end child prostitution and trafficking, something that affects about 1.8 million children and young people around the world each year. It’s a simple way to help address a very complicated issue.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Face Value

Inner beauty is supposed to be what really matters, right? Well, I don’t know about you, but I feel a lot better on the inside when I look good on the outside too. Some days, that seems like an insurmountable challenge, but maybe the Wish Holiday Collection from Smashbox Cosmetics can help. Featuring full- and travel-size versions of products like Photo Finish Primer (to “create a perfect canvas for foundation application”) and Lip Enhancing Gloss (winner of Allure’s Editor’s Choice Award for Best Lip Gloss), it offers a vanity’s worth of makeup choices to solve seemingly any beauty quandary. And for every purchase from the collection, Smashbox will donate $1 to the Children’s Miracle Network, which raises funds for more than 170 children’s hospitals. Seems like a good reason to test the effects of some new eyeshadow or mascara.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Generous Greetings

When it comes to sending cards for birthdays and other occasions, I have the best intentions. But somehow, the special day always seems to arrive before I’ve gotten a card in the mail. That’s why I’m such a fan of e-cards. For every free e-card sent through kraftrecipeforjoy.com from November 16 through December 31, Kraft Foods will donate 10 meals to Feeding America, which works with member food banks to help feed this country’s hungry. Each card features tips on holiday entertaining as well as recipes for dishes like baked crab rangoon and banana-sour cream cake. But the best thing is, it won’t just be my friends and family who get to enjoy a good meal.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Work It

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That’s why, no matter how qualified you might be, what you wear to a job interview can make a difference. Dress for Success, a nonprofit based in New York, helps provide economically disadvantaged women around the world with the professional attire and career development tools they need to nail that interview and land the job. You can help out by adding a smart-looking silk scarf or necktie ($30 each) designed by Tommy Hilfiger to your own work wardrobe. The limited-edition accessories benefit Dress for Success, with $21.50 per scarf and $24.50 per necktie going directly to the organization. Find them at tommyhilfiger.com and in select Tommy Hilfiger stores.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Clean Fight

How can washing your hands help give a child clean water to drink? When you use Noodle & Boo’s Believe Honey Bar ($12.50) to do it. The company will funnel 100% of the profits from sales of the soap to its Raise Your Hand Campaign, which works to fund water-purification systems one village at a time. Efforts will first focus on Heeraraa, a small village in Ethiopia with a school of 200 children. So go ahead and work yourself into a lather—it’s for a good cause.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Reads with Reach

I love giving and receiving books as gifts. On my wish list this year is Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. It tells the story of Syrian-American businessman Abdulrahman Zeitoun, from his heroism in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina to his mysterious disappearance about a week after the storm. Much of the proceeds from the book will go to the newly formed Zeitoun Foundation, which will make grants to nonprofits working to rebuild New Orleans and promoting religious tolerance and understanding.

I’ll need to have plenty of tissues on hand before I read Notes Left Behind. Written by Keith and Brooke Desserich, it details their six-year-old daughter Elena’s fight against brain cancer and shares the notes she lovingly left behind for them all over their home. One hundred percent of U.S. book sale author profits will go to The Cure Starts Now, a foundation that aims to find a cure for all cancers, especially the one that took Elena’s life.

Like the Desseriches, Sorrel King writes about the loss of her 18-month-old daughter in Josie’s Story. Josie’s death was caused by medical errors, and now her mother is working to prevent others from experiencing the same tragic outcome. A portion of the book’s proceeds goes to the Josie King Foundation, which is focused on increasing patient safety and decreasing the number of fatal medical errors that occur each year.

Friday, November 6, 2009

When can a coat also be a life jacket?

Need a new coat to stay warm this winter? So do many of the Americans who find themselves homeless this year (many of whom have ended up without a home thanks to the Great Recession). You can help out by taking a "gently used" coat to any Lands’ End Shop at Sears or Lands’ End Inlet between October 29 and November 30. You’ll get 20% off the purchase of a new coat at Lands’ End, and someone in need will get some much-needed protection from the elements thanks to Lands’ End and the National Coalition for the Homeless. Kind of makes you feel all warm inside, huh? For more info, visit http://www.bigwarmup.com/.

A blog is born

Halloween is over and the holiday season is upon us. I always love buying Christmas gifts for family and friends, but this year, I thought about doing things a little differently. What if I tried to find as many gifts as I could that also benefited a charitable cause? That way, I could still do my usual gift shopping but also give back at the same time.

It seemed like a good plan, but when I searched the Web for ideas, I found a little bit of info here and a little bit of info there. There wasn’t one site I could visit to find a good list of products that benefited charities.

So I decided to try to create that site. As I find them, I’ll be adding everything from beauty products to housewares that make great gifts AND make gifts to nonprofits. That way, I can still have fun shopping, but I can feel a little less guilty about the money I’m spending. And who doesn’t want to feel a little less guilt?