So we’re down to the last few days before Christmas, and for you last minute shoppers in need of stocking stuffers for your children, here are a few of my favorites, all of which, of course, benefits a worthy cause. The “gifts that give back” theme is quite popular during the holiday season and you will find other lists floating out there trying to guide your charitable intentions. I’ve surveyed a dozen or more of these lists and narrowed it down to a couple gifting categories.
If your children aren’t expecting anything in their stockings, you could buy them a goat ($120) or a flock of geese ($20) in their honor (seriously, check out Heifer); or donate money to fund a mosquito bed net in Africa ($10) at Universal Giving. Technically, these notes of donation would also fit in a Christmas stocking. But philanthropy a la mode’s mission is not to try to solicit your donations, but to connect you to products that benefit worthy causes.
So for those of you who are gifting-challenged, any of the products here will have your children doubly impressed by not only your discerning, good taste but also your benevolence. I will feature some of these products and their benefiting organizations and causes in greater detail in future blog posts because both the products and charitable organizations deserve to be highlighted beyond merely this list. And that’s why philanthropy a la mode exists. So here are those few favorites.
Juicy Couture designed this lovely pink heart charm surrounded with pave Swarovski crystals with its logo on one side and the St. Jude’s logo on the other. 100% of proceeds (after all related expenses) go to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and is sold in their online store ($48).
Inspired by the children of PBS, philosophy created the tree house, a 2-piece kit containing their 8 oz. red delicious apple hand wash and 4 oz. red delicious apple hand cream. 100% of philosophy’s net proceeds will go to PBS or PBS Kids ($18) and is sold at Philosophy’s online store.
This unique-looking leather coin purse with zipper started off as an exhibit in a New York art gallery, although its origins are much humbler. Artist George Skelcher was inspired to create the purse after seeing the city's homeless using crushed coffee cups to panhandle for change. The design is modeled closely after the famous New York City coffee cup, featuring the well-known blue and gold motif and the phrase "We Are Happy to Serve You". Part of the proceeds from the sale of each purse is donated to HELP USA, an organization that has been helping the homeless since 1986 and can be found at Wishing Fish ($29.95).
This adorable knitted elephant (think sock monkey, but a different species) is hand-knitted by rural women in Kenya using environmentally friendly and ecologically sustainable materials and processes. Sale of this ($24) and other products at Kenana Knitters help support farming communities in Kenya. I really love their Great Giant Elephant which is nearly 2 feet tall ($96) but it may be a little too big for your stocking.
Urban Outfitters and Filter Magazine have teamed up to curate the fifth installment of the Give.Listen.Help compilation series. A large percentage of the proceeds ($13.88 of every $14.99!) from the sale of each disc will be donated to the PABLOVE Foundation, a group formed by Jeff Castelaz, LA-based cofounder of Dangerbird Records, to help the Children's Hosital of Los Angeles (where Jeff's son is undergoing treatment for a rare form of cancer). This exclusive 2-disc mix features 1 disc packed with unreleased and remixed versions of songs from an impressive list of artists including Radiohead and Jack Johnson, and can be found at Urban Outfitters.
I love this board book for my 1 1/2 year old son. The third board book from The Global Fund for Children, Global Babies familiarizes little ones with the friendly faces of their peers from around the world ($6.95).