Do-Gooder Gifts

Part of the holiday fun is buying gifts for your friends and family. Sometimes, though, don't you feel like you're spending money on pretty frivolous stuff? I mean, does anyone really need an Edward Cullen pillowcase or a rubber fish that sings? Here are three charitable gifts that capture the real spirit of the holidays!

1. The Nature Bag ($30). This completely sustainable bag is hand-woven by the indigenous Khmu people of Laos, one of Asia's poorest ethnic groups. Made from the stem of a wild growing jungle vine, these beautiful bags are incredibly strong and biodegradable. By purchasing one of their bags, you help the Khmu community prosper and develop in a meaningful way.

2. Heifer International (price varies).  Why give Uncle Mike another tie when you can give him a goat? Heifer International is one our favorite nonprofits that is dedicated to ending global hunger and poverty through the gift of animals to communities in need. Buy a flock of chicks for $20 that will produce eggs, or honeybees for $30 that will cultivate honey. Lots of zoological choices at Heifer's site!

3. Lower Eastside Girls Club, Holiday Tins ($25 each) The Lower Eastside Girls Club is an amazing organization that mentors young inner-city girls to become incredible women. Its Sweet Shop helps generate the money needed to run their many programs. The girls themselves make and decorate the cookies -- choose from one of their three holiday tins full of tasty treats!