Ethical giving

Do you hear what I hear? Well, besides the Bing Crosby Christmas carols filling mall corridors, that would be the.

Do you hear what I hear? Well, besides the Bing Crosby Christmas carols filling mall corridors, that would be the chiming of cash registers as corporations the world over fire up their sweatshops and start tallying their holiday profits. If handing out mall socks and sweaters is starting to ring hollow for you, consider injecting a little more feel-good factor into your prezzie shopping and give out gifts that pay it forward.


Jane Goodall Chimp, $20

There’s no monkeying around with this stuffed chimp from the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada shop, since all the profits go to funding Goodall’s famous research, conservation and education programs in Africa. Come on, what other teddy funds training in sustainable forestry for Tanzanian villagers?

Habitat Earrings, $90


Whether you snag these Habitat Earrings – handcrafted and Canadian-made, designed exclusively to support Habitat for Humanity – a walking stick or a cutting board, the social enterprise Aura Collective gives a chunk of your money to the charity of your choice. In this case, $22.50 goes to Habitat for Humanity Canada’s Women Build projects. Just punch in HABITAT2009 at when you make your pick.

Good Food For All cookbook, $19.99


Got some locavore foodies in your life? You definitely need to get ’em a copy of The Stop Community Food Centre’s Good Food For All Cookbook ($19.99), a new collection of seasonal-ingredient recipes organized by season. They’ll also get a bowlful on how the best way to build healthy, egalitarian communities is through people’s stomachs. Endorsed by local food gurus like Jamie Kennedy.

The Art of Inner Peace, $30


Why not bring a little hope to inpatient’s staying at the Centre for Mental Health this holiday season? This Gift of Light pays for art therapy for patients on their road to recovery. You could also pick out other holiday prezzies like mitts or childcare services.

FoodShare’s Basket Full of Goodness, $35


The fab activists at FoodShare have a ton of stocking stuffers, from herbed vinegar trios to aprons, but this Field to Table basket crams locally made biscotti, fruitcake, apple and green tomato chutneys plus an organic cotton apron and calendar into one community-fostering gift for the low, low price of $35.

WWF Yoga Mat Bag, $16.99


Meditating on ways to save the world? Give the yoga bunny in your life a leg up on earth-conscious matters with this WWF yoga mat bag made from sturdy strips of tightly woven recycled paper.

Oxfam Bucket o’ Clean Water, $20


Okay, so Oxfam’s Bucket o’ Clean Water looks a little, um, pale on the excitement front but it’s a straight-up lifesaver for anyone who can’t access clean water in the developing world. It gets distributed by Oxfam’s emergency response, reconstruction and disaster preparedness programs – all in your generous friend or family member’s name, thanks to you.

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