December 2, 2013

Christmas Shopping with a Purpose - Top 5 Places to Turn to This Christmas

There's nothing better than piles of gifts under a Christmas tree. The rush of joy, the excitement, the happiness, are unbeatable. Except. They are. What's better than a pile of goodies? A pile of goodies that pay it forward!

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There are many ways to make a difference in our communities, especially around holiday season: volunteer at a soup kitchen, donate to Toys for Tots, make a donation to your charity of choice.

You can also shop to change the world around you. Here are some places you can shop for both your Christmas list AND to help pay it forward. (And just in time for Cyber Monday!)

1. International Princess Project - a company that is "creating pathways to freedom for women escaping sex slavery" in India. Not only is IPP helping end human trafficking, it creates an opportunity for more than 150 women and girls to learn a trade (sewing beautiful "Punjammies") that help sustain a new hope and a new lifestyle. I'm all for shopping for "fashion that takes a stand against human trafficking" - the pajamas and shirts are truly beautiful and unique, and will be appreciated by any mom, sister, wife, girlfriend, daughter...

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With a sweet deal on #CyberMonday (40% off + free shipping on orders over $50),
they definitely have a spot on my Christmas shopping list.
~*~

2. Three Avocados - this one's for the coffee lovers (that's right, nothing to do with avocados). It's a non-profit that puts 100% of its net earnings to clean water in Uganda. Clean water is a global problem, especially in developing nations. There are many initiatives that are working toward providing sustainable clean water resources. The perk with buying directly through Three Avocados is, you're guaranteed that 100% of your money is going to be used to make a direct impact.

Having actually tried the coffee, I can confidently say it's delicious! A rich, warm coffee that makes you feel good for all sorts of reasons!

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Coffee for a Cause - packaged just right for Christmas! :)
Twitter: @ThreeAvocados
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3. Blanket America - it isn't just about blankets. It's about all sorts of bedding, and towels, and window treatments. And helping. Most importantly, it's about the helping: "generating automatic donations" with every purchase, and helping the company's commitment to "ending extreme poverty." This "buy 1, give 1" model doesn't just help make a direct impact for the American community. It also contributes to disaster relief in Haiti and Blanket America's Choose Haiti mission.

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Beautiful bedding and blankets under your tree,
an end to poverty in the US and disaster relief in Haiti.
Twitter: @BlanketAmerica
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4. Toms Shoes - a very straight-forward one for one company: every pair of shoe you buy means a free pair of shoes for children in need around the world. Toms has expanded to "providing prescription glasses, medical treatmetn and/or sight-saving surgery" for every eyewear purchased by you. Over 10 million pairs of shoes and 150,000 visions restored because of purchases made by us. Toms has a lot of other cute products as well - really, a little something for everyone! Every purchase leads to the delivery of provisions, healthcare, opportunities, education, and training for hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
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$10 off $50 purchases, free shipping through December 2, AND a holiday gift guide - Toms has you covered!
Twitter: @TOMS
~*~

5. Warby Parker - a pair of stylish glasses for you or someone on your list means funding and/or glasses to VisionSpring and other non-profit partners, training for low-income entrepreneurs who are looking to start their own glasses-selling business, affordable glasses for communities across the globe, and lives that are bettered from your purchase. Warby Parker takes the "buy 1, give 1" and takes it a step further: the company doesn't just provide a product to the customer and an individual from the developing global community, it creates a community of self-enabled individuals and a chain of success stories - that's over 500,000 lives touched to date.

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A sweet new pair for you can mean vision for the first time for someone who was struggling before.
Twitter: @WarbyParker

Of course, your shopping at these sites doesn't have to be limited to the holiday season. These make great gifts or shopping experiences year round. The satisfaction of having paid it forward just can't be beat!

(This is not an exhaustive list of companies that follow a one for one model or support shopping with a cause. Some other social good companies are listed in this shop with meaning article. I'm sure there are many other companies - google is your friend!)