Holiday Gifts for the Do-gooder

Have your cake and share it too. These great gifts kick back to some worthy charities and causes.

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall

November 20 2012 5:00 AM ET

Play With Your Food
This whimsical and stylish Silver Flying Saucer Bowl turns everyday meals into out-of-this-world feasts. It makes for a great space-age centerpiece or a fruit bowl extraordinaire. Or try the cheeky stoneware Warm or Cool Face Mugs, which hold beverages up top and have a special cubby for your favorite nibbles below. Uncommon Goods, which sells wares by artists and designers around the globe, is an eco-friendly company that donates a portion of each order to one of these nonprofit organizations: American Forests, AmeriCares, City Harvest, and Tori Amos's Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. $300 and $35, UncommonGoods.com

It Takes A Village
With Heifer International, you can give a family you don't know the ultimate gift: a livelihood. For a donation of $10 and up, you provide an animal (everything from chickens to water buffalo) that the family can use to produce milk or eggs, make cheese or other products, or fertilize gardens, and then help others. Families first lift themselves out of poverty and then give the animal's offspring to another family in need, paying the gift forward. $10 and up, Heifer.org

Adoption Minus the College Costs
Never seen a manatee? The slow-moving, affable creatures are endangered, and many are injured or killed each year by boats. What better gift than adopting a real Florida manatee from the Jimmy Buffett-founded Save the Manatee Club? You choose who to adopt (read all about Squeaky, Rocket, and Annie online), and your money helps fund efforts to protect the popular endangered marine mammals and their aquatic habitat. You'll get an adoption certificate, photo of your manatee, a membership handbook, and subscriptions to the club's newsletters, which feature reports on the manatees in the adoption program as well as other interesting information. $25, SaveTheManatee.org

Helping Women Help Themselves
When you buy one of the intriguing handmade Rwanda Path to Peace Baskets at Macy's, you'll get a great gift and also make an impact on tens of thousands of lives in that country. Macy's initiated its Rwanda Path to Peace project in 2005, providing a real, sustainable income to rural women who had never before earned money (most of whom were widowed through genocide, and many of them HIV-positive). Each bundled sweet-grass basket comes with a numbered certificate of authenticity, and the artisans receive half the wholesale price for each item sold. $50, Macys.com/Rwanda

A Caramel for This Life and the Next One
Anyone who has tasted Good Karmal’s artisanal sweets will understand why Oprah Winfrey called it “the best caramel I’ve ever had.” Each of Good Karmal’s caramels is wrapped in inspirational quotes, and since head honcho Patty West believes that “preserving the earth is the ultimate good karma,” a portion of all sales is donated to environmental charities. The best part though is that the six kosher, gluten-free flavors (made with organic tapioca syrup instead of corn syrup) — vanilla, sea salt, cafe caramel, caramel apple, chocolate sea salt, and chipotle — are packaged in samplers, woven baskets, and other holiday gift sets with prices as low as a few dollars. Prices vary, GoodKarmal.com

Geek Chic
We Can Be Heroes: Justice League Action Figure Box Set from DC is the perfect gift for that superhero in your life. It features seven Justice League icons: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg, and 10% of every purchase of this set benefits DC Entertainment's giving campaign, which is saving lives as well. $96.99, Amazon.com.

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