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Socially conscious options 

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For those who know their friends and family need no more stuff, or just want to make sure that the new stuff you get them isn't totally heartless and corporate: You can always mitigate concern by gifting green, fair-trade and charitable.

Everyone knows that you can donate in someone's name to just about any cause, but a lot of people don't know about the many places you can spend your money where you can get and give simultaneously.

Below are some ideas for places to shop, local and online, where your money goes to a good cause and often you'll walk away with something tangible. We've included some other places where you'll at least get the customized gift card. Remember that some of these online items won't make it to your giftee by Christmas, but with your heart in the right place, I'm sure they'll forgive you.

Local

Buy a mixed half-case of wines from around the world ($69.55 + tax) at The Wine Store (523 S. Cascade Ave.). Mention CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and 25 percent ($17.39) of the purchase price will go to the local program. This deal is available monthly (for the record) and the cool part is that this single purchase could service more than one person for whom you're shopping one bottle each to six friends, two bottles each to friends you like more ... you decide.

Go shopping for local art at The Coffee Exchange (526 S. Tejon St.), where 10 percent of art sales is donated to a participating nonprofit of the buyer's choice.

Purchase the Love Every Day 2008 Calendar from the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region ($15 in person/$17 via mail) for any animal lovers you know. Proceeds for the enjoyment of cute pictures of local pets benefit homeless animals. Visit hsppr.org or call 473-1741, ext. 125.

Check out a list of six local places where you can purchase fair-trade items from our first gift guide (csindy.com/gyrobase/content?oid=22351).

Kohl's (2725 Janitell Road and 3110 N. Powers Blvd.) is offering a variety of $5 gifts of which 100 percent of the profits will go to children's health and education initiatives. Gift items include children's books, plush stuffed animals and a Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby Christmas CD. Visit kohls.com for more.

Online

Go to Denver-based modlivin.com, where you can find a link to the Mid-Centuri charity project (an offshoot of Bono's RED campaign) where you can shop for a variety of red items chairs, bookcases, clocks, rugs, etc. A portion of these proceeds will go to fight AIDS in Africa.

Visit laptopgiving.org to buy two XO laptops for $399. One will be sent to you in early 2008, the other will go to a child in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti, Mongolia or Rwanda at the same time.

Head to worldwildlife.org, where you can symbolically adopt one of 80 different animals for $50 and receive a stuffed plush replica of that same animal while your money goes to fund projects to protect it.

Check out oxfamamericaunwrapped.com: For under $25 to more than $500, you can purchase everything from planting 50 trees to buying a hygiene kit or school desk. The item you choose will go to those who need it most and your giftee will receive recognition of the gift in his or her name. Heifer.org offers similar gifts, including a hive of bees, a cow or chickens.

At rodaleinstitute.org/biketownafrica, your donation goes toward the purchase of bicycles for health care workers to reach more HIV/AIDS sufferers with more speed than walking.

And at both agreatergift.org and tenthousandvillages.com you can shop for beautiful craft items for the home, clothing and much more. The organizations support artisan communities through fair-trade practices in a number of impoverished countries.
Matthew Schniper

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