Christmas Shopping That Really Does Some Good

Buy Gifts With Purpose This Holiday Season

The holidays are coming - we all know that.  How could we forget?  Most retail stores have been shoving it down our throat since September.  Don't get me wrong - I DO love Christmas.  I love the decorations.  I love the loving spirit.  I love the cold weather (it's just an excuse to cuddle up to my hubby, I'll admit - but what's wrong with that?).  I could do without all the stress of cards and gifts, that's for sure.  I am claustrophobic so just the thought of going out on Black Friday fills my heart with fear.  Over the past few years, I, like millions of other hard working Americans, have started to buy most of my gifts online.  There's still no replacement for actually going INTO a store, but it seems like online, you do have more choices.  You can go to practically any site and find practically anything.  About two years ago, I discovered something that makes me feel even better about the holidays - charity sites that give when you give.  It's a win-win situation!  Let's look at this further.

One of my favorite sites is The Greater Good Network.  The Greater Good Network features lots of different websites inside their own website.  You can literally pick and choose which charity you want to support.  Do you love animals?  Try shopping at The Animal Rescue Site (www.theanimalrescuesite.com).  As well as featuring their own "Purple Paw" products on anything from sweatshirts to mugs to jewelry, they also feature an array of items from around the world.  You can find beautiful handbags handmade in Tibet, kitty wine stoppers, recycled ornaments, huge Buddha statues for your garden.....I can't think of anyone where I couldn't find something for them here.  Your purchase goes to feed shelter animals.  The donation varies by website.  The Hunger Site pays for food for malnourished people in countries around the world.  The Breast Cancer Site pays for free mammograms for needy women.  The Literacy Site gives free books - you get the idea.  When I shop at these websites, I truly feel that I am giving more than just a handbag or a plant holder - I am giving so much more. 

The best part is, on The Greater Good Network, you don't actually have to buy anything to help.  If you click once a day on the homepage button on any site of your choice, they will donate from that site to those that need it.  For instance, if you go to the Animal Rescue Site and click on the button, they will donate one bowl of food to shelter animals.  Easy peasy!  This idea has been copied over the years by many non-profit organizations.  On www.thenonprofits.com, they have a comprehensive list of many non-profits worldwide.  All you have to do is point, click, and you have made a difference.  What a simple way to do a little bit of good - imagine if everyone clicked everyday.  What a snowball effect we could create!

Another great place to shop is The Non-Profit Shopping Mall (www.nonprofitshoppingmall.com).  This site is a little different from The Greater Good Network.  You still choose your favorite charity first (they range from the ASPCA to The Surfrider Foundation to EarthShare).  The difference with the NPSM is that they allow you to shop at websites you would normally shop at, instead of having their own special suppliers and products.  You can shop Target, The National Geographic Store, Nordstrom, Staples, and Best Buy, to name a few.   All of the retailers and/or service providers listed on the site pay a commission to NPSM for sales that originate through the NPSM website. NPSM then donates a significant portion of those payments to the nonprofit selected by the consumer. The percentage noted beneath each retailer's logo represents the percentage of each consumer's purchase that is donated to the consumer's designated nonprofit. That percentage varies from retailer to retailer, and is fully disclosed on our website, along with direct links to the retailers' sites. (http://nonprofitshoppingmall.com/info/faq/#q2).

So before you just shop at any website this holiday season, why not try these two first?  And they aren't the only ones; there are loads of websites online that give to good causes from consumer purchases.  The economy is low right now and times are rough; it's not always easy to give as much as we would like to.  But these websites make it so easy to give from gifts that we were going to buy in the first place.  What a joy to know that we are making a difference simply by shopping.  Try buying gifts with purpose this holiday season; it will do you, and the rest of the world, a world of good.

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