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Gifts That Give Back

Looking for gifts, clothing, or holiday decorations that honor your child's homeland and help children around the world? Each year AF curates a list of "gifts that give back" -- merchants that donate proceeds to charities that support adoption, children, or families.

Giving Back: Readers nominate worthy causes working for the good of children.

Start your holiday shopping with these generous online merchants:


2013 Gifts That Give Back List
COMPANY: Christopher Radko Company
Each year, the Christopher Radko Company creates a special Celebrate Adoption ornament. Sales benefit the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, which works to increase awareness of foster adoption, with the belief that no child is "unadoptable." This year's hand-blown glass collectible ($53 at macys.com and select Macy's stores) features three jolly penguins holding a heart with the Dave Thomas Foundation logo.
COMPANY: Divine Chocolate
Divine is the only fairtrade chocolate company owned by its cocoa farmers. Each purchase directly supports the Kuapa Kokoo farmer's co-op in Ghana. The Divine Classics 10-Bar Gift Set ($38.99 for 10 beautifully packaged bars), with flavors including dark chocolate with raspberries, orange milk chocolate, and white chocolate with strawberries, is the perfect choice for the chocolate lover on your list.
COMPANY: Native Trails
The hand-hammered Copper Heart Ornament ($10.50) is a perfect token of your affection. Native Trails donates 20 percent of each sale of their "Share the Love" collection to CASA (Case Appointed Special Advocates for Children), a nationwide network of volunteers who represent the best interests of children in the foster system.
COMPANY: IX Style
Francesca Kennedy spent her childhood summers swimming in Lake Atitlan. On a visit back home, she saw how polluted the lake had become and witnessed children walking from miles away to collect the contaminated water—and was inspired to found IX (the Mayan word for water) Style. Fifteen percent of the profits from each pair of Woven Leather Huarache Sandals ($89), handcrafted by a women's artisan collective, provides clean drinking water to children in Guatemala through the organization "charity: water."
COMPANY: The Honest Co.
This line of bath, household, and baby products (check out their cute, printed diapers) is all-natural and eco-friendly. The company partners with the nonprofit Baby2Baby to donate funds, volunteering hours, and Honest products to needy families in the Los Angeles area. Delight your little one with the Bath Time Collection ($49.95); treat someone a bit older to the Pampering Collection ($45.95).
COMPANY: OAK Lifestyle
The low-key style of the roomy and durable Ordinary Backpack ($60) makes it appropriate for elementary schoolers, college students, or adults. With each purchase, a child in need will receive a backpack filled with school supplies, via The Neighborhood Kids, in Austin, Texas, or Africa New Life, in Rwanda. OAK stands for "ordinary acts of kindness," and the company's co-founders include several adoptive parents.
COMPANY: Shabby Apple
This women-owned and operated business donates five percent of its net income to ACCION, which grants microfinance loans to women and families in 31 countries. Shabby Apple's clothing and accessories (prices vary) all have a vintage flair.
COMPANY: Heart and Stone Jewelry
On the front of the handcrafted silver "I Knew I Loved You" medallion ($125 with chain), the words "I knew I loved you before I met you" circle a heart, and artist Julie Booras will personalize the back with your child's name or other short text. The necklace is part of her "Giving Is Good" line, and 25 percent of the sale price is donated to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
COMPANY: Christmas Milk
After Heidi and Shane Fausel adopted a nine-year-old boy from foster care, he told them about a drink he'd had once and loved ("It tastes like Christmas"). As their first Christmas together approached, Heidi gave her son a glass of eggnog. He took a sip, jumped up, and shouted, "That's it! It's Christmas milk!" Each sale of their signature eggnog or ice cream (eggnog with a sea salt caramel swirl? Yes, please!), which you can find at your local store, helps children in foster care find forever homes. Either one would make a perfect holiday treat for your own family.

Previous Years' Gifts That Give Back Picks
COMPANY: Jockey
The Jockey Being Family Bear ($8.50) is an adorable and ideal gift that gives back. For each bear sold throughout the year, Jockey will donate $3 to support organizations, including the North American Council on Adoptable Children and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
COMPANY: Morris Terry
The MTX Weekender Bag ($40), made from natural cotton, is perfect for the gym or weekend getaways. One hundred percent of the proceeds will fund foster youths’ participation in sports, theater, and arts programs via the HELPS foster agency.
COMPANY: Dancing Deer Baking Co.
Thirty-five percent of the price of the Sweet Home Medley ($54.99), a delectable package of award-winning baked goods, benefits homeless mothers and their children.
COMPANY: HelpUsAdopt.Org
All proceeds from the sales of the Chocolate Smoky Quartz and Gold Leaf Bracelet ($40), designed by two adoptive mothers, benefit HelpUsAdopt, a national nonprofit organization that provides grants to hopeful adoptive parents.
COMPANY: Soft Clothing
Finally! Chic togs specially designed for children sensitive to tags, seams, and clothing textures (prices vary). Your purchase supports the SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) Foundation and Autism Speaks.
COMPANY: Ornaments 4 Orphans
Adding a charming ornament hand-sewn from African textiles--choose from elephants, zebras, giraffes, or rhinos--to your tree this year will help provide care for children orphaned by AIDS in Uganda.
COMPANY: Thanda Zulu
Traditional beadwork meets modern aesthetics in various accessories, handcrafted by skilled Zulu beaders. Proceeds from items like the Summer Mod bracelet ($24) support the Thanda After-School Project, which helps orphans and other vulnerable children in rural South Africa.
COMPANY: Every Orphan's Hope
Purchasing the artfully designed Chicks 4 Orphans T-shirt ($20) supports orphans and widows in Zambia. The organization raises day-old chicks for six weeks and sells them in communities devastated by HIV/AIDS.
COMPANY: A Bead of Roses
Proceeds from the purchase of the sterling silver Wear the Love/Foster Care Awareness Necklace with Swarovski crystals ($65) help raise foster care and adoption awareness through the Connecticut Association of Foster and Adoptive Parents.
COMPANY: Labours of Love Designs
A portion of sales from this online store featuring adoption-themed keepsakes--including custom sewn fleece children's blankets ($62.95-$82.95) supports the Adoption Council of Canada and the Children's Action Network.
COMPANY: eCreamery
eCreamery lets you make your own frozen creations. Choose your base flavor of ice cream or gelato, choose your mix-ins, and even customize the packaging. (Seconds of "Jessica's Homecoming Surprise," anyone?) During the month of December, it donates a portion of its proceeds to Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
COMPANY: Faces of Siberia
All proceeds from Faces of Siberia's holiday cards ($15.95)--designed by Russian orphans--are used to send children to camp outings.
COMPANY: Erbaorganics
Proceeds from the all-natural beauty line's baby body wash ($13) and baby oil benefit Worldwide Orphans Foundation.
COMPANY: Seoul Identity
Thirty percent of the sales of the "Mom" pendant in Celadon ($30) and other handmade jewelry goes to adoption organizations.

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