We're fans of gifts that do double duty. And, especially during the holidays, they're easy to find: appealing gifts that'll make your loved ones happy and, at the same time, do a bit to help someone else. Each time you purchase one of these soft scarves, tasty brownies or kitschy toys, a portion of your purchase goes toward a charity, a good cause or an organization that helps people in need. It helps balance out just a bit of the crazy Christmas consumerism. So today, check out some of our favorite gifts that let you give ... and give back.
That warm and fuzzy feeling
The gift: Fort Worth Zoo animal adoption package, $40-$65
The source: The Fort Worth Zoo, which uses animal "adoption" to help feed and care for its animals.
The deal: Nonmembers have two packages to choose from. With the Jungle Bells package, $40, you get an animal carrier box filled with an adoption certificate, a photo and fact sheet about your animal, a zoo newsletter and a snuggly 12-inch soy plush animal. If you spring for the Santa Claws package, $65, you get all of the above plus a couple of zoo passes.
Also available: You can choose which animal to adopt: the Asian elephant, the North American river otter or the black bear.
For stylish souls
The gift: Hand-knit wool pom-pom scarf, $275
The source: Women for Women International, an organization that helps women in war-torn countries learn job skills to become self-sufficient. The Kate Spade/Women for Women International Hand in Hand program offers a small line of Kate Spade products made by these women.
The deal: Several Kate Spade accessories -- you can find 'em on the website -- are made by women in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Afghanistan, Kosovo and other countries. In return for beautiful products, the company provides the women with training, fair wages and a dependable income.
Also available: 14-karat gold plated bangle bracelet, $48; wool tiger-print mittens, $95
Join the kids club
The gift: Ceramic Japanese woodblock-pattern coasters, four for $18
The source: UNICEF United States Fund
The deal: Besides accepting donations, UNICEF also sells a selection of gifts and cards; each purchase helps UNICEF programs for kids around the world.
Also available: embroidered wrap made in Afghanistan, $60; Indian beaded ornaments, 3 for $18
The gift: Heart of the Season cranberry shampoo, shower gel and bubble bath, $20 for a 16-ounce bottle
The source: Philosophy
The deal: 100 percent of net proceeds will be donated to the Joyful Heart Foundation, actress Mariska Hargitay's organization founded to help victims of -- and raise awareness about -- sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse.
Also available: Philosophy also sells Joyful Heart shower gel (16 ounces, $20) and Joyful Heart body lotion (16 ounces, $24)
Pretty and inspiring
The gift: Turquoise tagua bracelet, $16.99 (Tagua jewelry is made from tagua seeds; they come from the pods of the ivory-nut palm, which grows in the Colombian rain forest.)
The source: Hope for Women
The deal: Hope for Women is a Vermont-based organization that sells cards, jewelry and home decor made by women artisans all over the world. The women are paid a fair wage for their work and the products they provide, which helps them become self-sufficient.
Also available: bead-style bracelet, $17.99; tagua necklace, $39.95
A familiar recipient
The gift: Rubik's cube clock, $18
The source: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
The deal: 100 percent of the proceeds will go directly to the Memphis children's hospital and research center.
Also available: Juicy Couture gumball machine, $24.99; Tea Forté tea chest, $44
World of good
The gift: Carved wood labyrinth game, $12.50
The source: SERRV International, an organization that was founded in 1949, originally to help refugees in post-World War II Europe.
The deal: SERRV sells a huge selection of products created by artisans and farmers all over the world, including basket makers in rural Rwanda, knitters in Peru and cashew farmers in Honduras. There are even a couple of partners in the United States that help women and Native American tribes. SERRV pays a fair wage and offers training and financial support to help these tiny businesses survive.
Also available: Messenger bag crafted from recycled rice sacks, $32; hand-stitched felt snowflake table runner, $44
(Be)Cause you care
The gift: Humanity for All leather vintage wrap-around bracelet, $32
The source: Presents for Purpose
The deal: When you purchase this bracelet, $1 goes to Children Uniting Nations, a nonprofit that provides mentoring to at-risk and foster youth. When you order other gifts, varying amounts are donated to other causes, including the American Red Cross, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the American Cancer Society.
Also available: leather-trimmed travel backgammon game, $55; silver-plated wine stopper, $24
Toast with the most
The gift: "Silver & Sensational" gift basket, $60. Includes a bottle of ONEHOPE Arroyo Seco Reserve Pinot Noir and an assortment of cheese, crackers, chocolate and cookies.
The source: ONEHOPE Wine, a company founded by a group of friends in 2007. ONEHOPE donates 50 percent of its profits to specified partner charities. Causes include autism, AIDS, breast cancer, the environment, U.S. troops and children's hospitals.
The deal: You can buy wine by the bottle, but ONEHOPE also offers gift packages. When you check out, you see exactly how many dollars will be donated -- and you get to direct a portion of the donation to the cause of your choice.
Also available: Besides individual bottles of wine, ONEHOPE sells several gift baskets and wooden gift boxes, $120, that contain five bottles of wine.
Filling and fulfilling
The gift: Peppermint brownies, $24 a dozen
The source: Baking for Good
The deal: You order baked goods of all kinds; 15 percent of every purchase is donated to a good cause you select when you check out. Causes include the American Cancer Society, First Book, the Gulf Coast Fund and the ASPCA.
Also available: Individually wrapped and decorated gingerbread men, $30 a dozen; cranberry orange shortbread cookies, $20 for two dozen
Alyson Ward, 817-390-7988