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Video: Holiday gifts that give back

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    >>> that help those in need.

    >> announcer: "today's holiday gift guide" is brought to you by target. expect more. pay less.

    >>> this morning on "today's holiday gift guide," gifts that give back. if you're stumped on what to buy your friends who have just about everything, we've got some unique ideas that go a long way in helping others. "today's style" editor bobbie thomas is here to show us some of her favorites. bobbie, good morning.

    >> good morning.

    >> let's start off with what is a great idea. we recently went to a charity event where actress halle berry was hosting it, and she picked her favorite lipstick by revlon , which now is helping give back to the genesee center, which is a cause near and dear to her heart.

    >> yes, you highlighted the genesee center at a segment here on the "today" show --

    >> that help women who are abused, domestic violence abuse.

    >> she's trying to raise her voice about domestic violence . i worked as a rape crisis advocate and counselor early in my career and i realized the power of what a beauty bag can do for a survivor. she can regain her confidence and her courage. and frankly, don't underestimate the power of lipstick. revlon wanted to help halle, and when we spoke to her, we came up with the idea that she would pick up her favorite color, rose and shine. and what's so great about this story is that now $1 from every sale of her favorite lipstick color goes to the genesee center. revlon wanted to commit up to $25,000. and i think that while halle has a very powerful voice --

    >> right.

    >> -- what's great is that you have a powerful voice with your purchasing power .

    >> absolutely.

    >> so, all of these gifts give back and you can use your money this season to not only give your loved ones on your list some love, but spread the cheer for people who are in need.

    >> that's great way to put it. other ideas here, jewelry always a winner.

    >> love jewelry and i love this love bracelet by danielle stevens. it's $66, and 60% of the proceeds go to a charity called comfort zone that helps council grieving children.

    >> great.

    >> great cause. this one by jemma redux is another one of my favorite. celebrities like jessica alba own this necklace. it's america 98. what's great is it comes with a magnet that helps you customize this in a bunch of ways. it's all heart. this is the necklace with 100% of the proceeds going to youth at risk.

    >> 100% if you buy this necklace, goes to a very good cause.

    >> and you'll wear that lots of ways. i love this collection made by female artisans in ecuador, and the artisans are in need and all of the proceeds go back into giving them loans for businesses, school fees, and they even get cash bonuses based on the sales of this collection.

    >> beautiful.

    >> so, this is a really great collection, too.

    >> wonderful. this one, beads for life, we've done a story on them here, and really an incredible cause.

    >> love beads for life. it helps impoverished ugandans, and again, all of the proceeds are invested back into them.

    >> and they make these beads out of paper. they're gorgeous.

    >> from $5 to $30, you can get a fantastic gift for somebody that's unique.

    >> right, absolutely. okay, now, save the children -- oh, cufflinks. every man needs cufflinks.

    >> don't forget the guys. these are by julia fahey and goes to the prostate cancer foundation.

    >> and comes with a mustache. save the children ties are fabulous.

    >> i spotted president clinton wearing one of these, and it's great because there's a world collection that represents different children in need . the children themselves have also designed ties and all the proceeds goes to save the children .

    >> great organization.

    >> unicef, we love unicef and online they have a gift store. i just picked a few items. these frames start at $8 and the candle $12 to $15.

    >> great.

    >> you can do so much, so shop online on these charities' websites, because a lot of them have gift stores like this.

    >> and a great housewarming gift if you're going to a party. now, to teach our children to learn how to love to give back.

    >> i'm a big kid at heart.

    >> yes.

    >> i would love one of these. you can help sponsor a wild place for sierra club starting at $25, and you can get a fuzzy friend from the area that you sponsor. so, you can take your child and go online to teach them a little bit about trying to save endangered place or you can adopt an endangered species from the world wildlife federation, and you'll get, again, a symbolic animal, something like this clown fish that helps the coral reef --

    >> wonderful.

    >> -- or this little guy.

    >> love that. okay, last --

    >> last but not least.

    >> these are incredible cards.

    >> incredible cards. these are handmade by young adults 18 to 24, who unfortunately, have lost both their parents in the crisis in rwanda, and they also support a younger sibling. so, these are cards from africa, $20 for a pack of five or you can start at $4.50 and up for each. really great cause.

    >> beautiful. look at this card right here. oh, my gosh, that's just gorgeous.

    >> all handmade.

    >> bobbie thomas, wonderful, wonderful ideas. thank you so much. by the way, all of these items, more information on them is at our website, todayshow.com. and check out bobbie's column "the buzz" in "in touch weekly."

    >>> coming up next, appetizing appetizers

TODAY contributor
updated 12/15/2009 10:07:30 AM ET 2009-12-15T15:07:30

Choosing gifts that come from the heart can be a challenge, but your friends and family are bound to appreciate a present that supports a heartfelt cause. From philanthropic trinkets and toys to beauty with charitable benefits and accessories that ignite a call to action, these do-good gifts will take care of everyone on your list, in addition to helping those in need.

Bobbie Thomas, TODAY style editor and author of The Buzz column for In Touch Weekly, presents a roundup of charitable gifts.

This is the last time anyone underestimates the power of lipstick! Thanks to Halle Berry’s efforts to raise awareness about domestic violence, Revlon is putting their money where her mouth is. The cosmetics company has committed to donating up to $25,000 to the Jenesse Center, an organization that is close to Berry’s heart. For every Super Lustrous Lipstick sold in her favorite color, Rose & Shine, Revlon will donate $1 to the Jenesse Center ($8; drugstore.com and nationwide retailers). The idea came about at the launch party for celebrity photographer Mark Liddell's book, “Exposed: 10 Years in Hollywood” ($30, barnesandnoble.com), which will also benefit the Jenesse Center, along with The Trevor Project, a crisis prevention helpline.

And cult-favorite beauty brands Kiehl’s and Smashbox are giving back in more ways than one this year. The gift of smooth skin has never been more rewarding, as Kiehl’s Limited Edition Crème de Corps collection will benefit RxArt, while all proceeds from their Hand Care for a Cure product will go to amfAR ($12.50-$70; kiehls.com). Meanwhile, for every palette purchased from their new Wish Collection, Smashbox is donating $1 to the Children’s Miracle Network, a nonprofit organization that helps sick and injured children ($20-$59; smashbox.com).

Show your family and friends exactly how you feel about them with Danielle Stevens’ engraved LOVE bracelet. During the holidays, 60 percent of proceeds from this piece go to Comfort Zone, an organization that councils children who are grieving ($66; daniellestevens.com). And Gemma Redux may be tough on the outside, but on the inside, it’s all heart. Each month, the trendy jewelry company designates one of its celeb-coveted designs, and donates 100 percent of proceeds from the sale of that item to a different charity. In December, charities Youth at Risk and GEMS will benefit from the sale of the customizable Omne necklace ($98-$154; gemmaredux.com).

Image: Huaryruro earrings from The Andean Collection
These huaryruro earrings from The Andean Collection are made from seeds found in the rainforest.

Or, try a trinket that will help to empower women in need. Using seeds as beads, the jewelry from The Andean Collection is made by female artisans in Ecuador, who receive loans, school fees, business training, fair wages and cash bonuses from the collection’s sales ($18-$55; theandeancollection.com). Meanwhile, BeadforLife makes sure that 100 percent of net profits from their sales are invested back into community development projects for impoverished Ugandans trying to improve their lives through the jewelry-making craft. Plus, each piece is made with recycled, colorful paper — helping to prevent environmental degradation ($5-$30; beadforlifestore.org).

And finally, Same Sky’s handblown glass-bead bracelets are crocheted by women in Kigali, Rwanda, who were raped, and as a result, infected with HIV/AIDS during the Rwandan genocide of 1994, and are now struggling to lift themselves out of poverty. The bracelets are beloved by Hollywood celebs like Meryl Streep and Alicia Keys ($150-$175; samesky.com).

Image: Moustache cufflinks in silver
All of the net proceeds from Julia Failey’s moustache cufflinks benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

And don’t forget to let the man in your life know how thankful you are for his health. All proceeds from Julia Failey’s “Mustache Cufflinks” go to benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation ($115; juliafailey.com).

Fashion and home
If you’re looking to splurge on a present this year, why not set your sights on something that helps others, too? During the holidays, 100 percent of all proceeds from Sama Eyewear’s Shadow frame and Heart of Gold frame benefit The Sam Vance Foundation, an organization committed to supporting the fight against drug addiction in youth ($375-$1,500; call 310-271-1734). And if you want to find a handbag that literally lends a helping hand, MadebySurvivors offers bags, wallets, camera cases and more, all of which are made by survivors of human trafficking and slavery. All net profits from the products are reinvested to fight slavery and help survivors build a bright future ($6-$125; store.madebysurvivors.com)

For the working woman or man in your life, give their wardrobe a lift while lifting the spirits of others this season. For every one of her computer bags purchased, Jane Marvel will donate two bags to the nonprofit Dress for Success, which provides professional attire for disadvantaged women ($92; janemarvel.com). And while updating his attire, you can choose from 21 World Collection and 11 Classic Collection ties that benefit Save the Children. The World Collection features prints indigenous to regions where Save the Children works, while the Classic Collection boasts designs by creative kids ($30-$35; savethechildren.org).

Image: Beaded candlestick from UNICEF
Courtesy UNICEF
UNICEF sells cards and gifts like this beaded candlestick for the holiday season.

And for a philanthropic flame or frame that is sure to win any hostess’s heart, look no further than UNICEF. UNICEF Ambassador Lucy Liu hosted the organization’s annual Snowflake Lighting in New York on Nov. 19, and you can give the gift of love and light, too, with UNICEF’s beaded braid candle. Or opt for one of the charity’s classic picture frames ($8-$15; shopcardsandgifts.unicefusa.org).

Kids always love to cuddle with a new stuffed animal, but it will mean even more if their plush toy represents the nature they’re nurturing. Thanks to the Sierra Club’s Wild Places Sponsorships, proceeds from the purchase of your child’s fuzzy friend will benefit a national park where that animal can be found (sponsorships listed at $25 and up; sierraclub.org/wildplaces). Or, adopt a polar bear, panda, koala, dolphin or other endangered species through the World Wildlife Foundation, and get a symbolic stuffed animal to give as part of the adoption kit ($50 and up; worldwildlife.org/giving).

And finally, take a good look at the kid’s gifts on www.givewink.com. For every $100 spent on the site, a child in need gets an eye exam and glasses. Choose from an assortment of presents such as puzzles, toys, books and backpacks for your little one to enjoy, and know that your gift gives back to other kids, too. Last month more than 300 children in Colombia were given the gift of improved sight, and this spring Wink hopes to provide eye care to at least 500 children worldwide ($16 and up; givewink.com).


These cards are handmade from young adults 18-24, who were orphaned by the 1994 Rwandan genocide and diseases like AIDS and malaria. Each of the cardmakers have lost both parents and support at least one younger sibling. Working for Cards From Africa gives these young adults and opportunity to provide food, shelter, health care and education for their siblings. Through these jobs, Cards from Africa is breaking the cycle of poverty. ($4.50 and up; cardsfromafrica.com)

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints


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