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Dec 16, 2004

Gifts that Keep Giving

by Irene Virag


The malls are alive with the sound of buying, and the pursuit of bargains keeps pace with the pressure of hunting down the season's hottest toy. Sales registers clatter in an ever-increasing frenzy and so do otherwise normal parents and children and husbands and wives caught up in that wild ride known as the holiday shopping season.

Sometimes, we get overwhelmed in the December madness. We get so hooked into the hubbub - crushed in crowds and trapped in traffic attempting to find just the right CDs for dad or gym membership for grandma - that we forget about the true nature of giving.

But take heart, there's another way. You can satisfy your own desires and also find a way to give back - to help others who are in need. The underlying principle was put nicely by St. Francis, who counseled, "For it is in giving that we receive."

One way to do this is to give gifts that keep on giving. You can shop for Aunt Ida and cousin Charlie and still reach out to others - to people who might be struggling. You can do it by picking presents that give a percentage of the price tag to organizations that feed the hungry, minister to the sick, house the poor and the homeless or help abused children.

You can still buy scarves and ornaments and silver boxes and give holiday cards that will delight the people on your gift list and make you feel extra good in the giving. But there's another reason to be jolly - you can aid a cause that might be near and dear to the recipient and to your own heart, too.

In that spirit, we offer our annual gifts for giving guide. Here are some items that you might consider as you check your list. We think of them as gifts that do good, gifts that give twice.


Embrace the world. Novica, in association with National Geographic, offers handmade gifts by artists in Asia, Africa and Latin America who set their own prices so they earn more and customers pay less. The Peace on Earth project highlights handcrafted items with peace themes - such as this piggy bank called "Children Embrace a Peaceful World" that shows youngsters holding hands to hug the Earth. $29 at

Novica.com or 877-266-8422. [PHOTO]

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