Some gifts give, then give again. Here are some gifts that help support philanthropies or those in need with their purchase:
The gift of a goat ($120, or share a goat for $10, Heifer International) is one way this charitable organization promotes its mission of helping families worldwide struggle out of poverty and become self-sufficient. A financial contribution enables Heifer to provide animals and training to people in places such as Zambia, Albania, China and Peru. The gift recipient receives a colorful card explaining Heifer's work.
The "Green Vines" Outdoor Recycled Blanket ($79, Blue Lotus) is made from recycled plastic soda bottles. This family-run company that specializes in sustainable goods says 18 one-liter bottles go into each of its blankets, which are made with soft fleece on one side and water-resistant nylon on the other. The company says it donates to marine-life causes, such as the Sea Turtle Restoration Project in Forest Knolls, Calif.
The Three Soup Gourmet Food Bundle ($18.75, Women's Bean Project) is one of the many food items sold online by this Denver nonprofit that tries to break the cycle of poverty by employing women in its gourmet foods business.
The Freedom Trees Jute Tote ($22, WorldofGood.com and other online retailers) helps the women in North Calcutta, India, who make the bags to help make a living. Sold by Karma Market Boutique on this new eBay online marketplace, each eco-friendly bag comes with a tag that explains its story.
The Bicycle Chain Menorah ($24, Ten Thousand Villages) gives an eco-twist to Hanukkah. Artists in India fashion these menorahs out of recycled bicycle parts for this free-trade retailer with more than 160 stores in the United States and Canada.
The Side-Zip Mat Bag ($38, One Mango Tree) is made by seamstresses in Northern Uganda. The small, fair-trade business launched by an American woman and a Ugandan seamstress has expanded to include 27 tailors in just one year. One Mango Tree also sells purses, neckties and kitchen items to help lift people in conflict-torn regions out of poverty.
These jeans, called "Boot Cut in Raw" ($99, Good Society), are made by this 1-year-old label, the creation of a band of college friends who say they make fairly traded, organic, eco-friendly jeans and T-shirts at the factory they built near Delhi, India. Good Society's profits are helping build a Delhi orphanage launched by a partner's relative.
The porcelain Mondo dessert plates or mugs ($50, Rosanna Inc.) come in a set of six, each with a different, graphic design. The company says it donates 5 percent of the sales profits from this collection to Doctors Without Borders, an international, humanitarian-aid group.
uThe "Give The Way You Live" canvas tote ($10, west elm) is available at the retailer's 34 U.S. stores while supplies last. (It's not sold online.) Half of the purchase price of each bag will be donated to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., the company says.
Adopt a blue-footed booby ($50 to $100, World Wildlife Fund) and your gift recipient receives a small plush replica of this South American bird. This popular program, which generated more than $1 million for WWF last year, includes more than 90 animals that can be symbolically adopted.