Shopping with a distinct purpose wraps a special layer of meaning around a gift. As holiday preparations continue, consider purchasing items that benefit charity groups, nonprofits or foundations to further spread seasonal cheer. We’ve put together some suggestions for presents with a presence — check out some of these gifts that give back:

AREA ORGANIZATIONS

Atlanta BeltLine

The development of the BeltLine finally connects the many neighborhoods of the city in a manner that’s both environmentally and aesthetically pleasing. This will be a hallmark detail of the community, with no end to the possibilities for areas boosted by its proximity. Spread the love with gifts that support this transformation of our urban setting. shop.beltline.org

Support the development of the Atlanta BeltLine project with merchandise from their online shop: performance cap, $25; logo/map shirts, $20; landmark coaster sets, $40. Image credit Atlanta BeltLine

Support the development of the Atlanta BeltLine project with merchandise from their online shop: performance cap, $25; logo/map shirts, $20; landmark coaster sets, $40. Image credit: Atlanta BeltLine

Atlanta Community Food Bank

Now we’re cooking … with Simple Abundance cooking classes benefiting ACFB. Held monthly at Cook’s Warehouses around the city, Simple Abundance classes allow students to learn from some of the city’s leading chefs. Visit the acfb.org site to purchase a gift certificate for $55, $65 or $75 for one of these incredibly popular sessions. Also supporting the food bank is Rumson Gifts, maker of luxury gift baskets, which donates 10 percent of every December gift basket purchase to ACFB — use the code “food bank” when ordering. Learn more at rumsongifts.com.

Gift Certificates for Simple Abundance cooking classes offer up an opportunity to learn from premier local chefs while benefitting the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Image credit ACFB.

Gift certificates for Simple Abundance cooking classes offer an opportunity to learn from top local chefs while benefitting the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Image credit: ACFB

Trees Atlanta

Part of our amazing local landscape is the urban forest that keeps Atlanta green. Trees Atlanta is committed to preserving that urban forest through conservation, education and expansion. Through countless projects and programs, Trees Atlanta keeps the city strongly rooted and reaching new heights of environmental beauty. Share in the effort by sending a Holiday Tree Greeting — a $25 donation sends a lovely card informing the recipient that a tree will be planted in their honor as part of the Trees Atlanta NeighborWoods program. Learn more at treesatlanta.org.

Purchase a Holiday Tree Greeting for $25 and Trees Atlanta will plant something in the recipient's name. Image credit Trees Atlanta

Purchase a Holiday Tree Greeting for $25, and Trees Atlanta will plant something in the recipient’s name. Image credit: Trees Atlanta

Zoo Atlanta

Give the gift of wild excitement! Zoo Atlanta‘s herded up a variety of gift options as part of their Season of Giving promotion, from annual membership deals to merchandise discounts to sponsoring an animal.  What about a once-in-a-lifetime adventure? Zoo Atlanta offers gift certificates from some of its popular experience packages, such as NightCrawlers overnight stays, Keeper for a Day, Safari Day Camp and Wild Encounters animal interactions. Visit zooatlanta.org for details.

Flock to the ZooAtlanta website for litter of wild gifts that benefit Zoo project. Image credit ZooAtlanta.org

Flock to the ZooAtlanta website for a litter of wild gifts benefiting zoo projects. Image credit: ZooAtlanta.org

FAIR TRADE & SPECIALTY ITEMS

Freedom In Fashion

A local initiative employing marginalized women in Atlanta, Freedom In Fashion teaches participants the creative skills needed to produce a host of lovely items. Profits are reinvested back into the business, as well as into programs that also serve this group of women, including Beloved Atlanta and 7 Bridges. This Comfy Infinity scarf ($44) begs to be snuggled … and by the way, have you watched the weather trends lately? Looks like this winter’s blowing in plenty of snuggle weather. Visit freedominfashion.com to learn more.

This Comfy Infinity Scarf ($44) should keep you fashionably warm during the winter months. Image credit Freedom In Fashion

This Comfy Infinity scarf ($44) should keep you fashionably warm during the winter months. Image credit: Freedom In Fashion

Ornaments4Orphans

Use a holiday tradition to bless children around the globe. Ornaments4Orphans sells unique decorations made by global artisans through fair-trade practices that ultimately empower struggling communities. The variety of ornaments inspires precious swapping with friends, and the hand-carved nativity sets evoke a rustic beauty that seems reflective of that first Christmas in the stable. Learn more at ornaments4orphans.org.

The hand-carved jacaranda nativity from Rwanda shows a scene of reverent simplicity and beauty, $60. Image credit Ornaments4Orphans

The hand-carved Jacaranda Wood Nativity Hut from Rwanda shows a scene of reverent simplicity and beauty, $60. Image credit: Ornaments4Orphans

How sweet are the glass-bead angel ornaments? Order a bunch and tie them to those holiday treat bags, $12/each. Image credit Ornaments4Orphans

How sweet are the glass-bead angel ornaments? Order a bunch, and tie them to those holiday treat bags. $12 each. Image credit: Ornaments4Orphans

Plywood People Terminus collection bags

Named for the original moniker of Atlanta, the Terminus bags ($79) are constructed of sturdy canvas, lined with upcycled billboard materials and securely riveted leather straps — handmade by refugees living in the Clarkson area of the city. Plywood People is a local organization of social entrepreneurs dedicated to creating change through mentoring and small business initiatives. Check out their online shop at plywoodpeople.com.

Plywood People Terminus Collection totes, $79. Image credit Plywood People

Plywood People Terminus collection totes, $79 | Image credit Plywood People

Purchase Effect

A Georgia-based, fair-trade merchant, the Purchase Effect team travels to the most needy areas of the world, finding products and artisans to merchandise, then donating all proceeds back into those struggling communities. The staggering variety of handmade items available makes picking favorites impossible! The magnificent guitar straps from Guatemala ($42) would be a special gift for a musician, and the purchase benefits an orphanage in Guatemala City. Learn more at purchase effect.org.

Enbroidered guitar strap from Guatemala from Purchase Effect, $42. Image credit Purchase Effect

Embroidered guitar strap from Guatemala from Purchase Effect, $42 | Image credit: Purchase Effect

CHARITY CLICKS

AmazonSmile

Everyone loves the convenience of shopping on Amazon, so work it from the best angle by linking into AmazonSmile and donating a portion of your purchase to the charity of your choice. Pick local, national or international groups to designate as your selected recipient, at no additional cost to you. How ’bout clicking on The Giving Kitchen, then shopping for cookbooks, or checking off Atlanta Humane Society and then buying a new camera for that adorable animal lover learning better photography (purely a hypothetical example … not a subliminal suggestion to anyone at all, nope, not at all *wink*). Charity really DOES begin at home! Learn more at smile.amazon.com.

Fill your basket with good cheer when you shop through the Amazon Smile link. Image credit Amazon Smile

Fill your basket with good cheer when you shop through the Amazon Smile link. Image credit: Amazon Smile

The Giving Seed

Started right here in Atlanta, The Giving Seed connects online shopping baskets with community partners, allowing you to shop and donate simultaneously. Just select the group to which you’d like to donate, then the online store in which you’d like to shop, and a percentage of your purchase will go to that deserving group. For example, pick Dress For Success Atlanta from one column, then click Banana Republic from another and feel great knowing that as you spruce up your own closet, that organization is also getting a boost. Visit thegivingseed.com to get started.

A locally-founded site, The Giving Seed allows shoppers to pick an online store in which to shop, then select a charity for which they'd like a percentage of their purchase to benefit. Image credit The Giving Seed

A locally founded site, The Giving Seed allows shoppers to pick an online store in which to shop, then select a charity for which they’d like a percentage of their purchase to benefit. Image credit: The Giving Seed

Give a holiday hand up when you bestow items from these sources … a little Santa Karma sounds good to us!

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