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What gives: 18 gift ideas that give back to charity

An exchange of presents can accomplish more than maintaining the holiday tradition of giving and receiving. Odessa Paloma Parker shops for the season’s best gifts, which are equal parts charitable and chic


The natty leather strap and stately Roman numerals of the De Ville Prestige Orbis watch may have decidedly grown-up appeal, but this offering from Omega has a whimsical side as well. A teddy bear motif can be found on the timepiece's moody blue lacquered background, a nod to the brand's donations to patients of Orbis International and its Flying Eye Hospital. $4,050 through

GIVE BACK A portion of proceeds from the sale of the De Ville Orbis funds the work of Orbis International, an non-profit organization that provides eye care worldwide.

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Developed by ReThink Breast Cancer, the Give-A-Care campaign aims to provide unique and necessary items to young women with breast cancer. Toronto-based art-focused brand Nuvango collaborated on a locally made striped scarf; other goods include lip balm, a water bottle and hand cream for sensitive skin. Create a care package to give to someone you know who needs a boost this season. $60 through

GIVE BACK One hundred per cent of proceeds go to ReThink Breast Cancer's education, support and research initiatives.


Decadent viscous liquids are all the rage in skincare, and The Body Shop's newest drop uses seed oils of black cumin, camellia and rosehip to fortify its lightweight hydrating formula. The seed oils are cold-pressed to preserve their potency, making them the ideal winter skin treatment. $44 at The Body Shop (

GIVE BACK With each purchase, The Body Shop restores one square metre of rainforest land through its Bio-Bridges program.


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Quebec-based retailer Simons has created three T-shirts emblazoned with sign language as part of its youth-centric Twik line that will benefit La Fondation Sourdine, a non-profit organization that raises funds to support the Oraliste School of Quebec – the only school in North America that provides specialized instruction to deaf and hearing-impaired children in French. $29 each at Simons (

GIVE BACK $5 from each shirt is donated to La Fondation Sourdine.


Worn by Sophie Gregoire Trudeau during Vancouver's Pride parade this past summer, C4 Eyewear's Grace sunglasses are handmade from Italian-designed acetate and boast bright blue lenses that offer 100-per-cent UV protection and are scratch resistant. The modernized cat-eye style was created in collaboration with B.C.-born style personality Susie Wall. $145 through

GIVE BACK $5 from every C4 Eyewear purchase is donated to Vancouver's Cause We Care Foundation, which assists local single mothers in need.


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London-based Rosa & Clara Designs teamed with The Working Well Trust to create this chipper cushion that features a feather inner. £45 through

GIVE BACK The cushions are sewn by clients of the charity, which supports people with mental-health issues who are seeking to return to employment.


As a global ambassador against hunger for the United Nations World Food Program, Michael Kors has developed the World Hunger Stop collection, which includes a special-edition activity tracker that features rose-gold-toned hardware. It keeps up with your routine including counting steps taken, hours of sleep and other daily goals. $175 through

GIVE BACK For every tracker sold, the World Food Program will donate 100 meals to children in need.


Founded in 2013, Norquay Co.'s dedication to the great Canadian outdoors has resulted in the launch of a collection of novel paddles and other camping gear. The new Gichigami style is made from solid cherry wood and features a vibrant graphic that would definitely catch the eye of fellow canoers. $385 through

GIVE BACK Sale proceeds are donated to the Nature Conservancy Great Lakes Project, which works to improve and manage the water quality of the Great Lakes and its surrounding land.


Recently released in anticipation of World AIDS Day, GAP's eye-catching collection of unisex jackets feature the work of international female artists including Kelsey Montague, AIKO and a crochet-embellished style by polish-born Olek (shown). $318 ($198 for alternative styles) at GAP (

GIVE BACK A portion of the proceeds are donated to (RED) to fund initiatives that fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria worldwide.


This swish Indego Africa dish is made from sweetgrass and sisal and can double as a wall hanging. $75 through

GIVE BACK Based in New York, the organization partners with women in Rwanda and Ghana to create housewares, accessories and garments that help keep the traditions of craft alive in their communities and provide an income to their families.


Based in Fredericton, N.B., Wear Your Label creates social-media worthy slogan clothing and accessories that challenge and start conversations about the stigma of mental illness. The brand was recognized in 2014 by the Canadian Mental Health Association as being Champions of Mental Wellness. $36.40 through

GIVE BACK Ten per cent of profits are donated to mental-health initiatives.


As recycling capabilities have diminished, over 71 million bottles are dumped into Syrian landfills per year. These sleek canisters are made by Syrian refugee women working with distributor Gyalpa, and are fashioned out of bottles from area restaurants and bars.

$19.95-$69.95 through

GIVE BACK Gyalpa purchases products from artisans in Syria, distributing the profits directly to NGOs, producers in war-torn countries, or refugee camps in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.


As part of their H Project haul this year, Holt Renfrew sourced knit dolls handmade with hypoallergenic materials in Peru. The purchase of Cuddle+Keep's Maximus the Cat (as well as a few other furry friends) helps provide meals to children in need through partnerships with the United Nations World Food Program USA and others, with the goal of providing one million meals per year. $65 at Holt Renfrew (

GIVE BACK The sale of one doll purchases 10 meals for children in need.


Vivid reclaimed saris give this handmade duvet a bright touch. Each blanket is made by artisans through Sacred Mark, a workshop based in Bangladesh that employs women who have escaped the sex trade. $249 at Ten Thousand Villages (

GIVE BACK Sacred Mark is run by Pokritee, an organization that provides jobs for women and educational opportunities for their children.


For the second year, Saje Wellness has teamed up with Vancouver artist Dana Mooney to create a limited-edition aromaArt diffuser. Boasting 20 to 25 hours of running time, the scent-emitting orb can be used with the brand's classic diffuser blends or with the newly launched companion collection, which includes Liquid Sunshine (grapefruit, lime and bergamot) and Tranquility (Roman chamomile, lavender and Ylang Ylang). $84.95 at Saje Natural Wellness (

GIVE BACK Sale proceeds will be donated to VIBE Arts, an organization that provides free arts education to youth in Toronto's most under-resourced communities.


CB2 and non-profit organization People of the Sun have collaborated to produce a hand-woven wall hanging made of palm leaves, created in Malawi and reflective of the country's traditional basketry skills. $189 at CB2 (

GIVE BACK The makers are supported in developing a sustainable business that provides for themselves, and raises the regional standard of living.


Made in New York City and free of alcohol and formaldehyde, GIVESCENT's bold fragrances are a blend of pure oils; the Green scent includes notes of bergamot, lemon and mint. Founder Elena Brower, a yoga and meditation instructor, was inspired to create scents after a two-year stint in Italy. $49 (U.S.) through

GIVE BACK $2.45 from each purchase is donated to Women for Women International, which supports female survivors of war by providing them with resources and tools to become self-sufficient.


Toronto-based Bustle has teamed with the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research to create a line of quirky socks in patterns ranging from pop-art graphics to bold plaids. The styles also come in a gift box of three, which includes a card challenging the receiver to "pay it forward" by gifting someone else with the natty designs. $15 each or box of 3 for $48 through

GIVE BACK Net proceeds from sales of Safe Sox are donated to CANFAR, which funds AIDS/HIV research and educational programs.

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