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Giving Twice

Thoughtful gifts that benefit charities, education, and research.

The labels on peace candles from Ellie & Friends say 'peaceful coexistence is possible and realistic.' To support that end, proceeds from sales benefit a program in intercommunal coexistence at Brandeis.
The labels on peace candles from Ellie & Friends say "peaceful coexistence is possible and realistic." To support that end, proceeds from sales benefit a program in intercommunal coexistence at Brandeis. (Globe Staff Photo / Dina Rudick)

Somehow not only for Christmas
but all the long year through,
the joy that you give to others
is the joy that comes back to you.

And the more you spend in blessing
the poor and lonely and sad,
the more of your heart's possessing
returns to make you glad.

Holiday wishes for peace on earth and joy to the world often get lost in the race to find the perfect present. There are, however, a number of options that bring added meaning to a thoughtful gift. Here are a few suggestions for gifts that keep giving as their sales benefit charitable groups.


These short pillars ($13.95) of natural beeswax are scented with essential oils of lavender, sage, and mint. Available in purple and sage green, each burns for 20 hours. The vendor, Ellie & Friends, donates its commission ($1.30 per candle) to The Slifka Program in Intercommunal Coexistence at Brandeis University. At The Store at DeCordova, Lincoln, 781-259-8692,;


Soft cotton-knit scarfs ($65) in black, white, and gray benefit girls through The Hunger Project ( The 64-by-5-inch patterned scarfs are machine washable, and $30 from each sale is donated to The Hunger Project. The organization, which supports indigenous people in 8,000 villages worldwide, earmarks the scarf donations for girls. At Perceptions, Concord, 978-371-1139.


Vera Bradley products include cotton handbags, luggage, and accessories ($13 to $126). The New Hope design features pink ribbons to symbolize breast cancer awareness and snowdrops to symbolize renewal on a black background. Last year, Vera Bradley Designs Inc. donated $250,000 to the Vera Bradley Foundation, which supports breast cancer research. At The General Store, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, 617-643-2616,; at The Paper Store's 21 locations, 978-263-2198,; and at other stores;


Inspired by the movie Calendar Girls, this 2006 calendar ($15, plus $3 for shipping) showcases the charms of 12 women, ranging in age from 66 to 85, posing in the buff for color portraits by award-winning photographer Lynne Damianos. All proceeds go to the First Parish church in Framingham. At First Parish church, Framingham, 508-872-3111, and 17 stores in Boston's western suburbs;


Bring a friend a dozen fresh bagels with cream cheese and a holiday basket with either Christmas candy and red and green ribbons or Hanukkah gelt and blue and white gift wrap ($12.99). From each sale, $2.60 benefits The Center for Families at Boston's Children's Hospital. Order at 617-213-8423 and pick up at Finagle a Bagel's 20 locations;


Plant containers such as this Tuscan Urn, fashioned after pots popular in English gardens since the 17th century, come in colors that include eggplant, copper green, and white-washed terra cotta ($6 to $44). The pots are made by craftsmen in Honduras through the Guy Wolff Guild, which improves the standard of living for the potters' families through health benefits and other means. At Derby Farm Flowers & Gardens, Arlington, 781-643-0842,

Sue Davis is a freelance writer. She can be reached at

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