5 fashionable gift ideas that support worthy causes in Vancouver and beyond

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      During a time of year saturated with so much excess, it’s natural to want to give back to your community or those in need. And while volunteering your time and donating in-demand goods are no-brainer moves, you can also pay it forward by shopping charitably for the names on your Nice list.

      Below is a roundup of philanthropic gifts for your favourite fashionistas—each one benefits a worthy cause, from supporting single moms in the city to ensuring counselling services for kids.


      C4 Eyewear

      Eye spy

      C4 Eyewear and local stylist Susie Wall’s Grace sunnies ($145) may have received a hefty boost when Sophie Grégoire Trudeau was spotted sporting a pair in this year’s Vancouver Pride Parade, but let’s be real: with their subtle cat-eye shape, luxe hardware, and reflective ocean-blue lenses, these babies sell themselves.

      Those familiar with Canadian Creative Collaborative for Charity—one of two benevolent names under the Claudia Alan label—will know that purchase of the shades does good, too. Five dollars from each sale benefits the Cause We Care Foundation, a local nonprofit that issues food, supplies, and emergency funding for struggling single mothers and their children.

      Find the glasses online and at Nordstrom (799 Robson Street).


      Obakki Foundation

      That's a wrap

      Since 2005, Vancouver’s Obakki Foundation has built or restored over 850 water wells in South Sudan through its Scarves for Water program, and this holiday you can help raise that number.

      All proceeds from the organization’s signature modal scarves ($29 each)—now available in six snazzy new shades, such as a serene, blue-washed print, and hazy lavender—provide fresh drinking water in various Sudanese villages.

      Once 500 wraps are sold in a certain hue, a well is drilled and the colour is retired. Consider it a limited-edition, feel-good gift for the guy or girl who has it all.

      Find the scarves online and at Holt Renfrew (737 Dunsmuir Street).


      Smash + Tess


      Ensure your favourite gals feel comfy and chic on Christmas morning with Smash + Tess’s holiday nighties ($68 each). Designed and made ethically in North America using an ultra-soft bamboo-blend jersey, the oversized, plum-hued Ts feature cheeky phrases like “Santa’s bae” and “Santa… I can explain.”

      Best of all, $10 from each one sold until December 10 will be donated to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, which offers shelter, support services, and other necessities to women seeking refuge from poverty and violence in Canada’s poorest postal code.

      It’s an especially important cause given the financial difficulties many of them face during the holiday season.

      Find the nighties online.


      Me to We

      Wrist talk

      No matter the time of year, you can count on Holt Renfrew’s H, or humanity, health, and habitat, Project to serve up a stylish range of socially conscious and responsibly made goods.

      The department’s Uncrate South America lineup for fall/winter, however, is extra special: each item is lovingly handcrafted by artisans from as far away as Colombia, Panama, and Peru. We love Me to We’s straw pompom tassel bracelet ($32), which highlights the weaving traditions of indigenous groups in Ecuador.

      Dipped in a dreamy palette of blues and pinks and decorated with a fuzzy tassel, each piece provides water, food, or health and education opportunities to those in developing countries.

      Find it at Holt Renfrew and Indigo (various locations).



      Sock it to me

      As a kid, a pair of socks was probably the worst present you could find under the tree. But as you grow older, you begin to appreciate the practicality of such gifts, if only because they save you from spending your hard-earned cash on something so painfully mundane.

      Not that Bootlegger’s plush slipper socks ($10 a pair) should be reserved for grownups: the adorable stockings—available in snowman, reindeer, and teddy-bear variations—will undoubtedly speak to tots, while adults will take pride in the fact that one dollar from every pair sold goes directly to Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868).

      Find them at Bootlegger (various locations).

      Follow Lucy Lau on Twitter @lucylau.