Sure, you love unwrapping gifts as much as the next person — we do, too. But watching a loved one open the perfect present, courtesy you, ranks among the top warm-fuzzy winter feelings. Kick that charity-inspired cheer up a notch with these gifts that give — and give again.
Buying a suit? Donate a toy
Ken’s Man’s Shop is known for hosting huge fundraisers, donating portions of sales to worthy causes year-round. But come Christmastime, it’s all about the kids as the store begins collecting hundreds of toys for Scottish Rite Hospital. “We focus less on the featuring merchandise and more on the toy drive,” says co-owner Kory Helfman. Established in 1964, Ken’s is an old-fashioned shop for fine men’s clothing and accessories, carrying major brands like Eton, Alberto and Mulholland. So, when you stop in to find a gift for your dapper dad, bring a new and unwrapped toy to add to the collection. On Christmas Eve, the Helfmans deliver the toys to children at the hospital.
Mosaics for Make-a-Wish
To take the stress out of holiday shopping and still knock out a few one-of-a-kind gifts, duck into Smashing Times at Preston and Royal, where you can create handmade decor. The walk-in mosaic studio has projects big and small, starting at $15. With about seven different types of materials and 25 boxes of color variations, you can churn out vases, wall ornaments, decorative furniture — all with that personal touch. “It’s limitless,” says owner Robin Oldham. “We try to keep it fresh.” Each year, the shop hosts a fundraiser for the Make-a-Wish Foundation of North Texas. Stop by Nov. 28-Dec. 11 when 10 percent of sales from all projects benefit the cause. The organization used to pay Smashing Times to create items for its auctions. “I finally was just like, ‘We need to give that to them,’ ” Oldham says. Small projects take about an hour and a half. Be sure to say “hi” to Mini, the lovable shop dog.
Shop the Family Place
The Family Place Resale Shop is stocked with one-of-a-kind gifts just waiting to be uncovered. “We are an above-average resale store,” manager Carla Ochs says. “We are comparable to high-end consignment stores.” The difference here is that everything is donated, and 100 percent of sales go toward helping domestic violence victims begin new lives. “We only accept items that are clean and in good condition. We make sure to keep our inventory not looking like a thrift store — out of respect to the community and out of respect to our clients.” For 30 years, the neighborhood nonprofit has been providing support to domestic violence victims who are forced to leave dangerous homes. Each month, The Family Place helps four to 10 families lease new apartments, beginning with almost no possessions. Clients can shop at the store for free, collecting clothes, furniture, lamps, house wares, décor and other home necessities. Leftover items are sold to the public at discounted prices. Clothing ranges $7-$12, sofas are $150-$300, end tables go for $50-$75. A recent visit yielded a cherry wood crib without a scratch on it for just $150 and a perfectly functional Baldwin piano for $275. The store is volunteer-powered with only two full-time employees. “Our first priority is to provide clothing and resources for our clients,” Ochs says.
Beads for Ugandans
Just one look at the disease and devastation in Uganda, Africa, can be overwhelming, says Preston Hollow resident Annie Mack. “We had no idea. There’s a lot of poverty, and a lot of it was sad.” But Mack and her boyfriend, Jeff Hawkins, found a way to make a difference. In June 2009, the two launched UgaBeads, purchasing handmade jewelry from Ugandan women. One hundred percent of sales benefit the organization Empower African Children, which builds schools for orphans. It all started when Mack and Hawkins embarked on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Kampala, Uganda, with EAC. There, they met a woman who creates and sells beads made from recycled paper. They decided to support her business, buying large quantities to sell back home. Now they work with 30 to 40 women, most of whom are HIV-positive. The women work full-time making beads, which is better than most other jobs available in the town. “What we’re trying to do is create a work-from-home situation where women can have their children with them,” Mack says. “It’s a social thing for them. It’s communal. It’s fun.” UgaBeads also has participated in fundraisers through partnerships with local private schools such as The Shelton School, Greenhill School and Southern Methodist University. UgaBead jewelry includes necklaces, bracelets, rosaries and cuffs in different colors. Although the operation is small, the impact is real. The funds helped one Ugandan woman receive medical care after her husband died of AIDS, and she later learned that she and her youngest child also have the disease. “We’re just taking one small step at a time, and being patient,” Mack says. UgaBeads are available A and at Kid Biz, 8408 Preston Center.
Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics inside NorthPark Center features the Charity Pot Body Lotion ($21.95) made with Fair Trade and organic cocoa butter. All proceeds benefit more than 100 different animal rights, environmental and humanitarian charities, including Fundy Bay Keeper, Odd Squad, Camp Summit and Reach for the Rainbow. 8687 N. Central, 214.696.5874
Facelogic Spa offers its Spa for a Cause package ($119), which benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The deal includes a dermaplane treatment, a 50-minute massage, image Vitamin C or Ormedic organic peel, airbrush tan, lash extension fill (20 lashes per eye), a body wax for any area, a body peel for the upper or lower body and makeup application. Twenty dollars from each package sold goes toward the cause. 4518 Lovers, 214.696.3223
North Haven Gardens carries a Garden for a Cause line of pink gardening tools, including gloves, knee pads, mini forks, water wands and trowels. Ten percent of net proceeds benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation. 7700 Northaven, 214.363.5316
Build-a-Bear Workshop inside NorthPark Center features several stuffed animals that benefit a variety of causes. One dollar of each sale of the Fennec Fox ($25) goes to the World Wildlife Fund to protect endangered animals. The Read Teddy ($18) and Champion Fur Kids ($18) bears support the Build-a-Bear Workshop Bear Hugs Foundation for literacy, health and wellness. 8687 N. Central, 214.987.1624
Sprinkles launches its Treats for Toys Drive Dec. 5-18. Bring in a new and unwrapped toy, and receive a free cupcake of your choice — a small but thoughtful gift for that person with a sweet tooth. All toys received from the drive go to Children’s Medical Center. 4020 Villanova, 214.369.0004
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Preston Hollow.