Gift-giving feels good, and can feel even better if you know your purchase is helping those less fortunate. Luckily, a number of home décor retailers partner with charitable organizations; many do so year round, with additional initiatives during the holiday season.
As you're making your list this year or primping your own home for the holidays, you might consider giving something that not only looks good but supports good works.
At http://www.pillowdreamsproject.com, a fair-trade business started by Denver-based Renee Rietmeijer and Laura Tilley, you'll find silk, cotton or hemp throw-pillow cases from South Africa, Vietnam and Thailand. Prices range from $25 to $40 per case; sales from the Vietnamese ones support KOTO, which provides hospitality work training for homeless teens, while sales from the South African cases benefit the Open Arms orphanage in Malawi.
"Accept and Be" is the sentiment expressed on a limited-edition, graffiti-esque poster printed in pigmented inks and available at CB2 for $16.95, with all sales going to the Trevor Project, a national nonprofit that focuses on suicide prevention among gay youth.
The retailer has been involved for several years with San Francisco's Creativity Explored, a collective of developmentally disabled artists. Each season presents a different collection of home accessories, and this fall there is an interesting variety of soft goods, plates and prints, including Anne Connelly's vibrant, impressionistic "Color Field" rug and Selene Perez' charming trio of owls printed on white cotton velvet. (Rug, $399; pillow, $39.95; http://www.cb2.com).
CB2 also aims to donate 500,000 meals through food banks nationwide this holiday season; each interaction with the retailer, online or in person, with or without a purchase, will count toward the goal.
Rural Peruvian women crafters are supported by Crate & Barrel, which is selling the artisans' winsome holiday ornaments. A trio of plump little penguins or owls ($29.95) and a quartet of woodland creatures ($39.95) are hand-knit from alpaca-blend wool.(http://www.crateandbarrel.com).
For travelers and animal lovers on your list, have a look at Carol Stevenson's hauntingly intimate photographic prints of elephants, taken at a sanctuary in Thailand, at http://www.thetravelerscollection.com. Sales of the signed, numbered, limited-edition works benefit the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation ($1,895 and up).
If you'd like to peruse a larger variety of gifts, check out www.giftsthatgive.com. Hundreds of home décor and design houses, including Jonathan Adler, Simon Pearce, Lily Pulitzer and Michael Aram, are represented on the site, and $1 out of every $5 goes to the cause of your choice -- among them, Cancer Care, Lupus Foundation and Save the Whales.
For a romantic gift, consider a boudoir pillow from Anne Koch's washable silk Braille collection for kumi kookoon; each is embellished with the phrase "I love you" in Braille appliqué, and a percentage of sales goes to the American Foundation for the Blind. ($110-$200, http://www.kumikookoon.com).
At Bloomingdales, celebrities including Diane Von Furstenberg, Kellan Lutz and Matt Lauer have been enlisted to create ornaments benefiting the Child Mind Institute, which focuses on children's mental health. (http://www.bloomingdales.com)