The holidays are quickly approaching.  The expectation is that we bring good tidings and cheer.  For many that means gift giving to special loved ones, friends and co-workers.  Each year I plan to start shopping right after Christmas for the next year.  I always have a plan to enhance that work/life balance…each year my planning falls through.  Typically, I have the best intentions and gift cards are not on my radar.  In the past, I’ve given gift cards and for me that means I’ve settled for practicality and last minute Christmas Eve shopping is off the table.  This year, I’ve decided to shop early and online with a purpose.  Cyber-shopping has allowed me to find items that are not only pretty and practical but purposeful.  Admittedly, the list I’m sharing with you does not compare to “Oprah’s Favorites Things” but it is socially conscious and convenient.  Below you will find 3 great shops for socially conscious gift giving:

Fish Out of Water Career Development Center, Inc (FO2W)                                                                    
As a volunteer for FO2W I am unapologetically biased.  The organization offers apparel through the “Clothing with A Purpose” line.  Current apparel includes socks and camo beanies that make excellent gifts for men or women.   I love their logo.  Proceeds from sales are used to provide scholarships and training to community members navigating career and academic transitions.  Career coaches provide career workshops, job search strategies, and counseling n to the unemployed and underemployed.    Click Here to visit their Etsy Shop
The Shine Project
The Shine Project offers jewelry and apparel designed by first-generation college students.  All proceeds from sales go directly to scholarships for students who will be the first in their families to attend college.  They need the financial support to attend college.  The jewelry is beautiful and hand-crafted.
Based on this site Americans spending over 7 billion dollars in greeting cards a year.  This site directs you to numerous non-profits that sale greeting cards to raise funds to support an array of causes to include autism, hospitals and the arts.  The cards are beautiful and give you the opportunity support a larger cause.

This year choose simplicity and purpose to avoid the stress that is often associated with the holidays.  If you are fortunate enough to have time off from work use that time to rest and enjoy the things and people you love.