The holidays are just around the corner (I know this because I’ve already seen the stores decked out with decorations and heard a few shoppers muttering under their breath about the obnoxious Christmas tunes) and instead of suggesting a million things you could BUY for your loved ones (don’t worry, I’ll get to that next week) today, my gift guide to you is worth much more than an expensive blingy-thing or cheap bauble. Here are five charitable causes that you can give to and one of them won’t even cost you a penny, but they will all make someone’s life a little easier (maybe even your own).

The Shoebox Project

I heard about the Shoebox Project through my friend, Patricia who is coordinating the Montreal project this year. Although it has nothing to do with shoes, it does require a shoebox and here’s how it works: fill a shoebox with little luxury or necessary items that a woman would like and that work out to be a total value of about $50. Think hand or body lotions, mascara, lipstick, nail polish, toothbrushes, mitts, hats, scarves, and other accessories. Gift cards, metro passes and calling cards are great, too. Don’t wrap your box, but drop it off by December 10th at one of the convenient drop-off locations (ex: any Rouge Nail Bar in Montreal) and Patricia and her gang of little elves will wrap and distribute the boxes to various women’s shelters in the city. The holidays can be extremely difficult for the women in these shelters and these gifts make a big difference.

For more info:

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Löle Yellow Label

This one is even easier: take a pre-loved coat or jacket and drop it off at any Löle location and Löle will photograph it and sell it online for a minimum donation of $20. All proceeds of the sale go to the Moisson Montreal food bank. Not only do you make room in your closet – when you drop off your coat – Löle gives you a $50 gift card that you can use to buy a new Löle coat or jacket online or in-store. If you don’t have a coat to give, of course you can shop the fab coats that so many Montrealers have donated. A coat for $20? That feeds people? Now that’s a feel-good deal!

For more info:

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Free The Children’s We Create Change

Save your pennies to save lives. A super simple concept: sign up online to receive a bag designed to hold $25 worth of pennies, fill it with those soon-to-be-phased-out copper coins and when it’s full, drop it off at any RBC bank (by December 21) and Free The Children will be able to provide access to clean water to one person in a developing country for their entire lifetime. Their goal is to provide permanent access to clean water to 100,000 people around the world. No time to round up that many pennies? Then why not just make a $25 donation and change someone’s life?

For more info:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Project K – Speakeasy for Kilema

A prohibition era-inspired evening for a humanitarian cause. Dress like a flapper, sip cocktails and listen to live jazz knowing that the price of your $100 ticket is going to build a laundry facility at the Kilema HIV/AIDS Care and Treatment Center in Tanzania, Africa. Project K (The Kilema Humanitarian Fund, founded in Montreal) assists in providing HIV/AIDS patients at the Kilema CTC with a better quality of life. So, let’s practice our Charleston and meet at the speakeasy in solidarity.

How: Purchase tickets by calling: (514) 827-5624

When: Friday, November 30th 7:30pm – 1am

Where: Usine C – 1345 Avenue Lalonde

For more info about Project K and the event:

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Belvedere (RED)

A vodka that saves children’s lives? I’ll drink to that! This has got to be the easiest way to give to a charity The perfect mix: Belvedere vodka pairs up with (RED) to help the fund reach their goal of eradicating mother-to-child transmission of AIDS. Look for the shiny red bottle at your favourite SAQ – it’s $45.25 – and half of the proceeds from the sale go towards the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in Africa.

For more info about (RED):

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