E-tailers that offer meaningful gifts at reasonable prices

E-tailers that offer meaningful gifts at reasonable prices »Play Video
Here's a different way to spend your holiday gift dollars this year -- shop at online stores that feature feel-good gifts.

This is not the typical year. For a lot of people, flashy has been replaced with practical or personal. The new issue of ShopSmart magazine features a number of online stores that let you spend less on gifts that count more.

First, let's talk about the sites that specialize in fair-trade gifts.

"They're produced by people in developing countries that are paid fairly and treated fairly, and they're also produced in a way that's environmentally responsible," said said ShopSmart's Editor in Chief Lisa Lee Freeman.

And a couple of the Web sites we like for fair trade gifts are OriginalGood.com, which sells all kinds of great jewelry and house wares. A lot of it is like $20 or $30; a lot of it is very reasonably priced.

We also like TheoChocolate.com. They sell, of course, chocolate. The chocolate is doubly nice because not only is it eco-friendly but it also gets a thumbs-up from the expert taste testers at Consumer Reports," And then there are gifts that are fun and eco-friendly. First stop -- FAO.com.

"That's F.A.O. Schwartz, the big toy retailers. They have toys that are sustainably produced and have nontoxic dyes, and they're lovely and reasonably priced.

And we have a site called WestPawDesign.com, which sells gifts for the pets on your list. And they have recycled materials like old cotton sweaters and recycled plastic containers, and things likes that.

For people who have everything, consider giving a gift to someone else in their name through charitable gift sites.
"A couple of sites we like are Kiva.org, and NetworkForGood.org. On NetworkForGood.org you can pick up a gift certificate for as little as $10. The recipient can go to the Web site and choose from over a thousand charities and they decide where the donation goes.

Kiva.Org is great because the recipient gets a gift certificate of $25 or more, whatever you choose, and they get to choose an entrepreneur they want to loan money to in a poor country. And you get updates. And then when the entrepreneur pays you back, you can loan it to somebody else.

And you get updates on the entrepreneur, and when the entrepreneur pays you back, you can loan it to somebody else."

And finally, consider e-tailers that specialize in handmade gifts.

"They're unique. They're very special. Etsy.com is like the world's largest craft fair online. And it's a lot of fun to check it out. And the gifts are great. And in some cases, you can even make special requests to make the gifts really truly personalized.

Just make sure you watch out for shipping charges because all the sites within Etsy might have different shipping policies."

All of these sites have been screened by Consumer Reports Webwatch, an Internet watchdog group, for customer service, privacy and disclosure of important information. So you can feel comfortable visiting them. Maybe this is the year to do something that makes a difference.

More information:

ShopSmart: Feel Good Gifts for Under $50