Holidays in the ‘Burgh

A Pittsburgh gift guide for people who want to do good with good gifts

Here are 10 ideas that’ll help make the city better.

Call it the holiday shopper’s conundrum: How do you indulge in the season of giving but stay true to its meaning? How can we give with greater purpose, and how can we give while also giving back?

Call it the holiday shopper’s conundrum: How do you indulge in the season of giving but stay true to its meaning? How can we give with greater purpose, and how can we give while also giving back?

FLICKR / MINGUSMUTTER
colin-square-crop

Call it the holiday shopper’s conundrum: How do you indulge in the season of giving but stay true to its meaning? How can we give with greater purpose, and how can we give while also giving back?

I, too, have felt the existential pangs that come with standing in line at Target, the legs of my cart bowing under a shipping container’s worth of well-intentioned but ultimately expendable offerings.

And I’ve told myself repeatedly that this is simply what the modern holiday era looks like. But it doesn’t have to.

For proof, look no further than the following gift guide for Pittsburghers who want to give good gifts that also do good things. These gift suggestions — and this is by no means a definitive list — include those that directly contribute to worthy causes and those that allow you to contribute to worthy causes in the course of your regularly scheduled seasonal shopping.

It’s the best of both worlds, a holiday and spiritual win-win-win or what Charles Dickens writing for BuzzFeed might call “a dope AF life hack to make your holidays actually merry and bright.”


Shop

National Council of Jewish Women Pittsburgh’s Thriftique

Why: All store proceeds benefit the National Council of Jewish Women Pittsburgh.

What: Clothing, accessories and home furnishings

Where: 125 51st Street (Lawrenceville)

When: Monday – Friday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ten Thousand Villages

Why: The store operates with fair trade and fair wage practices for artists in developing countries in mind. Proceeds from the goods sold in the store go to support a living wage for the artists and artisans behind those products.

What: Home decor, jewelry, toys and musical instruments

Where: 5820 Forbes Ave. (Squirrel Hill)

When: Monday – Thursday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday: Noon to 4 p.m.

Ujamma Collective boutique

Why: This artisan boutique helps support the work of the Ujamma Collective, a nonprofit that supports black women entrepreneurs and the overall health and wellbeing of the Hill District community.

What: Jewelry, clothing and fabric, home decor and fine art

Where: 1901 Center Ave. (Hill District)

When: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Three wine glasses will fit atop these 130 year-old terra cotta tiles from the roof of Pittsburgh’s historic Allegheny County Courthouse.

Three wine glasses will fit atop these 130 year-old terra cotta tiles from the roof of Pittsburgh’s historic Allegheny County Courthouse.

Courtesy of Allegheny County

Wendell August Forge, Allegheny County Courthouse Collection

Why: Proceeds benefit the Allegheny County Parks Foundation.

What: Wendell August Forge transformed original tiles from the Allegheny County Courthouse, removed as part of a restoration effort, and made them into calendars, beer flight carriers, candle holders, wine trays and wall hangings.

Where: Online

When: Anytime

ReStore – Habitat for Humanity

Why: Proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity.

What: Appliances, furniture, building materials and more

Where: 1913 Monongahela Ave. (Swissvale)

When: Tuesday – Friday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Books

City of Asylum Books

Why: Support the nonprofit City of Asylum as it provides sanctuary for exiled writers from other countries.

What: Books. Lots of books.

Where: 40 W. North Ave. (North Side)

When: Tuesday – Saturday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“My Place in the World”

Why: A portion of the proceeds from sales will go to support The Women & Girls Foundation.

What: “My Place in the World” is a book that comes at a pivotal moment in women’s history in America. The work of illustrator Liz Beatty and Aryanna Berringer, an Iraq war veteran who recently ran for lieutenant governor, the book follows the adventures of Atlee as “she marches in her yellow boots to the tallest mountains, deepest seas, and even the White House to discover her place in the world.”

Where: Online

When: Anytime


Gift cards

The Pittsburgh Foundation’s Charitable Gift Cards

Why: Charitable giving made super easy

What: A charitable gift card that allows recipients to direct funding to the charity or charities of their choice

Where: Online

When: Anytime


Art

Autism Draws

Why: Own original artwork by local artist Jarrod Edson with 10 percent of the proceeds donated to The Children’s Institute and The Friendship Circle. Edson, a 19-year-old on the autism spectrum and a previous Who’s Next honoree, said he chose those groups because of the strong influence they had on his life.

What: Original and whimsical pencil-on-paper drawings which are then scanned, digitized and colorized.

Where: Online

When: Anytime


Honorary/ Memorial Gifts

Women’s Center & Shelter

Why: Support programs for women and children in need, including a 24-Hour crisis hotline, emergency shelter and housing assistance, individual crisis counseling, legal and personal advocacy, support groups and a children’s program.

What: Donations and monetary gifts made to The Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh in honor or memory of loved ones.

Where: Online

When: Anytime


Greeting cards

Yinzer Cards

Why: A portion of proceeds benefits Animal Friends.

What: Cartoonist Rob Rogers and radio personalities Jim Krenn and Larry Richert have helped produce four new cards that are available for the holidays, including a classic PennDOT jab: “Rudolph with yer nose so bright … won’t yinz help me close dahn the Liberty Tubes tonight?”

Where: Cards are available online or at Giant Eagle stores.

When: Online anytime. For in-person purchases, see the hours of your local Giant Eagle.

Milk, cookies, and a parking space.

Milk, cookies, and a parking space.

Courtesy of Yinzer Cards

Good coffee

Curly Tail Coffee

Why: It’s delicious — but also a portion of the proceeds from each bag is donated to an animal rescue cause.

What: Coffee, of course.

Where: Brick-and-mortar retailers here. Also sold on Etsy.

When: Online anytime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want some more? Explore other Holidays in the ‘Burgh stories.

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