Making Holiday Shopping a Charitable Act

Every holiday season we start with the good intention of buying stylish, practical and unique holiday gifts. But somewhere along the way, many of us fall into the time-honored trap of spending too much on disposable items while risking being trampled by frenzied bargain shoppers before coming to the realization -- yet again -- that the gift-buying experience is not only rote commercialism, but that it hardly lives up to the nobler sentiments of the season.

Instead of running to the mall (or over your fellow shoppers) this year, you might want to consider spending at least some of your precious cash at retailers that display both the perfect gift and the perfect awareness of the holiday spirit.

Ralph Lauren Rugby should be your first stop. Whether you go to the store on Armitage and Sheffield or to, you'll find one of the hippest (and best kept secrets in Chicago) retail outposts.

Three special items that Rugby offers especially for the holidays will appeal to both your inner Santa and your inner Mother Theresa.

Rugby has designed a special edition "Match" rugby shirt for both men and women, and half of its $95.00 price will be donated directly to the Match Rugby Fund which benefits 70 young social entrepreneurs with $1,000 grants.

And although you may have bought a FEED Foundation bag at Whole Foods, you can buy a Rugby designed "FEED 50" bag for $100 and the proceeds will go to support 50 children in developing countries for model Lauren Bush's foundation. Use it to carry groceries, use it at the beach or on your getaway trip to the Inauguration.

Finally, Rugby has teamed up with TOMS shoes to take a stand for social action by co-designing a limited edition run of new styles. The shoe styles are silk espadrilles, a perfectly chic alternative to those awful holiday slippers no one wants, but always gets anyway. But the good news doesn't stop there: for every pair of TOMS shoes sold by Rugby, a pair will be donated to a child in a developing country.

We all know compassion dictates you walk a mile in someone's shoes, but now, in a fateful twist of retail, fashion dictates it so this holiday season.

Click here to learn more about all three initiatives.

To view more of Tom Kolovos' work, log on to the and the NBC Chicago Street Team blog.

Contact Us