Gifts from the heart.
During the holidays we want to give of ourselves and reach out to those less fortunate. Too often, though, we barely find time even to jam a shopping bag with gifts for our closest pals. Thankfully, there's a way to do better. These smart, one-stop shopping options make it possible for you to cross off every name on your list while giving to your cherished gay and lesbian charities. * "Get the gift that gives twice," urges Paul Olsen, general manager of San Francisco's innovative retail outlet Under One Roof, where 100% of the profit from every item sold goes to support some 50 AIDS service organizations, " once to the recipient, once to the [agency] and its clients." * This season the greatest hit at Under One Roof is its medley of hand-decorated glass tree ornaments from Poland, which includes a painstakingly detailed replica of the Titanic, a San Francisco cable car, a glistening five-piece train set, and a Glinda the Good Witch/ruby slippers/Wicked Witch of the West trio from The Wizard of Oz. Certain to become a gay holiday heirloom is Christopher Radko's 1998 Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation ornament, which depicts Sugar, Miss Liz's loving pooch, holding a portrait of its beloved mistress. Also of note at UOR are Project Open Hand's Comforting Foods cookbook, a handmade ceramic bowl inscribed LOVE IS THE ONLY INGREDIENT THAT MATTERS, and The Bracelet from the Until There's a Cure Foundation (available in 14-karat gold or sterling silver). Visit the store's San Francisco location in person, stop off at UOR's Web site at www.underoneroof.org, or call (800) 525-2125. * Tzabaco, a catalog and Internet retailer, benefits gay goodwill in two fashions. Through its Affinity Program the company donates a portion of its sales of specific items to the organization each product represents. Examples include Human Rights Campaign wares (caps, T-shirts, watches), a string of rainbow-colored origami Christmas tree lights benefiting the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and art-emblazoned stock (including T-shirts and bags) from Keith Haring's nonprofit Pop Shop in SoHo. Tzabaco also makes it a point to carry merchandise whose vendors donate to worthy causes. Drop by Tzabaco's Web site at www.tzabaco.com or call (800) 856-1667. * This year, for the first time, the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt Calendar is being distributed via bookstores coast to coast. In designing the 1999 edition, Names Project Foundation director of art and archives Michael Carr says he "attempted to illustrate the sense of wonder that these images evoke in me and the joy I feel at being able to share the incredibly expressive ways that people remember their loved ones' lives." If you can't find the calendar at the shop around the corner, call (800) USA-NAME (872-6263). * Another moving gift idea: Buy someone you love the video Ellen DeGeneres Presents Trevor, which includes the 1994 Oscar-winning short film Trevor and an introduction by DeGeneres. The movie tells the story of a boy who learns he has much to live for after attempting suicide because he's gay. Profits from this purchase go to the Trevor Project, a nonprofit endeavor created to promote tolerance for gay and questioning youth and to aid suicide prevention among that group. Visit www.TrevorProject.com * There are lots of other ways to spread queer holiday cheer. Pick up presents at gay groups' thrift stores or purchase greeting cards, ornaments, and calendars from local and national charitable agencies. Complimentary memberships in these organizations also make great stocking stuffers. And don't forget the sound of music; if you want to treat someone to a seasonal concert, the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses--(202) 467-5830--can help find the carolers nearest you.