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Christmas shopping for guilty consciences

"If I had two wishes I could make this holiday season, the first would be for all the children of the world to join hands and sing in the spirit of harmony and peace," Steve Martin once said on Saturday Night Live. "And the second would be for 30 million dollars a month to be given to me, tax-free, in a Swiss bank account."

It's the central contradiction of the holidays: saving the world vs. looting the malls. The second half of the equation is powerful even to the most humanitarian-minded of us, which is why you're reading a holiday gift guide right now instead of a book by Gandhi or St. Thomas Aquinas.

Brownies But these days it's not necessarily an either-or proposition: There are a growing number of gifts that multi-task, serving avarice and humanity at the same time. As Greyston Bakery's Joanne Jordan says of her company's Do-Goodie Brownies: ``With the purchase of one brownie, you can not only gratify a chocoholic who you love, but help out people who really need it, all for one low price.'' Read the rest of my story in Sunday's Miami Herald gift guide.

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