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free-wallpaper-5Dreading the holiday shopping? Stressed at the thought of spending money and finding the 'perfect' gifts? Fear not: we're here to offer a new way of looking at seasonal gifts. What if your gift-giving could be a way to support a cause close to your heart and contribute to a better world at the same time?

Today's post provides a roundup of some of the best 'autism gifts' for the holidays. Many of these gifts are created by individuals with autism, and as such, your purchase directly supports their employment.

Personally, I (Caroline) feel so much better about spending money on holiday gifts when that I know the purchases are helping to support autism employment. Two years ago, I commissioned an artist on the spectrum to paint two pictures for my younger brother, Willie, and this past year, I ordered gift baskets, baked goods, coffee, and jams from a bakery employing adults with special needs.

Without further ado, here's a showcase of organizations that support individuals with autism through employment, and the gifts they have to offer in this holiday season:

Delicious Delights

Website

Delicious Delights is a local Charleston bakery employing people with disabilities. They have been making Lowcountry favorites for years, and purchasing their holiday treats is a great way to support jobs for people with special needs in the Charleston area. The bakery is located at 1848 Wallace School Rd, Charleston, SC, 29407.

Lambs Farm

Website

Online Store

Lambs Farm is an Illinois-based special needs service provider, offering residential, vocational, and social supports for people with developmental disabilities. Shop their extensive online store for chocolates, cookies, preserves, gift baskets, candles, puppy treats, and more – there's something for everyone on your list! All products are made and packaged by participants and staff at the Lambs Farm Country Store and Bakery.

AutCards

Website & Online Store

Searching for the perfect set of holiday cards? Look no further; AutCards features original designs by featured artists with autism. The featured artists – currently Kevin Hosseini, Justin Canha, Candy Waters, Noah Erenberg, Florentina, and Christian Early – receive a portion of each sale. Site management, as well as packing and shipping, are also completed by individuals on the spectrum.

Extraordinary Ventures

Website

Online Store

Extraordinary Ventures is a Chapel Hill, NC-based organization that creates employment opportunities for adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. At present, they employ 40 young adults with special needs in five different business ventures. And one of these ventures provides an excellent holiday gift opportunity. This season, they offer both candles and boutique soaps for purchase online. A wide variety of North Carolina retailers carry their products as well; for a full listing, go here: http://gifts.evnc.org/retailers/.

Also available:

Hattie Larlham

Website

Online Store

South Carolina Autism Society

Website

Online Store

Steamers

Website

Online Store

Happy Shopping!

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CGM Bio scaled downCaroline McGraw is a would-be childhood paleontologist turned writer, digging for treasure in people and uncovering sacred stories in ordinary days. She writes about choosing love, losing fear, and finding home at A Wish Come Clear. Readers are invited to visit A Wish Come Clear and receive free copies of her digital books, Your Creed of Care: How to Dig for Treasure in People (Without Getting Buried Alive) and Love's Subversive Stance: Ground Yourself & Grow in Relationship.