A few Decembers ago, husband and wife Lindsey and Andy Markelz began tinkering with an idea that would take the sleazy consumerist feel out of holiday shopping and provide folks an opportunity to give on all kinds of levels. Their idea was pretty simple: They would assemble gifts produced by a variety of charities on a single website, creating a one-stop destination for online shoppers looking to score unique handmade and fair-trade goods they’d never be able to find at Walmart. From proceeds, the Markelzes would keep a commendably meager 5 percent and the rest would go right back to the charity. Their venture soft-launched in June 2011, but it wasn’t until the spring — when Lindsey was able to quit her full-time job — that their little idea became a full-fledged online marketplace that, so far, has raised $12,500 for 50 philanthropies worldwide — all from their spare bedroom/office in Camden. Charitygiftmarket.com.
ALSO IN GIFT GUIDE 2012: