Welcome to Repair the World’s 8 Nights of Sandy Service: volunteer projects, donation opportunities and tikkun olam ideas for the week of Hanukkah to help the individuals and communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Keep track of all 8 nights here.

Believe it or not, giving and receiving presents is not Hanukkah’s main purpose – in fact, until the late 19th century, people rarely exchanged gifts on Hanukkah at all! (And when they did, the custom came in a distance fourth in importance behind lighting a menorah, eating fried foods, and spinning dreidels.)

And yet in recent decades, buying gifts for friends and family has become a central – and admittedly fun – aspect of the holiday season, Hanukkah included. It’s a way to show our loved ones we care and are thinking about them. And it can also provide an unexpected opportunity to give back.

This Hanukkah, make your holiday shopping give back by purchasing gifts where the proceeds go to support Hurricane Sandy relief and rebuilding. Whether you’re on the prowl for the perfect last minute present, or want to give your loved ones a little something extra while benefiting a great cause, check out these Sandy-focused online retailers:

  • Etsy: New York designer, Jackie Mangiolino, decided to help local communities by rounding up fellow artists in Etsy’s amazing network to donate designs that could grace the cover of small sized art cards. The result: beautiful, hand-crafted gifts that benefit the American Red Cross’s hurricane relief efforts.
  • Uncommon Goods: This unique gift company paired up with City Harvest to design the “Plate with Purpose” – a stylish, handmade serving plate made from recycled materials and designed by Michael White. The best part is: half of the proceeds support City Harvest’s critical food collection work, in helping Sandy victims and beyond.
  • Mishka NYC: 100% of the proceeds from this sleek T-shirt with a powerful message written on the back (Relieve. Support. Rebuild.) go to the Mayor Bloomberg’s hurricane relief fund.
  • Ebay: The massive online auction and shopping site is supporting non-profits providing aid to hurricane victims. Just look for items that display a yellow and blue ribbon.
  • Help Ink: A portion of the proceeds from these beautiful prints and posters will go to All Hands Volunteers, a disaster-relief organization that is helping with post Sandy rebuilding efforts.
  • Grey Area: Sebastian Errazuriz, an artist who’s studio was badly damaged in the storm, designed two hauntingly beautiful t-shirts that commemorate the power of the hurricane. 100% of proceeds go to Hurricane Sandy relief.

You can also join the Jewish Education Project’s Give One Night initiative, which encourages people and families to donate one night of Hanukkah presents in honor of victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Know of other shopping sites that are donating proceeds to Sandy relief? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting @repairtheworld #8SandyNights.