Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting some holiday gift ideas on this blog, and as I think ahead towards different gift recipient groups I’d be interested in hearing back from you on which people you find the hardest to shop for. Your mother-in-law? Your husband? Your sister’s spoiled kids, the ones who already have three roomfuls of crap? Let me know, okay?
In the meantime, I thought we could talk about some charitable alternatives to traditional gifts. It’s the time of year when we’re all aggressively encouraged to spend, spend, spend on all sorts of material objects, and while I do love finding the perfect present for a loved one there are sure a lot of reasons to cut back on the rampant consumerism. Whether you’re concerned about environmental impact, saving money, avoiding potential recalls, or alleviating some of your must-buy-something-for-everyone-in-my-huge-family-including-Great-Aunt-Myra stress, giving money to charities instead of big box retailers this holiday season is a great option.
So, today’s list: a few charities that offer the capability to purchase a donation in the form of a gift. Maybe Great Aunt Myrna doesn’t need another candy dish, you know?
One Laptop Per Child. “During Give One Get One, you can donate the revolutionary XO laptop to a child in a developing nation, and also receive one for the child in your life in recognition of your contribution.” Buy a laptop for a child at $399, get another laptop free for your own use (or additional donation).
Heifer International. “Heifer’s mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and to care for the earth. Heifer does this by providing appropriate livestock, training and related services to small-scale farmers and communities worldwide.” You can purchase donation items from their gift catalogue here, or create a wish list for yourself here.
Alternative Gifts International. “The global mission of AGI is to send authentic, life-giving gifts to a needy world–gifts that build a partnership with people in crisis and that protect and preserve the earth’s endangered environment–to nourish and sustain a more equitable and peaceful global community.” Gift catalogue is here.
JustGive. “JustGive is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to connect people with the charities and causes they care about and to increase overall giving.” Purchase charitable gift certificates here, or create your own wish list here.
Secret Santa. “SecretSanta.org is a non-profit organization that connects individuals with local toy drives — helping drive much-needed support, gifts and donations to children during the holiday season.” Find a local toy drive here. (Also: Toys for Tots.)
Humane Society.“The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest and most effective animal protection organization.” You can send a gift donation here.
Network for Good. “This is a website where you can give to your favorite charity/charities and have all your donation records stored and accessible at any time.” Buy a gift card for charity here.
Have you ever bought a charity donation as a gift before? I never have, but I’m planning to this year. It seems like a fine tradition to start, along with my admittedly far more shallow Bring Back the Fruitcake campaign.