‘Tis the season to think about charitable giving, and there are some wonderful opportunities to do this while giving to your friends and loved ones. Whether it’s one of your favorite causes or one which aligns with the interests of the recipient, there are three simple ways to make a doubly-impactful gift this holiday season.
1. Buy Christmas/holiday cards which support your charity of choice
If you’re going to buy cards this year anyway, why not see if your favorite charity has anything to offer? Not only do you show your support, but you may find interesting, unique cards which stand out to their recipients.
* The Audubon Society has a stunning array, and 10% of each box goes to serve their cause.
* The Make-A-Wish Foundation will actually personalize and mail your cards for you if you wish to make a gift on someone else’s behalf. Or you can order blank cards and send them yourself.
* The American Diabetes Association offers cards which you can personalize regardless of whether you are making a gift donation as well.
* Defenders of Wildlife offers free personalization of up to 4 lines when you order 3 or more boxes of cards, plus the cards are really wonderful for animal lovers.
* Sierra Club has an array of cards ranging from adorable polar bears frolicking in the snow to stunning National Park landscapes.
* The American Red Cross Store offers a number of smart gifts for the practical people in your life who always like to be prepared. Start with the $5 emergency kit as a stocking stuffer or spring for an emergency radio or more extensive kit. They’ve even got a line of vintage-style and baby clothing and some cute wrapping paper to package it all up.
* UNICEF has a store full of interesting, international gifts, including candles, journals, and books.
* A cancer survivor or supporter might enjoy jewelry, clothing or a tote bag from the American Cancer Society Gift Shop.
* Oceana is offering a holiday adopt-a-creature program. For $35, you can adopt a dolphin, seahorse, or one of 16 other sea creatures and receive a cookie cutter in the shape of that creature and a special sugar cookie recipe. For $75, you can choose a set of 4 creatures, or for more, you can get the full set with an oven mitt or two included. It’s a nice way to donate while still having a fun gift for the recipient to open and enjoy.
* Oxfam America offers you the unique opportunity to present your friends and family with a sheep, a can of worms, or other amusing gift. You are donating your funds to purchase items needed by growing communities worldwide, but you get a very charming personalized card announcing your gift in any of a number of categories relevant to the recipient, from gardener to student. How else could you possibly gift wrap a camel?
* American Forests lets you plant trees in the name of a loved one for $1 a tree.
* Alternative Gifts International offers truly impactful gifts of of food, shelter, trees, gardens and medicines around the world.
* Not sure what charity would be most fitting? JustGive.org sells gift certificates which can be redeemed for any of 1,000,000 charities and nonprofit organizations.
There are so many more charities out there offering personal, interesting and impactful holiday gifts. What are your favorites?
Updated June 23, 2016 and originally published November 28, 2007.