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Gifts That Avoid Both Extra “Stuff” And Clichés

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There comes in a time in a person’s life when they have everything they need. While not necessarily rich, the house is well-furnished and they’re not hurting for clothes. Maybe this someone has even come out and said, “I don’t know what I want, I just know I don’t need any more stuff.” What do you get a person like that?

The old standby is a gift card to a favorite store, or maybe a gift card for something perfectly intangible like some MP3 downloads. But you’d rather try to be more creative, and look at that, time is running out. I heard a few neat ideas from a co-worker yesterday and thought I’d share them with you.

Charity donations

You probably know enough about your friend to make an educated guess about the things they really care about. Consider making a donation to a cause they identify with, be it the ASPCA, the Red Cross, Heifer International, the Electronic Frontier Foundation… the list is nearly endless.

Memberships that show you really care

My clever co-worker from earlier renewed her brother’s NRA membership for Christmas. Maybe guns aren’t her thing, maybe they are, but that doesn’t matter. It was important to her brother, so that’s what he got. What better time than Christmas to practice tolerance?

What could you gift as a membership that you wouldn’t normally get for yourself? NPR or the ACLU, maybe? How about one of your friend’s favorite podcasts that relies on donations to keep alive?

Kiva gift certificate

We’ve talked a bit about Kiva on here before: the service that makes it easy to donate start-up money to developing countries. They’ve got a program for you to give a gift certificate, too, and I imagine it’d be heartwarming and fun to spend an hour or so one of these upcoming mornings for you and your friend to find the right recipient.

Here’s to avoiding stuff and clichés! Good luck, everyone.

Updated December 22, 2011 and originally published December 22, 2009.

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About the author

Smithee formerly lived primarily on credit cards and the good will of his friends. He is a newbie to personal finance but quickly learning from his past mistakes. You can follow him on Twitter, where his user name is @SmitheeConsumer. View all articles by .

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

Nothing wrong with a cliche gift, cliches are there for a reason, because they work. but these are solid alternatives.

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avatar 2 Anonymous

Just as an FYI wanted to flag you to three posts that resulted from our field visits with Heifer International in Rwanda. They are doing terrific work on the ground…

Here are the write-ups for the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet []:

Healing with livestock in Rwanda

Teacher Turned Farmer…Turned Teacher

Got Biogas?

We are travel blogging from Africa at a site called Border Jumpers which can be viewed at
Danielle Nierenberg and Bernard Pollack

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