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Holiday Gift Guide, Part 1: 3 Ways to Incorporate Charitable Giving

This article was written by in Charity. 12 comments.

‘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.

sweatshirt2. Buy gifts which provide a percentage to charity

* Know someone who loves the water? Oceana has some really cool t-shirts and apparel, and as much as 25% of the proceeds benefit their charity.

* Sierra Club offers two gorgeous gift-boxed calendars, note card sets (the owl set is my favorite) and even books for the nature/scenery lover in your life.

* 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.

oceana3. Donate to charity as a gift

* 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?

* Heifer International also donates livestock to countries in need. You can choose from a variety of animals, including a llama for $150.

* 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? 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 1, 2017 and originally published November 28, 2007.

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About the author

Along with her partner, Sasha owns and manage six residential rental units. Sasha endeavors to support the causes and organizations she believes in through more conscientious spending practices. View all articles by .

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

My aunt actually started donating to charity in all of our names a few years back. It is a great gift since all of my family is at least middle class we really cannot afford to purchase anything that is of great value to each other. Why not give to charity instead and enjoy giving again?

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avatar 2 Anonymous

Only trouble with this is that you as the giver will be hounded for years and years after giving one of these gifts. Calls, letters, etc. The charity that we donated to for my Brother-In-Law has spent that money and more trying to get more money. Research your charity carefully, or give anonymously in the person’s name, if you can.

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avatar 3 Anonymous

There’s a company in Vancouver called “mondonation” that sells customizable t-shirts and pillowcases, and donates a percentage of the purchase to a charity of your choosing. I have two of their shirts (birthday presents) that I absolutely adore, because the shirts themselves have messages that are special to me, and I know a portion of the money spent on them went to charities that mean something to the people who gave them to me.

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avatar 4 Anonymous

#4 – use Goodsearch’s “Goodshop” to do your online shopping. You click one of their links, a % of your spendings goes to the charity of your choice. So far I’ve found most of the biggies are there, although there appears to be a glitch in that the logos don’t always show up and you have to fish around. But it’s new, I’m hoping they straighten that out.

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avatar 5 Anonymous

Just another thought – I totally agree with the nonprofit hounding you after someone makes a donation, which is why we at offer Charity Gift Cards where the recipient of the gift chooses the charity, not the sender. That way your name stays confidential and you, as the recipient, have more power over who gets the donation!

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avatar 6 Anonymous

I have a thing for llamas, so one of my friends bought a llama for me through either Heifer or World Vision for my wedding present. It was happy. :)

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avatar 7 Anonymous

I started promoting Holiday for Charity in 2002. The idea is for you to tell anyone who would give you a gift to make a donation to the charity of their choice in your name. They get to give money to their charity, take the tax write-off and you don’t get another tie you won’t wear. You’ll find more information about this and other charitable giving ideas for the holidays at

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avatar 8 Sasha

Mrs. Micah,

I share your “thing for llamas”. In fact, I was debating whether to add yet another image to the post, but the llama’s adorability tipped the scales in its favor. I may have to add one to my holiday wish list.

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avatar 9 Sasha

10K Portfolio – thanks! I’m so glad to hear the article was inspirational for you.

Stephanie – I appreciate the link and will definitely check it out. Sounds like a good way to personalize a gift while helping a cause.

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avatar 10 Sasha

Sunshine – you’re right; I knew I’d seen a shopping service or two which allows you to donate to charity with all your purchases, but didn’t recall this until you mentioned it. Perhaps I’ll post an addendum, since it’s such a great option.

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avatar 11 Anonymous

Giving to someone’s favorite charity in their name can be a much nicer gift than yet another sweater or tie. But please – make sure it is a charity that the recipient supports. Don’t just give to your favorite charity and put someone’s elses name on it. Or give to the charity, but don’t pretend it is a gift.

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avatar 12 Anonymous

Hi there – just wanted to add another option to your list. At you’ll find many gift giving options, including our new biodegradable gift card. We’ve got over 400 grassroots projects around the world that givers or card recipients can choose to support.
Give away!
Donna @ GG

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