Reindeer sweater from NorthStyle
Give Grandma a bit of credit! These holidays, would she rather receive a silly reindeer sweater or help a schoolchild acquire glasses to see the blackboard clearly for the first time? — Nicholas Kristof
Gifts of charitable donations won't work for everyone, but even Miss Manners agrees that they can work under certain conditions:
1) those concerned agree to it as a policy, and
2) the particular charities chosen are those that are of interest to those being honored.
Families that feel that presents have become superfluous or burdensome sometimes do this.If this is a strategy you'd like to follow, you have a huge range of choices. I've mentioned a number of interesting choices before — see the related posts at the end — but here are some more organizations that have caught my eye recently.
1. Animal Adoption Programs
You could adopt a raptor and support the Peregrine Fund; the bird above is a kestrel that's currently available for adoption.
Or you could adopt a chicken from a Los Angeles organization called Taking the Reins. [via the Los Angeles Times] Update on Dec. 9, 2013: I'm no longer seeing this "adoption" program on Taking the Reins' website.
2. Save the Children
Give the gift of a soccer ball, mosquito nets, newborn care packages, books to help stock a library, or one of the many other options in the gift catalog. [via Apartment Therapy]
3. The Nature Conservancy
Give a gift of conservation — adopt a coral reef, restore wetland habitat for whooping cranes, help provide clean water to the people of Mozambique, or pick one of many other options from the gift catalog.
4. Your Local Food Bank
This eCard comes from the Vermont Foodbank, but there are plenty of others to support, too.
5. Any Charity Whose Work You and the Gift Recipient Admire
Want some ideas? Look at this list of recommendations from John Scalzi's blog readers back in December 2011.
Christmas and Other Holidays: Donations as Gifts
Christmas and Other Holidays: Adopt-an-Animal Programs Provide Clutter-Free Gifts
Christmas and Other Holidays: Giving to a Good Cause
Christmas / Holiday Gift Ideas: Donations to Good Causes