In this part of gift-giving, I’m going to suggest giving back. Of course there is the regular holiday charity work: Salvation Army red pots, Christmas Angels (you take a request off a tree and buy those presents for a child in need) and serving meals at shelters. But there are quite a few other organizations that could make a great gift.
♠ Of course animals are #1 on my list. Bat conservation is a personal interest of mine, and if you “Adopt-A-Bat,” you get a stuffed bat to commemorate it, perfect for the littles to enjoy a stuffed animal, and also learn about helping the natural world. The Audubon Society has a similar “Adopt-A-Bird” donation program. Donations to a rescue organization of your favorite animal breed, or bringing donations to your local animal shelter as a family is always a great way to stay local, and help out.
♠ Veterans are also one of my chosen charities. My number 1 choice is the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which I have contributed to before. Time is another gift option. Visiting a VA hospital, volunteering at local VFWs or DAV organizations.
♠ Trees! I love the idea of giving trees as a present. The Arbor Day Foundation has a 10-pack of saplings you can buy to give as gifts. A bonus: if you live in a place where evergreens can grow, imagine gifting a tree that can be planted in a backyard and used a holiday tree to decorate for years to come! If the person(s) on your list enjoy camping, donating in their name could also work. They would get a certificate saying a tree was planted in their name, and when they camped out in a national forest, they would know they contributed to keeping it green. To take it a step further, you could donate to the National Park Service, join the American Hiking Society or Leave No Trace, or choose your own.
photo via Canadian Music Hall of Fame
♠ Donating to girls’ organizations are a perfect giving gift for girls/daughters: Girls Rock!, a camp that empowers and tells girls “Girls can play any kind of music they want.” The Girls Leadership Institute, which “awakens thousands of girls to a life of authentic leadership.” The Girl Effect is all about the belief that girls are the agents of change, and although many think girls are being reached, not enough of them are. Through the Girl Effect you can donate to them, or a specific project around the world, including Cambodia, Dominican Republic and many countries in Africa.
See another Gift Guide: Apartment Therapy’s Guide to Gift Guides