Many local organizations help out those in need -- from children's shelters to food banks. Make a donation to a charity in your area in the name of a relative or friend. Then, give a card to the recipient notifying him/her of the donation. This is the perfect gift for those people who don't really need anything new (which is probably most people on your gift list).
If someone you know could use a new furry friend, head to your local animal shelter or rescue organization. Avoid buying a pet from a store or a breeder. By adopting a pet you can surprise someone you love and save an animal in the process. Just be sure that the recipient will actually want to care for a new pet.
Organizations like Oxfam America Unwrapped allow you to give unique charitable gifts that do good. For example, for $50 you can buy a goat -- an invaluable resource for those in rural communities. A goat provides fertilizer and food for families in need. Other Oxfam gifts include stock in a cereal bank, art supplies for kids, a dozen chicks or mosquito nets. With gifts starting from just $25, it doesn't take much to help out someone in need. Purchase your gift online and then Oxfam will send a card to the recipient to let them know about the charitable gift.
Many people on your gift list probably have enough tangible items and will appreciate a gift that gives back to the less fortunate. Even if you donate your time (rather than money), charitable gifts are a fabulous idea during the holidays.
Help the environment during the holidays. Mother earth shouldn't be ignored just because we are all busy with holiday parties, gift shopping, etc. Incorporate being eco-friendly into the holidays by using eco-friendly reusable wrapping paper. You won't have to worry about crinkles in the wrapping paper, torn paper and that mess of wrapping paper on the floor that needs to go in the trash. You can have a clean Christmas and/or Hanukkah with resuable wrapping paper from VZ Wraps. The eco-conscious company offers resusable wrapping paper for all occasions with beautiful designs. So while you're getting presents for everyone else, don't forget to give back to Mother Earth, as well.
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