Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts that Give Back

As a kid, my favorite part of Christmas was — you guessed it — the presents. Now that I'm all grown up, I still love to give and receive gifts, but sometimes I find myself discouraged that the end-of-year holidays can feel so overwhelmingly commercial. If you're looking to get off the treadmill of buybuybuy, or maybe just shopping for someone who seemingly has everything, here are 10 ideas for holiday gifts that give back.

Some of the following organizations are faith-based, and others are not — you can check the charity's website before you give to make sure that you (and the giftee) agree with the organization's policy.

  1. Oxfam distributes hardy goats to women in drought-prone communities in sub-Saharan Africa. Your $50 gift provides a goat in honor of your intended recipient.
  2. A $28.60 donation to Unicef can provide measles vaccinations for 100 children.
  3. For the animal lover: a $50 donation to the ASPCA can help provide a medical exam for both a puppy and a kitten. Or if you prefer, you can make a donation in the recipient's name to a local no kill animal shelter.
  4. A $30, $60, or $150 gift will help the International Justice Mission fight for the property rights of widows in Africa who have been deprived of their land.
  5. For a $20 donation, Heifer international will provide a family with a flock of geese, which can provide a family with protein from eating eggs and money from selling eggs and ducks.
  6. A gift of $20 will help Samaritan's Purse provide clean water to a community in a developing country.
  7. A gift of $50 will help World Vision's disaster relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
  8. A donation of $46 will enable No Kid Hungry, an organization devoted to ending childhood hunger in America, connect a child with healthy meals for a year.
  9. You can make a gift to Meals on Wheels in tribute to a loved one; a gift of $35 helps provide meals for 5 homebound seniors.
  10. For $30, Save the Children will provide a soccer ball for children in impoverished areas.

(Images: as linked above)