And...the best part is, you don't need to leave the house. Just go online, make your donation and you're done. Some of the organizations will send a card to your gift recipient, or you can even have it sent via email.
If you don't need any gifts, how about just choosing something from a catalog together as a family and starting a new tradition. Even just taking a moment as a family to realize that others are in need of something as basic as water or food- not cashmere gloves or toys- is a great way to step back and be grateful for all you already have.
• "Dollars That Turn Into Bees, and Other Gifts Given Twice": A NY Times article with lots of links to organizations that let you combine charitable giving and gift-giving.
• World Vision Gift Catalog: This is one of our personal favorites. You can choose from different categories. You might give a child an education for $32 or two chicks for $25.
• Operation Smile: How about giving life-changing surgery to a child for $240? Your family can invest in a smile- rather than more "stuff".
• Samaritan's Purse: This is another catalog similar to World Vision- feed a hungry baby for one week with just $9.
Of course, there are many, many great charities out there, so sit down and decide as a family where you'd like to give this year!
Image: Samaritan's Purse