Charitable Christmas Gifts: A Win-Win-Win Holiday Solution

The Problem with Traditional Christmas Gifts

‘Tis the season for Christmas gift giving. If you’re like me, you dread the endless hours of shopping, both online and in stores, that the task requires. Instead, I’m giving charitable Christmas gifts a try this year.

Last Christmas, I spent too much money and too much time looking for and purchasing items for family members who already owned everything they could ever need and whose wants were more expensive than my budget.

I don’t even remember what I gave people last year, but I know it wasn’t awe-inducing. This year, it seemed both harmful and wasteful to continue buying Christmas gifts that were probably made in a sweat factory before polluting the environment by being shipped overseas. Most likely, the gifts I gave were used infrequently, if at all, by their recipients before either being returned, being stuffed in the back of a drawer, being donated to a thrift store, or being thrown away altogether.


The Solution? Charitable Christmas Gifts

I knew there had to be a better option, and as it turns out, there is! My friend used to give my husband and me a card every year from Heifer International informing us that she had made a donation to the organization in our name. My mom also did this one year for our whole family. This gave me the idea to do charitable Christmas gifts this year.

A charitable Christmas gift is a win-win-win. First, it saves you time and money. You don’t need to figure out what to buy everyone on your list and then go beyond your budget to make it happen. You donate only what your money allows. Second, your recipients don’t get a gift they don’t really like and now have the task of figuring out what to do with it. They also get the reward of knowing their gift is going to aid a cause they hold dear. Third, organizations receive much needed donations to help them continue their important work, and the earth thanks you as your gift’s environmental impact is very low.


Charitable Christmas Gifts: Where Should You Donate?

I texted my family that I wanted to make a donation in their name to the charity or non-profit of their choice and to let me know where to send the donation. I was a little nervous that people would be upset that they wouldn’t be getting a traditional Christmas present, but I was delightfully surprised when I got a couple texts back immediately saying this plan was great and telling me where I could donate.

If you or your recipients aren’t sure where to donate your charitable Christmas gifts, check out Charity Navigator or Charity Watch to find charities based on category or interest and see how they are rated on their financials and accountability and transparency.  

Charitable Christmas gifts benefit everyone involved. Even if you buy traditional Christmas gifts (I still am – little kids don’t like pieces of paper saying you donated their gift money to someone they don’t know!), you can still donate to a charity in someone’s name in addition to a wrapped present under the tree. Opening our families’ hearts up to organizations in need expands our love beyond our homes. It’s the true spirit of Christmas!


Charitable Christmas Gifts

2 thoughts on “Charitable Christmas Gifts: A Win-Win-Win Holiday Solution”

  • I love the idea of asking people where they would like a gift made in their honor for the holidays! In the past the reason I’ve shied away from charitable gifts was the feeling of imposing my values or donation preferences on others, and your solution solves that. Did anyone not respond to your text? If so, did you choose a charity for them yourself?

    • I think everyone’s responded to my text, but I still need to double-check to make sure I got everyone’s requests. Everyone who responded to my text seemed pretty happy about the whole thing. We’re a pretty giving family and quite passionate about the causes we support, so I didn’t expect a lot of disappointment or push back. If I haven’t gotten a response, I’m going to text people again individually. And if I still don’t get an answer, they’re going to get a card from me on Christmas Day saying, “A donation has been made in your name at ____________________. Actually, a donation has not been made in your name. Where do you want me to donate?” 😉

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