Any pesky names still stubbornly lingering on your gift list? Chances are they belong to your toughest, most-impossible-to-buy-for friends and family. Yes, you could dash out to the mall, but if inspiration hasn’t struck you yet, you know it’s not showing up while you fight other last-minute shoppers for picked-over merchandise.
Instead, consider making a charitable donation in your loved one’s name. It’s sure to be appreciated, and you can take care of it while sipping eggnog from the coziness of home. (Beware though: you will likely notice a direct correlation between your generosity and the amount of bourbon you put in your eggnog.)
The following organizations can deliver a gift card (either via email or print-at-home options) before Christmas.
Heifer International delivers livestock and training to families in the developing world. Gifts like cattle, llamas, chickens, rabbits, and bees not only help these families meet their nutritional needs but also provide vital sources of income. When one family receives a donation, it helps lift the entire community because Heifer recipients pledge to distribute their livestock’s offspring to other families. Check out their online catalog, which features gifts like a flock of geese starting at $20. After you’ve made your choice, take advantage of Heifer’s printable gift cards or e-cards.
Habitat for Humanity constructs safe, affordable housing for families in need. Recipients provide their own down payment and mortgage payments, participate in the construction of their own home, and also help build homes for other Habitat beneficiaries. Habitat’s Gift from the Heart program allows you to donate online and send holiday e-card notification. A $10 donation supplies a box of nails. For $35 you can give roof shingles. $75 buys a window, and $150 provides a front door.
Feeding America (formerly America’s Second Harvest) works with local food banks as well as a variety of corporate and government partners to distribute food to hungry people across the country. Thanks to strategic partnerships, “Every dollar…helps provide $14 worth of food…for people in need.” Donate online and send a personalized e-card to your gift recipient.
There are too many wonderful charities for me to list. Not all have e-card or printable gift card options, but if you don’t mind sending your gift a teensy bit late, consider some of the awesome packages from the Red Cross. If you want to support their relief efforts, you can make a $20 donation, which buys a warm meal for two disaster victims. Concerned about our military and their families? Check out some of the amazing services you could sponsor for them- everything from phone cards to stress counseling.
And for the animal lovers in your life, consider donating to the Humane Society. This can be a particularly thoughtful way to remember anyone who’s lost a four-legged friend this year.
With hundreds- even thousands- of worthy organizations out there, it’s easy to tailor your gift to your loved one’s interests. If something’s unfamiliar, you can always check it out at CharityWatch.org or the Better Business Bureau for Charities.
And remember that this gift is tax deductible, so next April all that good karma will come right back around to you!
Lucie Amberg is the Director of ZinaBeverlyHills.com.