Years ago, after my Mom passed away, my aunt Ann decided that we wouldn’t exchange “traditional” gifts. There was not anything either one of us needed and there was something truly meaningful about receiving a donation letter (usually from the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition) honoring my Mother and the life she had lived. It continued to keep her memory, and life, alive with each passing year.
I recommend donating to a cause that a loved one supports – not only is it the gift that keeps giving, you don’t have to stand in line at the store, fight with the post office, or worry if your gift will make it in time. I’ve included some causes below to consider donating to instead of sending a gift. I’d love to hear ways in which you bring meaning to others during the Christmas Season!
A Few Global Causes / Organizations To Support This Christmas
American Cancer Society: Allows you to donate In Honor Of / In Memory Of . It will also let you choose where the funds should go: Where they are needed most, cancer research, breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, or lung cancer. Once you’ve completed your donation, you will be able to send a card (www.cancer.org).
Special Olympics: Tribute and Memorial Giving is available, you can have an acknowledgement card sent to the honoree or family, and you can mail in your donation. Your donation will also be matched dollar-for-dollar though December 31st (http://www.specialolympics.org/).
Doctors Without Borders: Like many charities, you can donate one-time or monthly . You can also make a tribute donation and have an e-card or regular postal mail acknowledgement sent to the recipient (http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/).
The Nature Conservancy: TNC was one of the organizations my mother supported (both by donation and membership) and where she purchased gifts for nephews. You can honor individuals with a tribute or memorial gift (http://www.nature.org/).
Wounded Warrior Project: WWP provides a monthly giving program (you receive a WWP blanket), the option to mail in your donation, and make In Honor or In Memory of an Individual donation (http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/).
United States Fund for UNICEF: Not only can you donate a selected dollar amount, you can also donate funds that are used for such things as first aid kits, water kits, blankets and polio vaccines – all of which can be made in honor of a loved one (http://www.unicefusa.org/).
Feeding America: Along with one-time donations, you can also pledge monthly donations, donate special presents to end hunger, give in honor or memory of someone, or give a meal (http://feedingamerica.org/).
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: St. Jude provides regular and monthly donation options, dedication of donation, but also has a great online catalog of gifts (http://www.stjude.org).
National Network to End Domestic Violence: The Network provides opportunities for one-time and recurring contributions that can be made in honor or memory of someone (http://nnedv.org/).
Compassion International: You can sponsor a child which requires a monthly contribution and donate to support centers that meet the needs of women and children. They have a great online store and a gift catalog sending much needed resources to children and families worldwide (http://www.compassion.com/).
Born Free USA: They have a number of ways to donate, including adopting a primate, shop their CafePress Store, and memorial donations (http://www.bornfreeusa.org/).
American Museum of Natural History: If you’ve never been, I strongly suggest planning a visit. Also, check outt heir great online store and consider donating a membership. (http://www.amnh.org/).
Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Met is definitely at the top of my list of places to visit, so I am all for donating to the cause. You can give a gift of membership for a loved one that include awesome benefits, including The Met Store discount and members-only special offers (http://www.metmuseum.org/).
PBS: For many of us, we grew up when we only had 5 or 6 channels, one of which was PBS. Some of my fondest memories were watching PBS with my Mom. They provide a number of ways to donate and have an AWESOME shop where you can buy products from your favorite show (yay for Downton Abbey tote bags) (http://www.kera.org).
The Center for Victims of Torture: You can make a one-time donation, monthly giving (the Circle of Hope), and memorial or celebratory donations (a Gift of Hope) (http://www.cvt.org/).
Local Causes / Organizations To Support This Christmas
- Donate to your local volunteer fire department.
- Contact your local food bank or soup kitchen to see what supplies are needed.
- Donate gently worn coats and shoes to local charities.
- If you know someone who personally is fighting a battle (or has a family member who is), check with them to see if they have a fundraiser to help offset medical expenses. What better gift then to relieve some financial burden caused by medical expenses during the holidays! If they don’t have one, consider creating one on their behalf at Give Forward. Fundraisers can be established for medical expenses (see the website for details), pet medical, funeral/memorial, or other (disaster recovery, adoption expenses, etc.).
- Check to see if your loved one is trying to raise money for a particular cause (ie. Susan G. Komen 3-Day) and contribute to their fundraising goal!
- Local Giving is a great way to find small scale regional charities , projects, and fundraisers (localgiving.com).
Enjoy your holiday shopping and above all else, give in love! ~ XXOO