It’s the time of year again when the mailbox is filled with catalogs promising the perfect gift for your special someone. Here at Grab Your Group and GO, we tend to value experiences over things, which turns gift-giving holidays into a bit of a conundrum. How do you show the people in your life how much you care for and value them without burdening them with more “things”? The experience gift is always a big winner, but there is another option…. the gift of giving.
My favorite gift to give is the gift of charity, especially for children. Particularly for children who appear to already have everything they need. And for extended family, who really don’t need another soap set tied with a bow or fancy bottle of olive oil.
A few years ago I found Tisbest, a website that allows the gift recipient to choose their charity. This is my FAVORITE gift for my nieces. On the website, I purchase an electronic gift card that is emailed to the recipient. Then my nieces sit down with my sister and decide where they want their dollars to go. My sister tells me they put a lot of thought into their choices, which is impressive at 5 and 8. When they are done, I receive an email with a thank you note from them and a listing of where the money went. In the past they’ve donated to Guide Dogs for the Blind, the American Bird Conservancy and Foster Care to Success to name just a few.
If you want to give an actual gift that also contributes to a philanthropic organization, consider the World Wildlife Fund. They have a mighty array of gift options available for all ages, from coffee mugs and t-shirts to puzzles and Ugandan Baskets. My favorite for young children is the “species adoption”. For $55 you get a 12-inch plush stuffed animal, adoption certificate and information about your chosen animal. This is a great gift for any child. While it does not cut down on their collection of things, it does go beyond what a stuffed animal from FAO Schwarz would provide.
Past Christmas “gifts” to Michael’s extended family have included donations to The Humane Society (we are all dog/cat owners) and the American Cancer Society (the year his cousin passed from this dreaded disease). I like to think about what’s important to my gift recipient and choose a charity that will mean something to them.
At our office, we donate to Best Friends Animal Society in honor of our boss who absolutely loves all dogs and cats. I’m sure she’s enjoyed the trinkets of appreciation she has gathered over the years. But a few years ago she received a catalog from this wonderful foundation and she asked us to donate to them instead of buying her another thing. She is so happy every year when we tell her how much we’ve donated in her name.
Gifting to a charity in your loved ones name is a win, win! (WIN – your special someone is acknowledged and WIN – the charity of their choice benefits). Try it. You might love it. Or let us know your favorite go-to “gift of giving” gifts!