7 Holiday Gift Donation Ideas That Mean More Than Any Present

NANJING, CHINA - DECEMBER 24: (CHINA OUT) Two alpacas are seen in front of a shopping mall during a celebration of Christmas Eve on December 24, 2013 in Nanjing, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
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What do you get for the person who has everything? Simple; instead of buying your friend a present, consider donating something in his, her, or their name. Here are some holiday gift donation ideas that will melt your recipients' hearts and give them (and yourself) the joy that comes with helping others.

Charitable donations in lieu of physical presents is a trend that even big corporations are participating in: Google's parent company, Alphabet, donated $30 million worth of electronics and tech support to schools on behalf of its employees, Forbes reported. Given that you might assume Google employees would be used to extravagant holiday gifts, this may seem like a let-down — until you consider the benefits to schools and children. I'd guess that most of those people see ensuring the happiness and well-being of children as priceless compared to owning the latest gadget.

If you still really want to get your friend a present they can use, it's completely possible to find one that gives back to a community in need as well. Consider buying a present from a vendor that donates proceeds to charity. It's a win-win situation! Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Adopt A Pet From A Local Shelter

Proceeds go to the shelter, you’re getting an animal their forever home, and your friend gets an adorable companion. What's not to love? Of course with this one you’ll want to check with your friend first to make sure they’re ready for the responsibility. Perhaps you can make a surprise visit to the shelter with them, and if they’re not up for adopting, you can play with the animals and then make a donation in their name.

Charity Subscription Boxes

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A recurring, fair trade gift that gives back? Sign me up! There are plenty of possibilities, including boxes featuring food, clothing, artisanal goods, and more.

Planned Parenthood And The ACLU

Have politically minded friends who fight for reproductive rights and civil liberties? Donate to an organization committed to the causes they’re passionate about in their names. With the political climate of today, this type of gift is more meaningful than ever.

Story Shares And Out Of Print Clothing

The premise is simple: buy your friend a book or piece of bookish clothing, and a book will be donated. It’s a great gift for a literary-minded friend!

Empower Women

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Empower women to provide for themselves and their families and be financially independent by buying goods from the women themselves. This helps fight human trafficking, domestic abuse, poverty, homelessness, and more. For instance, PUNJAMMIES are lounge pants and pajamas made by Indian women who escaped human trafficking.

Toys For Tots

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If you have kids on your Christmas list, remember that it's never too early to learn about the joy of giving. Toys for Tots gets toys to less fortunate children. Take a kid along to the store to pick out some toys to donate, and then attend a Toys for Tots event.

Give An Alpaca

Just looking at fluffy alpacas gives me joy, but the gift of an alpaca to a family in need can significantly improve their lives in the future. Alpacas can help with farming while consuming less food and water than another type of livestock. If you donate an alpaca in your friend's name, this organization will send them a card so they can remember that little alpaca and its new family for years to come.

These are just a few of the ways you can give holiday donation gifts; there are countless other ways you can donate. So get out there, give, and happy holidays!

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