Physical gifts are a wonderful way to show someone that you care, especially when it is well thought out and unique to them, but sometimes it’s nice to skip the tradition of gifting and give your loved one a gift that keeps on giving beyond the holiday season.

Making a donation in someone’s name is popular amongst charitable folks.

If you aren’t sure where to look, Just Give is a website that allows you to search for any organization.  Let’s say you want to donate in your sister’s name, but aren’t sure what charities she might support, Just Give allows you to search by keyword and helps identify possible matches.

Along the same lines, is Charity Navigator, which allows donors to make informed decisions before donating.

If they are interested in global issues, consider donating to UNICEF in their name to support work with children, or, especially in the wake of Hurricane Sandy the Red Cross to help with disaster relief.

There are definitely some animal lovers in your life. How many of them have saved their own elephant? Remember everyone’s favorite pachyderm Babar? Well The International Fund for Animal Welfare’s Gifts for Animals program helps protect pachyderms (as well as bear cubs and seals).  Each gift comes with a full-color pamphlet telling your animal’s story, and you don’t have to worry about taking them for a walk.  For the dog or cat lover in your life: a donation in their honor to the Humane Society will come with a round of a-paws.

Still more, if you want to physically gift them, Lush USA has a creamy body lotion to help dry winter skin, called Charity Pot. Every single penny (save for the tax) goes to support grassroots charities around the globe. That’s what we call doing a world of good.

-Arianna Schioldager

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