(Closed) Donations to charities as Christmas presents – yes/how?

posted 8 years ago in Holidays
Post # 3
222 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I’m looking forward to reading others’ thoughts on this.  My husband and I tried this with his brothers and their wives this year, but were totally shot down!  Perhaps we went about it in the wrong way?

Post # 5
1267 posts
Bumble bee

Do it do it do it!  I have been asking for this for years and nobody ever does it because they want to give me something to open, they say!  Ahhhhh – I don’t need anything to open, I want that money to go towards something charitable.  Good for you!

Post # 6
514 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

I wouldn’t let them pick a charity and say it’s their gift but I would pick charities that are important to you and tell them in lieu of gifts, you have made donations to charities as you feel it is a finer gift to help those in need.

Post # 8
46670 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

My mom asked us to stop buying her gifts years ago so I switched to charitable gifts in her name. Her favorite was one year when I gave a donkey and a  gardening kit to a family in Africa. My mom is stubborn as a mule and loves gardening- that’s why I picked that gift.

Post # 9
11325 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

I don’t know if you’d be interested, in something like this, but my dad does a really cool gift exchange at work every year that is both charitable and fun to shop for/open gifts for. So, here is how it works: 

– every year everyone who is participating puts their name in a hat and they all pick each other secret santa style

– then you go and you shop for a toy that best represents the person you’re shopping for (my dad is a construction toy, so one year someone got him a bob the builder set, for example)

– at their christmas party everyone opens the gift that people got for them

– at the end of the party all the toys go (unopened) into a charity pile to go to whatever children’s charity they choose that year. 

I think people really like it because you still get that fun shopping and opening time, plus you can get really funny gifts for each other! 

Post # 12
6572 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2010

I think that’s nice! I don’t think they’ll think you’re being cheap, as you’re still spending money.

I’ve randomly recieved two charity gifts from a friend and my sister and I loved them both! It’s from an organization that donates animals to families who need them. My friend bought me a flock of chicks and my sister gave me a part of a pig (my favorite animal). I like knowing that my animals are helping people out!

Post # 13
1025 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I don’t think its a bad idea, but I know (for whatever reason) my parents HATE when people do this! 

I think you have to consider people’s “love languages” when you do this. (If you haven’t read that book – check it out!) Some people are not gift people, and would probably be thrilled to not have to fake liking some trinket.

Other people (like my mom) think gifts are a big reflection of how well you know/like them, and would be crushed if I did that to her.  

One of my old roommates would beg for this, and never got it, so would be upset when she would get the trinket gifts.

I think if its someone you know well and if you know something they are passionate about, go for it. If you aren’t sure, maybe you could find a small Christmas ornament to go with it? Like, a dolphin ornament for a Save the Dolphins group?

Another option is to try places like Ten Thousand Villages. Then you are supporting good causes while still giving gifts.

Post # 14
4824 posts
Honey bee

I think its a great idea for the right people. You have to know the people you do this for.

Each year my FH and I adopt a family instead of giving presents to each other (we still get one item under $50). Instead we go shopping together for the family based on their needs and wants list.  This way its more involved than just a donation that is over in a few minutes. Its so much fun shopping!

I give donations to certain family members some years, and others I would never give a donation.

Moral of the story? Its not for everyone, but if even one person thinks its OK, then go for it with that one person.

Post # 16
409 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2012


I have done this for a few years for christmas.  I was tired of getting them little trinkets also.  What I did the first year was buy a cow from oxfam, and then make up little cards that said the same thing oxfams did.  i just distributed those.  They have a ton of differnt price levels on their website, and it was cool to buy a symbolic gift


The next year I changed it.  I have a cousin who has MS, so it is a cause near and dear to my family’s heart.  I just made a little paper that I stuck in a holiday card and again, just handed them out like gifts. 

It really helped to limit my spending for people, and its going to a cause we believe in.


Edit: I only did this for my grandparents, aunts, uncles and older cousins.  I still buy presents for the little ones, and for my parents and brother.

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