Charitable Gift Ideas for the Holidays and Beyond

Dec 18, 2013 11:15 AM ET
Campaign: Thanks and Giving

Giving back and helping others is what truly brings meaning to the holiday season, and for any gifting occasion throughout the year. With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, that sentiment can be easily forgotten. However, there are simple things you can do that will make a meaningful impact and create enduring memories for your family and friends. A donation to an important cause on behalf of a family member or friend makes a unique, personal gift that the receiver – and those the donation helps – will remember.

A donation in someone’s name is most meaningful when the chosen cause is close to his or her heart. For example, is your mom a teacher? Donating books to an after-school literacy program will not only touch her heart, but will also provide resources to children in need. Or, give the gift of your time to a friend and a charitable organization and make plans to volunteer together. Spend time at an animal shelter with your pet-loving friend or serve dinner at a homeless shelter with a family member that loves to cook. You will make great memories together doing what you love while positively impacting the lives of those you serve.

Another easy way to contribute to a cause is to choose a retailer that supports causes that make a difference in the lives of those in need. For example, Kmart offers  an exclusive St. Jude bear ornament, which not only makes a thoughtful gift, but also gives back to children in need. For each ornament sold, Kmart donates $1, with a minimum donation of $50,000, to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where children suffering from cancer or other life-threatening illnesses can be treated at no cost to their families.  Every year that your loved one places the ornament on the tree, you will both be reminded of the live-saving difference you made. To make an even bigger impact, Shop Your Way members and Kmart customers can also add on a $1, $5 or $10 donation to purchases at check-out or online via a link at

Involve your children in the giving spirit of the holiday season. Adopt a family to buy gifts for and go shopping with your little ones to find the perfect gift for each family member.   Not only will you bond as a family and instill generosity in your children, but you will also bring joy to those less fortunate.  Or, consider visiting sick children at the hospital or the elderly at a retirement home and bring them goodies and gifts to share to brighten their spirits.

Giving back is not only important during the holiday season but throughout the year. These ideas are simple ways to make a positive impact at any time and support the causes that help those in need live happier lives.