Last minute shoppers, instead of worrying about finding the perfect gift for your loved one, consider giving them a present that can help others.
Here are seven charitable ways you can spread Christmas cheer this holiday season:
1) Help children in the classroom: Donate funds for a child to receive a bookbag full of developmental activities and books appropriate for their age level through the Save the Children's Early Steps to School Success Book Bag Exchange Program. Your loved one can find out about the gift you made in their name through a holiday card.
2) Charitable gift cards: TisBest Charity Gift Cards takes a different approach to a popular holiday gift and allows recipients to donate money on cards to one of TisBest's more than 300 charities. Similarly, Just Give.org allows you to e-mail a charitable gift card to a loved one who can then use it to donate to a variety of organizations, such as Music and Memory Inc., which assists Alzheimer's patients.
3) Place an animal in their care: Help save wildlife across the world by adopting an animal for a loved one through the World Wildlife Fund. You can tell friends and family about their $50 donation with a virtual gift card with the animal placed on it.
4) Yummy cookies fulfilling big dreams: Fulfill the dream of a child suffering from a life-threatening illness by purchasing a pound of homemade cookies through Bake Memories for Kids. You can give the cookies to friends and family and tell them how the proceeds from their gift will help fund an expense-free dream vacation for a child and his or her family. Additionally, $1 of the money spent on the cookies will go toward research on the child's illness.
5) Save the planet: For as little as $50, the Nature Conversancy offers holiday gift-shoppers the opportunity to adopt a portion of land facing environmental peril. The recipient of the gift will receive an ecard notifying them that the donation has been made in their name.
6) Give food to hungry children: The Eat & Run Bundle, a part of the UNICEF Inspired Gifts collection, allows you to give a gift that can help malnourished children around the world. For just $6.75, you can make a donation in your loved one's name that will provide a needy child with micronutrient powder containing minerals and vitamins.
7) Buy farm animals to support families: Make a $100 donation in someone's name to World Vision to buy a family in Uganda, Zimbabwe, and other African countries a goat and two chickens. The families that receive chickens are asked to give their newly hatched chicks to another family in need. Additionally, the money that families receive from the farm products produced by the animals will financially support their other needs.
Follow @AshMWill on Twitter