Have you noticed how many people say that there’s nothing they really need, yet when Christmas rolls around they still find gifts under the tree?
The previous column suggested clickable ways to benefit a charity or cause year-round.
This column suggests other alternatives to opting out of shopping entirely (BuyNothingChristmas.org).
Give in someone’s behalf. You can give monetary gifts that can meet tangible needs on behalf of that person who has everything or possibly to encourage a class or group project.
Here are just a few possibilities, beyond mission organizations:
Water: CharityWater.org seeks to bring clean and safe drinking water to every person in the world.
Food: FeedingAmerica.org works through a network of food banks to alleviate hunger in this country.
Housing: Habitat for Humanity (habitat.org) provides homes in the United States and worldwide. It also accepts donations of building materials, furniture and appliances.
Children: Compassion International (compassion.com) seeks to rescue children from poverty by sponsorships.
Poverty: Oxfam.org works through 17 organizations to fight poverty in 94 countries. Its programs utilize a multifaceted approach, from providing animals to advocacy.
Before giving, research other charities you are interested in at CharityNavigator.org, which evaluates organizations based on health, accountability and transparency.
Then find something that represents the gift, such as a picture or an object.
Finally, make a card that tells about the organization, how the gift will be used and why you chose that charity for them.
If you can’t decide on an organization, CharityChoice gift cards (CharityGiftCertificates.org) allow the recipient to choose from more than 100 nonprofits.
You don’t have to be limited to presents that include a gift tag. Consider gifts for complete strangers that also meet essential needs.
Give yourself — now. Every two seconds an American needs blood and less than 40 percent of people are eligible to donate.
A person is diagnosed with blood cancer every four minutes, and more than 12,000 children under age 19 are diagnosed with cancer annually.
You can give blood every 28 days and platelets every seven days. Contact the Red Cross (redcrossblood.org) to learn about giving, or how you can organize a blood drive.
BeTheMatch.org offers a registry. Once you are matched, you may be asked donate either bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC).
Consider giving your hair to either Wigs for Kids (WigsforKids.org) or Pantene Beautiful Lengths (pantene.com) for adults. It takes 8-10 inches for a donation, which is used to create hairpieces for those undergoing cancer treatments.
Give yourself — later. Did you know that 18 people die each day while waiting for an organ, with more than 120,000 currently on the waiting list?
If you are not already, take a minute during the Christmas holidays to become an organ donor through state registries listed at organdonor.gov. One person can save up to eight lives through organ donation and benefit many others through tissue donation.
Once becoming a donor, let your family know you wishes and include it in your living will.
Whether giving finances, supporting a need or sharing possessions through charities that collect everything from used glasses, media and wedding dresses to unused business clothes, the hardest part is making the decision to do it.
Consider all the options to giving to loved ones this Christmas season.
Ken Satterfield is marketing and advertising coordinator for Word&Way.