Plant a Tree in Her Name
Give a (Volunteer) Vacation
Make the next vacation be about more than sipping cocktails or gazing at historic architecture. Volunteer vacations are a chance to give back to local communities, restore and protect local ecosystems or otherwise help out while enjoying a holiday. The testimonials from vacationers tell the tale: They can be more satisfying and offer a greater sense of renewal than even the most relaxing getaways.
Learn more at CharityGuide.org.
Adopt a Sea Creature
Give a Soldier a Cell Phone
With the U.S. waging two wars, thousands of troops will be away from home during the holidays.
A great way to give them a gift is to donate a cell phone — even a used cell phone — to an organization like Cell Phones for Soldiers, which sells the phones to recyclers, and uses the proceeds to buy calling cards troops use to call home.
Create a Green Collar Job
Community Supported Farm Share
Feed an Elephant for a Day
Prepare an Organic Meal
Clean Water (for Someone Who Needs It)
The Daily Green doesn't encourage the use of disposable plastic water bottles. This is a worthy exception.
Charity Water, a nonprofit organization bringing clean, safe water to people in developing nations, now offers "Bottle of Charity." Your $20 pays for water and sanitation projects that will provide third world citizens clean water for -- at least -- 20 years! Learn more at charitywater.org, 1-646-688-2323.
National Parks Annual Pass
Donate Winter Clothes
Every gift doesn't have to be for someone you know. Many people have closets full of old clothes that aren't doing them any good. Why not take an hour away from shopping and put it into sorting clothes?
Look for local community coat drives, church thrift shops, organizations that outfit low-income people for job interviews, or other charitable organizations that help the homeless or others in need.
Make it into a personal gift by offering to help organize a cluttered friend's closet.
Green Clean Their Home
Adopt a Cheetah
Charity Gift Card
A Water Buffalo...or a Bee Hive...or...
Save the Bees (and Some People, Too)
Plant a Billion Trees
Adopt a Polar Bear
Preserve an Acre of Rainforest
Make a donation in your loved one's name. For $100, you can protect one acre of rain forest with the Rainforest Alliance, one of 88 environmental charities that is rated with four stars by Charity Navigator. Consult the independent watchdog's list of most financially responsible environmental organizations before making a donation to the cause of your choice.
Make a Micro Loan
Donations are one way to give in your loved one's name, but micro loans are a more personal way to support projects you care about.
Micro loans, celebrated by no lesser luminaries than Bill Clinton as the future of charitable giving, allow you to loan money to specific people, projects or organizations working on a variety of issues and problems, mostly in the third world. You earn interest, just like any loan (and accept the reportedly low risk of default) — and see exactly how your money benefits others.
Give Your Time
Volunteering is perhaps the most important gift you can give to your community. Long commutes and the necessities of the two-income family are thinning the ranks of volunteers nationwide at a time when economic downturn only makes the need greater.
Soup kitchens are often packed with volunteers right on and around holidays. This year, make a point of donating your time not just on the holiday, but in the weeks and month afterward, too.
Looking for ideas? Start by exploring VolunteerMatch.org to find opportunities in your community.
Offset Their Carbon
Give Back to the Earth
The Daily Green's gift guide is designed to help you navigate the tricky holiday season, when giving gifts is expected, but when over-consumption highlights how wastefully we use the planet's natural resources.
Take time to remember that your choices matter at this time of year, like at any other. Consult The Daily Green's daily tip, One Easy Thing, for help navigating this, or any, season.