The Season of Giving :: Charitable & Philanthropic Holiday Gift Ideas

The Season of Giving :: Charitable & Philanthropic Holiday Gift Ideas | Houston Moms Blog

We have officially entered the season of giving. However, if you’re like our family, you may be searching for new ways of sharing your holiday cheer.  This year consider ditching the shopping carts, long lines, and crammed parking lots for more charitable and philanthropic options. We’ve put together a list of local and global ways to give back that won’t leave you waiting in the “return” line on December 26th.

Charitable & Philanthropic Holiday Gift Ideas


  • Support the arts. Consider making a donation to local museums, theaters, operas, musical ensembles, and community arts.
  • Volunteer with your child at their school. ‘Tis the season for bake sales, craft fairs, and holiday extravaganzas; schools always need extra hands.
  • Touch base with your local church/temple/synagogue. Religious communities often have a “giving tree” project this time of year.
  • Animal rescue groups. Check into your local ASPCA, as well as smaller rescue non-profits, or volunteer time or funds at a local shelter.
  • Donate supplies to homeless transitional service groups. Work with your kids to gather AND deliver these items.
  • Have your child pick out a few toys for children that are hospitalized. Wrap the gifts and visit a children’s ward to drop them off.
  • Find local nonprofits where you can sponsor a family. Often they provide a list of needs and requests. Take your children with you shopping and pick out the items for the sponsored family together.
  • Volunteer your time at the local chapter of Meals on Wheels.
  • Locate a local food bank and donate items to their food pantry.
  • Chip in at the local soup kitchens.
  • Clean out your closets. Have your kids make a pile of clothes and toys to donate to a local homeless shelter or Goodwill.
  • If you’re crafty, work with your child to make a blanket for a local child in need through Project Linius.
  • Send a letter, card, or care package to a solider.
  • If you have time to volunteer this holiday season {and moving forward}, Volunteer Houston has an amazing database of opportunities to help out.


  • Sponsor a child through Children International.
  • World Vision has a gift catalog to choose from so you and your family can decide where you’d like to see your donation allocated.
  • At Heifer International you can pick which type of livestock to gift to a family in a developing country. {They have cows, goats, chickens, rabbits, etc.}
  • Kiva allows you to lend money to low-income entrepreneurs in over 80 countries, fighting to alleviate poverty. Kiva lets you sort by category {women, agriculture, education, etc.} and select an individual who will directly benefit from your donation.
  • At WaterAid, a nonprofit that works to provide access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, $30 will get one pit latrine for a family.
  • For $50 at Oxfam, you can train a family to sustainably grow food.

What are ways you and your family give back this holiday season?  I’d love to know!


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