(BPT) - When the commotion of the holidays sets in, it's easy to forget the true meaning of the season. Giving back and helping others is what makes this time of year so special. As you rush from store to store buying gifts for your loved one, you might wonder how you can make a difference. Some simple steps can have a big impact, and it's as easy as giving gifts that benefit more than just the recipient.
1. Gifts that give more
When trying to find a unique gift for that special someone, keep an eye out for items that help a cause or make a difference in other's lives. For example, head to Kmart for an exclusive St. Jude bear ornament, which serves as a cute remembrance of the 2012 holiday season. The best part is this gift gives back because for each ornament sold, Kmart will donate $1, with a minimum donation of $50,000, to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital(R), where children sick with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses can be treated at no cost to their families. It's a gift that helps save lives, and one both you and the recipient will feel good about displaying on the tree year after year. Go above and beyond to help children in need this holiday season through a $1, $5 or $10 add-on during your Kmart checkout.
2. Donate in someone's name
Many people make donations to nonprofits during the holiday season, but this generosity can also turn into a great gift idea. Whether you're shopping for someone and it seems impossible to find the right gift, or the person seems to have it all, a charitable donation made in the recipient's name is sure to bring a smile during the holidays. If you know the person's favorite charity, visit its website and decide on the amount you want to donate. Most charities allow you to print a certificate or card with the person's name and a personal message about the donation, so you can put a gift under the tree. If you don't know the person's favorite charity, think of his or her interests and conduct an Internet search. Pet lover? Search for nonprofit pet organizations in the recipient's area. Military vet? Look for charitable organization for military families and soldiers.
3. Green gifts that give back
If you or those on your gift list are eco-minded, consider a gift with an environmental theme. A simple yet meaningful gift is to plant a tree in honor of someone. Care for the tree and watch it grow year after year as the holiday season approaches. If your eco-friendly giftee loves to cook, gifting a share in community supported agriculture (CSA) is a unique idea. A growing trend, CSA means a local farm delivers a set amount of seasonal produce to a household for a specific number of weeks. It's a great way to source foods locally and the recipient will get to try a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the season.
From an ornament that helps sick children get better to planting a tree that grows bigger each year, gifts with meaning will be remembered well beyond the end of December and are a win-win - your recipient feels great about receiving a meaningful present and you feel good about putting your shopping dollars toward something with positive influence. Saint Nick is sure to approve.