Toledo Talk

Donations Instead of Gifts

What do you think of donating to a charity in a child's or grandchild's name instead of giving them a present for Christmas? Just curious.

created by ilovetoledo on Dec 27, 2007 at 10:37:41 am     Comments: 22

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I think that it is an interesting and good idea. I think that it would depend on a couple of things:

1. Child's age
2. Could the child participate in choosing the charity?

Sounds neat!

posted by corky on Dec 27, 2007 at 10:59:09 am     #  

I think that's a wonderful idea! But if you elect to have the child participate, it might not be a bad idea to let the child know that whatever she/he gives, it "won't be enough"--and add 2 of the childs' Christmas presents to the kitty as a special "Christmas Tax".

posted by CharlieA-Z on Dec 27, 2007 at 11:38:37 am     #  

The kids are in their early 40s and the grandchildren are teenagers. Should they be asked first or not?

posted by ilovetoledo on Dec 27, 2007 at 12:17:00 pm     #  

We got two donation gifts this year... One Laptop Per Child ( and and animal donation ( I think it's really thoughtful and sets a positive example. I don't you should feel pressed to ask first.

posted by jhostetler on Dec 27, 2007 at 12:43:26 pm     #  

I do this often. For younger kids, I give Zoo Pals and for the older ones I try to do something based on their interests like Band Boosters if they are in band.

If they have lost a loved one to a particular disease, I try to give to a charity associated with it. For a friend who lost her mother to breast cancer we have given to the Susan G Komen Foundation - that kind of thing.

CharlieA-Z, are you suggesting that they should give up some of their new Christmas presents? I don't think that is a good idea - it would give a negative association to donating. I do encourage my kids to give some of their Christmas shopping money at the Salvation Army kettles but that isn't the same as giving away a new toy.

posted by MaumeeMom on Dec 27, 2007 at 12:49:22 pm     #  

So, if I do this then I shouldn't be worried about anyone being miffed?

posted by ilovetoledo on Dec 27, 2007 at 01:11:54 pm     #  

Sorry all. I disagree. Ask what they think. If someone gave monies or whatever in my name without my input.. I'd be miffed, gift or not. Some charities are not as honest as others. Give the kids money, and a donation card as a suggestion as to what to do with the money.

posted by swantucky on Dec 27, 2007 at 01:28:47 pm     #  

swantucky, I guess I agree with you. Somehow giving a donation in someone else's name doesn't really seem like a gift to that person. I was miffed especially since we do alot of donating and volunteering on our own and are not really all that well to do to begin with. I guess if we all agreed to do this to being with it would be different. Anyway, I think if you want to give a gift to your children give them a gift. If you want to donate to a charity, then donate to a charity but I think it is kind of cheap to try to get credit for both at the same time.

posted by ilovetoledo on Dec 27, 2007 at 01:36:03 pm     #  

One of the gifts I received was a zoo pal membership... probably will be the most memorable one I received too. I think you have to evaluate the donation vs. gift thing on a person by person basis. If you have to think about whether or not the recipient will appreciate/enjoy the donation, it's probably best to go with a traditional gift.

posted by Deho on Dec 27, 2007 at 03:49:46 pm     #  

Well, I give to charity too, and had my property taxes tripled this year. Your money will be taken, whether or not a person is charitable. My point is that wherever you go-someone's got their hand out, and they all want more. The idea is still fine, though.

posted by CharlieA-Z on Dec 27, 2007 at 04:15:53 pm     #  

Gosh - I've got such a warm and fuzzy feeling right now I don't know what to say!

posted by corky on Dec 27, 2007 at 07:46:07 pm     #  


we set a limit this year and drew names for our family gifts, except for the grandkids. our kids are 36, 34,and 30, so presents don't mean so much anymore. we tried to float the 'gift plus donation' idea...$50 limit for the gift and a $10 donation to whatever you wish in teh giftee's name, then make a little card or something to tuck in their stocking noting it...but, as usual, the guys didn't grok it, so only the girls did it. I was interested to see what the others would choose. we did the Food Bank, the Epilepsy Center, and the Hearing Center, all of them near and dear to our family. maybe next year we'll do better. ;p

posted by nana on Dec 27, 2007 at 08:25:14 pm     #  

I think the idea is commendable, though some recipients might not appreciate the thoughtful gesture. I agree that bouncing the idea around first is a good idea; perhaps it could be a family project in which everyone participates in a giving charitable gift, so that no one is left out.

You also should develop some understanding about gearing money toward apolitical organizations, so that, say, a diehard global warming skeptic doesn't find himself "giving" to a group like Greenpeace.

Harmony in the family trumps making overt political statements, in my book.

posted by historymike on Dec 27, 2007 at 09:32:49 pm     #  

My kids (who are both under 10 years) and I rang the bell for a few hours for the Salvation Army this holiday season. My 6 year old son suggested that we make it an annual tradition and do something every month to help people in need as a family activity. I'll let you know what we decide to do.

posted by corky on Dec 27, 2007 at 09:58:28 pm     #  

Nothin like giving a gift and then telling the recipient what they have to do with it. Thats not a gift in my book. That is more about the giver wanting to look charitable.

posted by swantucky on Dec 29, 2007 at 09:25:59 am     #  

As well as forcing their ideas onto others.

posted by swantucky on Dec 29, 2007 at 09:26:30 am     #  

Try making gift donations for all your friends, family, and co-workers to The Human Fund. Can't go wrong there! ;)

posted by mom2 on Dec 29, 2007 at 12:00:21 pm     #  

One year for Christmas we donated to Hospice of NWO in my mom's name in memory of my deceased father. My mom was visibly moved by the donation. We also gave her a sweater and some pictures of the kids in frames, but I could see that the gift that touched her heart was the donation to hospice.

posted by corky on Dec 30, 2007 at 12:37:28 am     #  

Gifts are supposed to be what brings joys to the recipient. As in Corky's case, the donation to Hospice was something that gave their mother joy.

A gift to a charity selected by the giver may or may not give joy to the recipient. The best gifts are the ones given with thought to the interests of the recipient, imho...and that has nothing to do with monetary value, either.

The best gift at our family 'dirty santa' gift exchange was the 'gift of time to do a scrapbook.'

posted by MaggieThurber on Dec 30, 2007 at 10:42:18 am     #  

May I ask ? "Dirty Santa?"

posted by corky on Dec 30, 2007 at 11:14:51 pm     #  

Sorry, Corky...It's a gift exchange game - sort of.

Everyone brings a wrapped present and then we all draw numbers for the order of who picks first.

#1 picks out a present and opens it. #2 can either 'steal' that present or pick a new one. If your present is 'stolen' you get to either steal one yourself or open a new one. This goes on until every present is opened and everyone has their present.

The only rule is that you cannot 'steal' the present just taken from you. When you've got spouses and children playing, it gets quite interesting, as they often gang up to acquire a sought-after gift.

We've done this for several years and really enjoy it. The iHome (for playing the iPod) was particularly popular with all the kids as the wine decanter and wine was with the adults.

We set a limit of no more than $35, but as I said in the original post, the best gift of the night was the 'gift of time' (from my sis-in-law who's really creative) to do a scrapbook of a special event. We got that one and are really excited about having our wedding photos done.

posted by MaggieThurber on Dec 31, 2007 at 10:23:37 am     #  

Actually Maggie, we do that with a group of women in the neighborhood where I live. This year the most "fought after" gift was a few bottles of JLohr wine.

I love the idea of doing the scrapbook.

posted by corky on Jan 01, 2008 at 10:45:36 pm     #