I belong to a largish clan, well-scattered over the 50 US states, and [mostly] we all like each other. We [mostly] all like each other enough to enjoy exchanging Christmas presents.
But with dozens of cousins and such all over the West, Midwest, Alaska, Hawaii, and even that outpost of civilization, Washington DC, I was spending beaucoup bucks on presents, wrappings, boxing and shipping.
We're all more or less middle class, comfortably well off, and can usually go out and buy whatever we want. Besides, none of us needs more stuff.
So, several years ago, we all decided to take whatever money we wanted to spend on a person and donate that amount to the charity of that person's choice. Or to the charity of our own choosing, if our loved one[s] expressed no particular preference.
My wish list this year:
adopt a panther
adopt a kid
set somebody free
help somebody live their final days as well as possible
If you would like to donate to a charity, but wonder if your money will be used wisely, you can always check them out on the web:
even the government [FTC] is watching out for us