Maira Kalman
Maira Kalman

A few years ago, I discovered that the holiday gift my friends treasured most was a simple card telling them that I’d given a donation in their name to a charity. They were happy NOT to get more stuff, and be given something that was helping someone else. It was a way I could give to people who really need it AND the people I care about, without getting into the crazy shopping thing, and spending more money than I have.

It’s really easy: you choose a charity,  send them money (via charge card online, or check), select the card you like and fill out a form; they send you the cards. Most charities ask for a minimum of $3 per card so that’s the bottom line “generous donation”. All you have to do is sign the card (and write a personal note if you feel like it) and address and stamp the envelopes. Or wrap the card as a present (check here Tuesday for ‘Unwrapping the Holidays’, part of a special NYC Bloggers 2009 Holiday Guide). The cards can be really charming, like Maira Kalman’s gorgeous angel that graces the Robin Hood Foundation‘s gift card…


…and really unique, like 12-year-old student Rose Ellen Moynihan’s design for The Perkins School for the Blind

Rose Ellen Moynihan
Rose Ellen Moynihan

If you’re having trouble figuring out an organization to give to, go to Cards That Give, to select from over 100 charities.

If you’ve found illumination, joy, or inspiration in this post, please consider supporting Improvised Life. It only takes a minute to make a secure donation that helps pay our many costs. A little goes a long way towards helping Improvised Life continue to live ad-free in the world.

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One thought on “double-duty gifts with heart (and a card)

  1. I agree that charity cards or another such gift is a great present during the holiday season. It’s one thing you can be sure to get for the person who has everything.

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