You can send a card or an ecard to friends and relatives which tells them about the gift that has been bought in their name. I'd much rather know the huge difference a small amount of money has made, rather than receive something I don't need.
I don't want to sound like a miserable old Scrooge, and I know those of you with small children will always want to make it special for them, but after my grandmother died we found a drawer full of gift sets we'd given her that she'd never even opened. I also remember getting to know a family one Christmas, and I learned that the grandmother liked a certain brand of dark chocolates. When she opened them in front of her family, they all chimed in and said, "But Fererro Rocher are your favourites!" This gave her the opportunity to admit that they weren't!
You can save your own grandparents from receiving presents they can't use in their lifetime, or things they don't even like, by having a chat and listening to what they really need. I'm sure you'll find they'll be happy with a big hug, and knowing they can help others less fortunate.
There are around 100 million older people in developing countries surviving on less than 60 pence a day. You can help them to support themselves and their families.
Age International is a wonderful site that offers practical solutions for older people living in poverty throughout the world. You can choose to buy a chicken to supply eggs for only £5, or you can choose 10 chicks for £10.
A fruit tree can also be a source of food and income for £5, while a mosquito net for the same amount can save the loss of lives from malaria.
Many grandparents are responsible for raising their grandchildren, who have lost their parents through war or disease, and £10 can provide books for their education. This is the best way to give a child hope for the future.
Think about the hundreds of pounds and dollars that will be spent on presents, and I know you can find adults who will appreciate a small portion being given to those who will appreciate the life changing gifts charities can supply.
“It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” ~ Mother Teresa
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ~ Winston Churchill