Maybe it's because I have really good parents, but I've always had a difficult time buying into the commercialized versions of popular holidays. I wrote a journal entry when I was 11 where I tried to describe holidays from the perspective of an alien who just arrived at earth and was reporting it's observations back to it's home planet (I was that kind of 12 year old...). I lost that journal (sadly), but I remember how absurd the descriptions of our holiday customs sounded when taken out of the context of "Christmas" or "Thanksgiving"... (Sitting on a fat stranger's lap and telling him our deepest desires? Awkward.)
I do, however, REALLY enjoy giving gifts to my friends and family. I especially like making things to give as gifts, but I've found myself busier this holiday season than ever before... So I NEED to go shopping. Which is tough when you have a LONG list and money is tight. I had considered making donations to personally relevant charities for everyone on my list, but admittedly, it's nice to be able to physically hand something to someone, as a gesture of your love and appreciation.
Q: What's a girl to do who's torn between giving her savings to worthwhile causes and buying Christmas presents?
A: Buying gifts through an organization that supports those charities she was going to contribute to anyways! DUH!
Change.org has created a FANTASTIC holiday gift guide highlighting organizations that support a tremendous variety of causes who sell holiday gifts that let you give to your loved ones AND give to those in need.