Don't Buy, Donate!

In the past, I felt myself dreading the holidays or my friends’ birthdays. Though these are all joyous occasions, the pressure of finding the perfect gift is not so fun. But, there’s a better option! How can you give meaningful, environmentally-friendly and socially-responsible gifts without any of the hassle? By donating!


There’s no time like the gift-giving season to remind us that we live in a consumerist society. Now, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the act of shopping for others (or yourself!) and bringing joy to your loved ones on special events. But, if like me, you often find yourself buying gifts because you’re expected to and not because you want to or because there’s a need for it, then it may be time to reevaluate. That’s what I did.


Some introspection and honest assessment led me to the realization that I love giving gifts, but I don’t love buying a gift just for the sake of doing so. That’s when I started to experiment with other alternatives, from buying “experiences” to participating in crowdfunding campaigns; I tested out a few alternatives to physical gifts. Finally, the best and easiest solution was one close to home and my heart: Donating on behalf of my friends and family to meaningful charities, foundations or causes.

And, just because I do this doesn’t mean that I have stopped giving gifts! Now, I’m just more careful about the occasion and the purchase.


This is how to transition into making donations as gifts:


First, pick an organization to support. They could be taking on a local issue that’s important to you or support a worthy cause. There’s no wrong answer. But, an added bonus might be to know if they provide charitable gift receipts for your contribution.

Second, decide how much and how frequently you want to support them. You may decide that giving one-time donations every time you need to is what’s best. Alternatively, you could choose to automatically give smaller, monthly donations and be covered year-round for all special occasions!

Third, let your loved ones know of the good deed you’ve done on their behalf! I like to give unique cards with a hand-written letter explaining what I’ve done.


With the holidays quickly approaching, many people have already begun their shopping. If you’re looking to try something new and want to donate in the name of your family, friends or workplace, consider helping the urban forest all around us and supporting the LEAF Urban Forest Fund! We accept one-time or monthly donations and provide charitable gift receipts through the Charitable Impact Foundation.

Donate to the LEAF Urban Forest Fund


Daniela Serodio is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator at LEAF.