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If you’re looking for a gift that’s quick yet still different and meaningful, consider this: Make a donation to a cause you care about, in the names of people you care about, then commemorate the gift with an ornament that symbolizes the donation.

This year, we made a donation to a local food pantry in honor of several people at our daughter’s school, and we marked the donation by giving each person a wreath ornament festooned with fabric fruits and veggies. In the past, we “adopted” polar bears through a wildlife fund, and gave all the grandparents glass polar bear ornaments. Another year we donated money to buy beehives and chickens for families in developing countries, and gave various friends and relatives beautiful gourd ornaments depicting, of course, bees and chickens.

In all these cases, I’ve been lucky to find unique, appropriate ornaments at a local store that sells fair-trade goods from artisans all over the world. But I’ve also seen neat ornaments in artists’ co-ops, museum stores and quirky neighborhood shops. These gifts are always well-received, and I feel better keeping the “stuff” to a minimum.

Wishing you, yours and everyone a merry and happy holiday season!


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