If you’re in search of meaningful gifts this holiday season, consider giving a gift that has a lasting impact. Here are some ideas for thoughtful presents that never need to be exchanged or returned, and are rewarding to give.
Make a charitable donation. Family and friends who are passionate about social causes will appreciate your donation on their behalf. Many charitable organizations are savvy about holiday giving and publish “holiday catalogs” that describe gift levels, in terms of how they further the charity’s work. Most charities have an online presence, making it easy to do your holiday shopping from the convenience of home. Keep in mind that a gift of this kind may be tax deductible as well.
Give tickets to a charitable event. Buying and gifting tickets to charitable events are another way to make your holiday shopping do double duty for the causes you and your loved ones care about the most. A gift of this sort provides a night on the town that may include entertainment, a silent auction, dinner, and drinks.
Give socially conscious stocks. Select socially responsible companies that could positively impact the community or make a difference in an initiative that’s important to your family member or friend. You’ll be investing in a good cause while giving a gift with the potential to pay dividends and grow.
Fund an education savings plan. The cost of attendance at a four-year college has skyrocketed. Students (and their parents) will appreciate any amount that can be applied toward tuition, room and board, and textbooks. Education expenses paid directly to an institution may be tax deductible. For grandchildren who are still years away from attending college, consider contributing to a 529 savings plan in the student’s name. Contributions to a 529 savings plan are made with after-tax dollars.
Buy gift savings bonds. A savings bond is a great way to help someone establish a financial safety net or start saving toward a larger goal. The U.S. Treasury sells bonds online and requires buyers to set up an account and link it to the recipient to make a gift purchase. You’ll have the option to print a gift certificate or simply have your gift delivered electronically.
Don’t underestimate the value of a cash gift. The gift of cash is universally appreciated and gives recipients the freedom to save or spend according to their needs. The 2015 and 2016 gift tax exclusion allows individuals to give up to $14,000 per person annually without the recipient having to treat your gift as income on their tax returns.
Explore all of your options for charitable giving. Talk to a financial advisor to learn more about making financial gifts to the people, organizations and causes you care about.