Does Christmas sometimes seem like an excuse to go out and enrich the big retailers? Would you rather give someone a gift that would make a meaningful difference in someone's life?
My favorite thing for the month is Kiva.org. Kiva is a really cool Micro Lending site where you can choose the person who will get your loan. Loans are aggregated - the suggested loan amount is just $25 - and then paid back (no interest, but you get the satisfaction of helping someone else for the holiday season). Then you can re-loan the money, or cash it out.
We currently have about 16 loans running on the site, and as the money comes back each month, I re-loan it to new folks.
Plus there's even an LGBT lending group you can join.
You can give Kiva gift certificates to friends and family - it's also a really cool way for kids to learn about lending and personal responsibility.
Check it out at http://www.kiva.org.