Here is just a small selection of ideas, but apart from Kiva and UNVolunteers they are mainly UK- or US-based (also accessible from elsewhere).
Please do share your ideas from around the world too!
Sending greetings cards…
Macmillan Cancer Support improves the lives of people affected by cancer. They provide support, not only for patients who live with cancer, but also carers, families and communities. The charity also aims to be a force for change, and to fight discrimination. There is a selection of e-cards for all sorts of occasions.
The Multiple Sclerosis Trust is a UK charity, providing information for anyone affected by multiple sclerosis, education programmes for health professionals, funding for practical research and campaigning for specialist multiple sclerosis services. Their vision is to enable people with MS to live their lives to the full. You can send an e-card and make an optional donation of any amount. The e-card will also help publicize the charity’s work.
Through Kiva (see this post about volunteering or lending with them), you can send a friend a gift voucher of money so that they can ‘invest’ in helping entrepreneurs in need in developing countries with microfinance loans.
Donating time, money or even puppies…
Legal Information for Families Today (LIFT) aims to enhance access to justice for children and families by providing legal information, community education, and compassionate guidance, while promoting system-wide reform of the courts and public agencies. Based in New York, they also give multilingual assistance, so those with language, translation, computing, graphic design or legal skills may be able to help.
With UN Volunteers (see this post for more details about volunteering with them) you can donate as much time as you can manage, via the Internet – writing, editing, translating, project management, IT, training and even assisting with legal issues.
And lastly, to counter all those unwanted pet presents that happen at this time of the year, why not sponsor a puppy and change a blind person’s life? Guide Dogs for the Blind (they have a sister organization in the US & Canada) also offer gifts.