12/25/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Good Gifting - Philanthropy For Frugal Times

We all know what re-gifting is -- passing on a gift that was given to you. Think of all those unwrapped secret Santa presents, sweaters that don't fit, baby gear, and fruitcakes. "Good gifting" is the feel good equivalent of re-gifting. It involves giving a philanthropic gift in someone else's name or giving them the choice of a charitable donation instead of giving them more "stuff."

This idea has been around for awhile. Hints of it appeared last year around this time, but the new hipness of frugality may be the catalyst this kind of behavior needs. Consider The Dalio Family Foundation's promotion of "Redefine Christmas." As the site notes:

Redefine Christmas is neither commercial venture, nor money-maker. It's simply a charitable idea, shared by many, that our holiday gift giving could be more meaningful and do more good. In addition to the gifts we enjoy shopping for and giving, we're often compelled to give gifts that aren't so meaningful. Imagine if we replaced those gifts by giving others donations to their favorite charities. And we just request that others do the same for us.

It's easy too. Check out

"Consider that the amount of money spent on candy alone during the holiday season is greater than the annual budgets of the American Cancer Society, The American Heart Association and Habitat for Humanity combined."