Do you have a minimalist or someone who is trying to declutter on your Christmas list? A charity gift card may be the way to go. The nice thing about a charity gift card, as opposed to a donation in someone's name, is that the recipient experiences the joy of giving by selecting what project to fund.
I received two gift cards for Donors Choose, an organization that allows public school teachers to post requests for funding of particular projects and gives people like you the opportunity to fund them with small donations. When you are cash strapped, it is a tremendous psychological lift to have a chance to give and to support a worthy project. It could also be a great learning experience for children. Give them a card and the power to choose who to help.
Because arts education is important to me, and I work with classical ballet artists, it was gratifying to be able to support an inner-city school that wanted a ballet barre to add classical dance to its performing arts program.
Two similar organizations (I have not tried them personally) Charity Choice and Network for Good.
If you have suggestions for others, please post in the comments.