For several years now, my family has decided to donate to charity in lieu of gifts to each other. We have given to Unicef, Heifer, CharityWater, to name a few. Helping someone on the other side of the world to become self-reliant feels better to me than receiving a bunch of things I really don't need. (And it saves on standing in the exchange line on December 26th.) It's much more consistent with the Christmas spirit.
Last year, I chose OxFam and I was able to donate a cow, which is, admit it, just fun. If you donate to them today, they are matching donations until midnight (for Cyber Monday). You can donate a well for $175 or a duck for $30. I think I'm going to give a school meal program for one child. If I donate today, that's two kids
I never donate to charity without checking with Charitynavigator.org. I will likely give the bulk of my donation to CharityWater, which is scoring higher this year. Program expenses get 84% of their budget and the CEO makes $192,000. (I can't stand charity CEOs who make millions.) I recommend checking out your charity here before donating. You can even look at their list of top-rated charities if you need ideas.