For the girls in your life:
New Moon Magazine: As I wrote before, New Moon magazine is a great, girl-driven (girls write the stories and serve on the board) magazine that is an antidote to the magazines that drive parents crazy. If you purchase one membership any additional ones are 50% off! So get one for your daughter and her BFF so they can read and discuss.
For the women in your life:
Our Bodies, Ourselves: The folks behind the classic women's health handbook/encyclopedia aren't just churning out books for us to hand to our sisters, they are also blogging and advocating for our health care rights.
For our canine best friends:
Dachshund Rescue of North America: Two and a half years ago I made the mistake of saying "Sure.... let's go meet this dog." As soon as Annie looked up at us I knew she was a part of our family. She was rescued from a pound after her original owner either died or became too old to care for the doxie. Annie spent a few months in a foster home and the adoption fee we paid didn't come close to covering the expense of caring for Annie until she found us.
For the media junkies:
make/shift: This magazine creates and documents contemporary feminist culture and action by publishing journalism, critical analysis, and visual and text art. Made by an editorial collective committed to antiracist, transnational, and queer perspectives, make/shift embraces the multiple and shifting identities of feminist communities. I know, that's a mouthful and it is not an easy reading magazine. This is a gift suitable for that person in your life who you know wants to curl up with a cuppa and get lost in deep thought.
Women In Media & News: I have served on the board of this media organization for quite some time. It's a triple threat - quadruple if you count our executive director, who is writing a book on reality TV - that does media analysis, education and advocacy. WIMN is a small nonprofit that has big plans for 2010.
For the history buffs:
CWLU Herstory Fundraiser: Ever watch those TV shows about child stars grown up? Or reunion shows? Ever wonder what came of all those women's lib protests and demands? The Chicago Women's Liberation Union Herstory Project can tell you. To support their ongoing effort to maintain Chicago's local women's history, you can buy vintage posters, buttons and t-shirts.
There are ton of other places that I could list here for you to give money to or buy an item from. Hopefully if you don't send your cash to these places, they will spark that memory you have. Perhaps instead of make/shift you send your super cool aunt a subscription to Bitch? Or support a local no-kill animal organization?
So why not put some good causes on your holiday list this year? You can donate in the name of someone you'd typically buy a gift for, and everyone wins. No matter where you send your money, know that you'll be supporting some awesome work and for the most part, there will be nothing to wrap in wasteful glossy paper.