All the adults in my family agreed this year that they don’t want any more stuff in their lives at this point. So instead of buying them gifts, my Cool Tool for the holidays is Oxfam’s Unwrapped project: I buy a gift in someone’s name, they get a card, I get a tax deduction, and someone in a developing country gets a goat, some chickens, a school desk and chair, some text books, or something else they really need. While I imagine a portion of my donation goes to fund overhead at Oxfam, they are one of the more efficient charities around. Based on what I’ve read, and heard from acquaintances who work there, most of the money I give them is being put to direct use.
[We asked our readers what cool tools they are giving to their friends and families this year. Here is one in a series this week of suggested gifts mentioned in the comments that we are highlighting on the front page. Submit your own recommendation in the comments. -- ES]