My sister celebrated her 25th birthday a few weeks ago. Although we’re very close – some have even said we share the same brain – I had no idea what to get her. I shopped, and shopped some more and just could not find the perfect gift. Finally I settled on an oh, so sexy top and some swanky necklaces to match. Not the most thoughtful gift ever – or the most practical; the girl already has enough shirts and necklaces. But it looked like something she’d wear and look great in, and she ended up liking it, so I guess my gift was a success, right? Well, yes, but I found out a mutual friend of ours out-did me.

Normally I wouldn’t think twice if someone spent more than me on a gift, or found that hidden gem I couldn’t. It’s the thought that counts, right? Exactly. But that’s just it – our friend did put more thought into this birthday gift. What do you get for the girl who has everything? Make a donation to your favorite charity in the recipient’s name. Genius. That’s what she did – she made a donation to Operation Smile, a volunteer non-profit organization that travels the globe to repair childhood facial deformities.

I cannot wait for the next opportunity to do this. Instead of purchasing the annual gift just for the sake “giving,” I’m going to start researching charitable organizations that fit with the personalities and interests of my friends and family. Imagine the smiles.