Cost: $50 and up
Ever want a pet giraffe but didn't see eye to eye with your homeowners' association about it? If this describes your friend, check out a naming program. For as little as $50, you can "adopt" an animal for your loved one. This gift comes with a certificate of adoption and fun fact page. An additional $50 will get you a photograph of the animal, adoption bracelet and stuffed animal. The Greater Los Angeles Zoo has a similar initiative that takes the concept a step further and allows you to name the animal, but at a minimum of $1,000, this program may stretch the holiday budget.
Other naming and adoption programs exist for areas of the rainforest and coral reefs starting at as little as $50 per acre. As long as you choose a not-for-profit charity, this gift should provide an added bonus of increasing your charitable giving for the year. In light of the "fiscal cliff" negotiations, it may be wise to lock in this charitable donation now in case Washington decides to pare down the amount you can claim next year.