Every year over the holidays we spend billions of dollars on presents, travel, events, food and more while millions of people in developing communities around the world are forced to scrape by with the bare minimum necessities. Scaling back your holiday season just a little bit or substituting just one of the gifts that you give each year as a charitable donation can have a big impact on someone’s life somewhere else in the world.

It takes a surprisingly small amount of money to make a real impact in a community. For just a few dollars you could provide somebody with the vaccines that are required to save a life, or the money that someone ended up developing community needs to get access to clean drinking water or their next meal. There are many great programs that you can donate to over the holidays as well as some great products that are available where portions of your proceeds will go to needy charities around the world. Consider these as gift options or take the time to ask for donations to a charity of your choice in lieu of one of your Christmas gifts.

Every year we seem to spend so much extra money on gifts that simply are appreciated, or are consumed almost immediately. Rather than spending this extra money this holidays why not send it to a program that can really use it and a person who is truly in need.

My husband, Paul O’Reilly-Hyland and I challenge you to start small this year and pick a charity that is close to your heart, whether it’s providing medical aid, medical research, help with education in developing nations or donating money to sick and needy animals around the world, pick something that you feel will make an impact and that you are passionate about. Ask the people on your wish list to give a small donation in their name or in your name to a charity of your choice and see the impact that you can make.

If even a small percentage of the billions of dollars that we spend on holiday spending one into philanthropy we could do a lot of good in developing communities around the world. Many social programs exist to make an impact on our world and they have had favorable results and changed communities for the better. With your support even the smallest donation could change a developing community forever.