While it’s not clear how children feel about this trend, statistics indicate that Canadians are increasingly donating to charities on behalf of gift-recipients instead of spending cash on a traditional gift.  Below is an article summarizing a survey conducted by BMO on Canadian gift-giving:

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Marketwire - Wednesday, December 19, 2012

REPEAT-The Gift of Giving: BMO Holiday Study Finds Canadians loving Away from Traditional Giving  

  • Almost two-thirds would opt for a donation made on their behalf rather than receiving a holiday gift - More than three-quarters like the idea of making a charitable donation on someone else's behalf instead of giving a present - Almost half of Canadians volunteered in 2012  

TORONTO, ONTARIO, Dec 19, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- This holiday season, many Canadians are opting for charitable giving rather than handing over a traditional gift-wrapped present to family, friends and colleagues.  

According to a study issued today by BMO Harris Private Banking, almost two-thirds of Canadians (62 per cent) say they would prefer having someone make a donation on their behalf instead of receiving a gift.  

The study, which examined donating and volunteering in Canada, revealed that a growing number of Canadians are open to changing the concept of holiday gift-giving. Other key findings include:

  • More than three-quarters (78 per cent) say they would consider making acharitable donation on someone else's behalf instead of giving atangible gift.
  • Almost half (45 per cent) volunteered over the past year.  

"It says a lot that many Canadians are moving away from the traditional idea of gift-giving and becoming more creative about what and how they give," said Marvi Ricker, Vice President and Managing Director, Philanthropic Services, BMO Harris Private Banking. "Many of us are fortunate and have everything we need, yet during the holiday season we put together our wish lists. Donating to a charity, on the other hand, is a win-win situation because both the giver and the receiver benefit by knowing they're playing a role in contributing to a worthwhile cause."  

"It's also important to keep in mind that giving back to your community doesn't only have to be about money," added Ms. Ricker. "Volunteering during the holidays and throughout the year is a great alternative to tangible presents, especially if you have a tight budget. It also teaches children and teenagers valuable life lessons about responsibility."  

BMO Harris Private Banking offers the following tips to keep in mind when giving to others this holiday season:  

Consider the Recipient's Interests: Do you know what issues matter to the person on whose behalf you're making the donation? Does he/she volunteer with a particular organization? Aligning your donation with the recipient's interests will make your charitable gift that much more meaningful and appreciated. Beware of Fraudulent Charities: If you are solicited for a donation by phone, ask for the charity's registered name, address and telephone number and offer to make a donation online. Then verify with the Canada Revenue Agency that the organization is a registered charity or is affiliated with one. If everything checks out, write a cheque and address it to the charity rather than the soliciting individual.  

Obtain a Tax Receipt: Always ask for proof that your contribution has been submitted. Not only will this benefit you at tax time, but an official receipt also ensures the charity is properly registered. Consider having the tax receipt sent to the person on whose behalf you are donating, as they will get both the honour and the tax benefit.

  Volunteer Your Time: If you have a few hours or days to spare, take the opportunity to volunteer during the holiday season to help people in need.

For more information, please visit: http://www.bmo.com/harrisprivatebanking. Get the latest BMO press releases via Twitter by following @BMOmedia.  

The surveys conducted by Pollara were completed between November 2 and November 9, 2012 and between December 6 and December 10, 2012, each with a sample of 1,000 Canadians 18 years of age and older. Probability samples of this size would yield results accurate to +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.