Why not give a gift that gives back? Real Simple magazine just published a feature about charity websites that allow you to purchase a gift certificate, give it to a friend or loved one, and then that person can go on the site and choose where they want the money to go. These are my two favorites:
This is a website intended for children. You can choose a gift card in the amount of $10 or more, and the recipient can return to the site to decide how the money is spent. They can choose from a number of causes, from helping vaccinate children to helping people fleeing from religious persecution and war.
This site offers 33 causes to donate to. You create a card (or choose one of their designs) to send to the recipient. Causes range from adopting a snowy owl to funding field trips to supporting senior centers.
Imagine the conversations you could have as a result of this gift! Now, if I could just convince my nephew that this is more important than a PS2 game....