According to a recent gift-giving survey by World Vision, a national non-profit that focuses on relieving poverty, 4 out of 5 adults in the U.S. hope to receive a meaningful gift this holiday season, rather than a useless trinket. The survey also showed that more than 7 out of 10 Americans plan to spend less on gifts. But surprisingly, more than half of those surveyed said that even in the current economic climate, they're more likely to give a "charitable gift," something that helps other people this year, instead of a traditional "material" gift like clothing or gadgets.

Money is tight all around the U.S. this year. But you don't have to spend a cent to give a gift that shows how much you care. Here are five meaningful gifts to share with your loved ones this holiday season.

  1. As a family, select a charitable organization that you'd like to support, and make a donation online.
  2. Consider do-it-yourself gifts (for teachers or friends) that you can make with your children.
  3. Lend a hand to a neighbor by shoveling their sidewalk or delivering hot chocolate.
  4. Give the gift of your time and set aside a few hours to volunteer as a family at your local charity.
  5. Buy gift certificates for friends to do family-friendly activities like going to the movies or ice-skating.
5 meaningful gifts for the holidays
You don't have to spend a cent to give the gift of holiday spirit.