Don't worry... I'm not talking about that gift.
Meet Kiva - the world's first person-to-person micro-lending web site. Inspired by Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, who started giving poor people in his native Bangladesh loans to start small businesses, co-founders Matt and Jessica Flannery created a nonprofit organization set to accomplish the same task.
You can browse by category and handpick the person/enterprise to contribute to. You can compare currency rates, receive periodic updates showing the impact of your loan, and when you receive a repayment, you may withdraw the funds or sponsor a new entrepreneur. The success rates are incredible, and built upon the simple, but smart principle of "why give a man food when you can teach him how to fish."
I received a $50 gift certificate for my birthday, and can't think of a more useful gift to give to friends and family members for the holidays this year. I loaned $25 to a Sudanese woman running a food market in hopes of paying for her children's education, and another $25 to a family in Nicaragua working to improve the conditions of their home. I'll keep you updated on their progress!