Instead of giving a scarf or slippers, you can choose from a variety of causes or search for a nonprofit to make a donation. For example, You can fill a bookshelf for $50, clothe a girl for $25, adopt a beach for $20 or another cause that the recipient cares about.
Changing The Present also has a variety of tools for nonprofits, helping nonprofits raise awareness and raise money, including some of the $250 billion that people in this country spend each year on traditional gifts. They also have a Facebook application, allowing friends to purchase $1 virtual gifts that benefit nonprofits.
I did a quick search for Boston nonprofits, but didn't find any that had an account set up.
Changing the world isn’t easy, but this is a great place to start.