Giving gifts during the holiday season can be a joyful activity. But it can be more than a little bit frustrating—especially if you wait until the last minute.

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to buy your loved ones. Sometimes you end up buying something they don’t need. Or worse, something they already have.

This year, CollegeCounts is here to help. At least when it comes to shopping for your little ones. CollegeCounts GiftED is our online gift-giving platform, and it’s easy to make a gift that will help the beneficiary achieve their college goals.

To encourage family members or friends to contribute to your beneficiary, the first step is a simple one: Open an account! If you’re the owner of an existing CollegeCounts account, you’ll find the CollegeCounts GiftED link when you log in. Once you select that option, it’s just a matter of following a few step-by-step instructions, and you can send email invitations to those who may want to contribute a gift to your child’s account.

The contributor will use the information provided in the email invitation to either make an electronic contribution directly to your account or they can mail a check to us for your beneficiary. GiftED will track all of the contribution dates, contribution amounts, and contributor names so that you can acknowledge their generous gift contribution.

For those contributors who want to add some additional flair to their gift, CollegeCounts offers a couple different options when it comes to gift presentation. A variety of printable gift coupons and certificates are available as editable PDFs made for different occasions. And if you’d prefer a high-quality greeting card, GiftED has an assortment of 4×6 cards (envelopes included!) available to order by phone.

If your friends and family with small children don’t have a CollegeCounts account yet, encourage them to start today (and let them know you are interested in making a gift contribution through GiftED)! The holiday season is the perfect time to open a new account, and it’s nice to get a head start with a few gift contributions.

Your children are probably getting way too many toys this holiday season anyway, right? Instead of having friends and family add more stuff to the toy chest, ask them to contribute to your CollegeCounts 529 account. They’ll still get that warm, fuzzy feeling—and when your children start their college journey, it’ll mean even more.