How to keep the giving spirit alive
Throughout the holiday season, we’re offered countless chances to give. We’re reminded by mailers, bell ringers, requests from non-profits, and more. And, naturally, during the holidays, generosity abounds. But once the lights are down and the ornaments are packed away, it can be easy to forget that organizations continue to need our help, especially going into the cold winter months. Here are some suggestions on how to keep the giving spirit alive after the holidays.
In with the new, donate the old.
As you put away the new things you’ve received for Christmas, take out the items you’re replacing and donate them. Go through all the clothes, toys, household goods, games, everything you can, gather up what you no longer need and donate to your favorite charity. You’ll impact the lives of others in need while receiving the side benefit of decluttering.
Reset your pantry.
Throughout the holiday season, we tend to purchase a lot of grocery items, especially when we’re not sure what all we’ll need for holiday meals and parties. After all the festivities are over is a perfect time to go through your pantry and pull out items you can donate to your local food bank. Give your pantry a thorough clean and reset, bagging up all the items your family can do without. With giving traditionally lulling for food banks following the holidays, your family’s donations will be a real blessing.
Set up a giving resolution.
We’re big on January 1st at setting New Year’s Resolutions. We plan to lose weight, exercise more, spend more quality time with family, curb our spending, and much more. One meaningful resolution you can make is a commitment to giving more in 2018. The amount doesn’t have to be huge, even $5 a month given regularly to your favorite organization or nonprofit adds up, and can make a difference in the lives of others. This is especially true during the winter months when giving tends to be lower. To make sure this is one resolution you keep, you can set up automatic giving through most charities. (Note: Please do your due diligence before choosing your charity donation. Make sure that the charity legitimately puts the money where they claim it’s going – and only a reasonable amount goes to administrative costs.)
Volunteer to volunteer.
Countless organizations rely on the giving spirit to run, that is, they run primarily on volunteer help. Finding something that uses your skills and interests is easy in the realm of volunteering. There are animal rescues, charity shops, food banks, shelters for women and children, elder care, local theaters, church organizations, and many more. Giving of your time and talents is an effective way to connect with those in your community and show you truly care.
Pay it backward.
Some people refer to it as “paying it forward” but in this case, you’re paying for the person behind you, so let’s call it “pay it backward”. At the drive-thru, grocery store, or coffee shop, you can impact a stranger with the unexpected blessing of learning their order has been paid for by someone else. You never know how this act of kindness will influence another life. Even if someone looks like they don’t need the financial help, this anonymous gift says, “I noticed you. You matter. You’re valued.” It may just be what that person needs in that moment. And that is worth so much more than money.
Simply noticing people like I mentioned above is a free and beautiful way to keep the spirit of giving alive. There are people we interact with every single day that are craving the notice of someone; for someone to look at them and esteem them enough to be pleasant and smile instead of rushing along their way. This is especially true for those who spend their days doing the jobs few take the time to thank or even notice. Look around you and notice those doing things you tend to take for granted. Take a few moments to chat with them and let them know you notice them and appreciate what they do. Simply slowing down and giving of yourself in this small way keeps the spirit of giving alive and gives others the deep gift of knowing they matter.