One of the best things about the Christmas season is the reminder that giving is better than receiving. The pleasure of watching others open gifts hints at how the nature of joy itself is a shared experience, not a hoarded one.
Have you considered how you might give a little (or a lot) extra this year? I have some suggestions for you—and it turns out that some of them might even help you not have to give as much to Uncle Sam next year, so be sure to chat with your tax professional. Here they are:
Financially support or volunteer at a local food bank. Homelessness continues to affect many communities and they can often use a generous wallet and extra hands.
Give to disaster relief organizations. Every year, emergency situations strike nationally faster than anyone can keep up with, and organizations like the American Red Cross is a well-known 501(c)(3) that seeks to meet those urgent needs.
If you give to a local church regularly, consider giving more. Like many organizations, churches have been impacted by the pandemic too and may need extra funds.
Put some of your money to work in justice organizations. For example, the International Justice Mission combats human trafficking and slavery, violence against women and children, and police abuse of power.
Donate a vehicle. This can be easy to forget, but instead of selling or turning in an unused vehicle, why not give it to a friend, family member, or charitable organization that might need it?
Set up an account for or write a check to your children or grandchildren. Why not do it now rather than when you are no longer here to watch them enjoy it? You might consider setting up a custodial account, an education account, or just writing them a check (they won’t argue with that).
As always, before handing your money over to any person or institution (even on the ones I mentioned above), do your due diligence. Tragically, national disaster organizations, church ministries, and individuals with a “noble cause” might pursue you in person, on the phone, or through social networking and have nefarious purposes. Don’t let your empathy override prudence.
While commercialism markets self-enhancement, Christmas reminds us that love is about self-giving. If you have been blessed with much, why not give more this year? Turns out it not only benefits the person you give to, but increases your own happiness!