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The Gift of Giving: 10 Ways To Be Charitable this Holiday Season
We all know the holidays are a time for giving. This year, why not celebrate the season by choosing a gift that really makes a difference?
Charitable gift-giving is one of the best ways to spread generosity, kindness, and good cheer this time of year. After all, it’s not the “getting” that’s important, it’s sharing our good fortune with friends and neighbors in need. Whether they’re here in our communities or around the world, everyone should know joy and hope this season.
Generosity is good for us. It’s said to raise levels of happiness and emotional well-being. It can also help make tax time a little less painful. As long as you itemize your deductions, a donation will help reduce your taxable income. If that’s your ultimate goal, however, be sure to consult with a tax advisor before you write a check.
Whether you make a donation for the tax benefit or because it warms your heart, there are lots of ways to be charitable. To help, we’ve rounded up a few ideas. Here are ten ways to give the gift of generosity this season:
Help when it’s needed most
The American Red Cross donors, volunteers, and employees work to prevent and relieve suffering during emergencies, collect life-saving blood, support America’s military families, and so much more! You can honor friends and family with a gift that helps those when they need it most.
Sponsor a family
Find an Adopt-A-Family program through the Salvation Army, local charities, religious organizations, or your workplace. If you feel like a family may be too big of a commitment to manage on your own, ask others to join the cause. The more people that participate, the greater joy your gift will bring.
Buy goods that do good
Consider buying from a retailer who donates a portion of their sales to a charity. For example, buy LUSH’s hand and body lotion, Charity Pot. You’ll be pleased to know that 100% of the price (minus the taxes) supports causes like human rights, animal protection, and environmental justice. Not only will your sister (mother, girlfriend, daughter) love her gift, she’ll appreciate the contribution to a cause that’s close to her heart. Here’s a list of companies and products that share the wealth with worthy causes and help make the world a better place.
Time is just as valuable
Charities are always willing to accept cash donations, but sometimes donating your time is even better. Consider volunteering at a soup kitchen. They need help with preparation, serving, cleanup, and whatever else it takes to feed those in need. Stock shelves at your local food pantry or help deliver meals on wheels. Sometimes a smiling face and a helping hand is worth more than money in the bank.
Donate your stocks or bonds
Donating a portion of your portfolio may get you a bigger bang for your buck. If a stock has increased in value since you bought it more than a year ago (and if you itemize deductions), you can take a charitable deduction for the stock’s fair market value on the day you donate it. You’ll also avoid capital-gains taxes on the appreciation. Check out the five things you should know about gifting stock here.
Gift your frequent flyer miles
Are you a frequent flyer? Maybe you’ve accumulated more than too many miles, or are in danger of losing miles that are getting ready to expire. Consider donating them to a charity like the Make-A-Wish® Foundation. Every mile you donate will help kids and their families travel to destinations around the world. It’s just one simple way you can help share the power of a wish.
Send care packages to our troops
Let our servicemen and women know they’re being remembered during the holidays by sending a care package. Treat the Troops and Any Soldier are organizations that coordinate ways to give to our deployed soldiers. It’s a great way to let them know how much we appreciate their service and their sacrifice.
Give a charity gift card
When you make a donation in someone else’s name, you’d like for it to be a charity that’s important to them. Now, you can honor them by donating to the cause they’re most passionate about. Give the gift of good at tisbest.org, and the recipient can choose from among 300 charities to allocate the money. It’s a win-win!
Buy gifts through Amazon Smile
Knock out that holiday list by shopping on the Amazon Smile website. You’ll find the same prices and products as Amazon.com, but they’ll donate 0.5% of the price to your favorite charity. It’s a simple way for you to support your favorite organization every time you shop.
Create a gift registry
If you don’t need another holiday tie or pair of slippers, create your own gift registry at MyRegistry.com. List your favorite charities and ask your family and friends to make a donation in your name. Not only is it a great way to support a cause, but it may also inspire some others to consider a charitable registry too.
There are many opportunities to donate to a charity or a cause that inspires you. It doesn’t need to be limited to the holidays, either. There are always people in need, so think about being generous throughout the year. When you donate goods, services, time, or talent, you not only impact others’ lives, you also bring more meaning to yours.
Keeping Your Cool: Fun Atlanta Winter Activities for the Whole Family
Winter is here, and with it comes the age-old question: What can you do for fun? Going outside isn’t nearly as appealing as it was a few months ago, and you can only watch so many reruns before your eyes begin to glaze over. But don’t worry – we have some ideas on ways you can make this chilly season fun for the whole family.
Go See the Sights – and the Lights
Many people in your community have already gotten a head start on their outdoor Christmas decorations, and you can expect even more of your neighbors to follow suit. This is the perfect opportunity to create your own special tour of local neighborhoods to check out all of the amazing light displays in the area.
If you’re ready for some even more amazing demonstrations of holiday lighting, head over to Callaway Gardens to view their annual Fantasy in Lights display. The best part about this experience is that it is a driving tour, so even on the chilliest evenings, you can still take your time and enjoy upwards of eight million lights arranged especially for the holidays.
Break out the Skates
Are you looking for ways to get some of that pent-up energy out? You definitely won’t want to miss the chance to go ice skating – especially on the South’s largest ice skating rink. Atlantic Station’s “Skate the Station” is already in full swing, and you can stop by anytime to test your ice skating skills. They even have special extended hours throughout December, so you can make an evening out of racing friends or family to see who is truly the skating champion.
If you want to mix things up, you can also try The Rink at Park Tavern, located in Piedmont Park. This rink opened on Thanksgiving and will be available through January, so skate on over and see if it’s a good fit for your family. This venue also offers free skating for those who dress up in Steampunk attire after 8:00 pm, along with skating for only those who 16 years of age and older after 8:30 PM. Whether you are planning a date night or just want to change up your routine, the ice rink needs to be on your list of things to do.
Take in a Show
Everyone knows that one of the best Christmas classics is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. You’ve probably seen the movie a dozen times – but have you seen it performed live with puppets? The Center for Puppetry Arts is once again presenting its annual Rudolph puppet show, which is a faithful adaptation of the movie you know so well. Children of all ages will enjoy seeing these characters come to life, and there are also crafts and activities available after the show to enrich your experience.
Sometimes getting out in the winter can be difficult, especially when it involves finding everyone’s coats and mittens. But it’s easy to turn a night at home into a holiday experience all by itself. Find a new movie you haven’t seen or look for one of your favorite holiday specials, and sit down with the whole family to watch it together. This is also a great chance to break out the hot chocolate and the snacks you’ve been eyeing at the grocery store. When your movie is finished, take the time to ask your family what they loved most about it – and to tell them to think about what they want to watch for your next movie night!
Try Something New!
This winter season, make it a goal to mix up your routine. Take a pottery class, learn to sew, try your hand at painting on canvas – there are dozens of options available right in your own community. Don’t worry about becoming an expert in just a few short months. Instead, commit to finishing a project or class that will help you learn something you’ve never done before.
Taking on a totally new skill can be daunting, but you don’t have to do it alone! Ask some friends to join you and try out your new activity together. You might go on a bike tour of the city, or learn to cook your favorite meal. Whatever you do, just have one rule: Make it fun!
Winter is here – but that doesn’t mean you have to wait for summer to enjoy yourself again. In fact, we think winter can be just as fun as any other season. Use this cool weather to find new ways to enjoy yourself and stay warm out there!
15 Fun Activities to Enjoy in Atlanta’s Summer Sun
It may be hot and humid in Atlanta, but that’s no reason to stay indoors. Here’s a list of summer attractions, activities, and adventures that are so cool, you won’t even think about the heat. Round up your family or friends and head outdoors!
1. Atlanta Balloon Glow (August 1-4, 2019)
The first-ever Atlanta Balloon Glow event will take place in Piedmont Park. These giant hot air balloons will light up the night, surrounded by the best food vendors, shopping, and activities for the entire family. General admission is free and tethered balloon rides are available for $20 per person. Grab a picnic blanket and enjoy a magical night gazing at the stunning colors and the amazing designs. It’s fun for the entire family!
2. Porsche Drive and Dine (August 7, 2019)
Porsche’s Drive and Dine event is a “power-lunch” for the modern woman with a 30-minute Drive Experience. In this thrilling yet compact 75-minute program, you’ll enjoy an unforgettable driving experience and a prix fixe lunch at the Porsche restaurant, 365. You’ll have the opportunity to drive a 2-door vehicle and a 4-door vehicle, a taste for both ends of their model line, and opportunity to network with other like-minded women. Can you say GIRL POWER?
3. Dirty South Yoga Fest (August 9-11, 2019)
Calling all yogis! The Dirty South Yoga Fest is a weekend yoga festival featuring 50 classes, local yoga instructors, vendors, food trucks, wellness brands, spa treatments, energetic work, conscious shopping and all of your new yoga friends! Grab a friend and buy a one-, two-, or three-day pass to the best yoga event of the year!
4. Decatur BBQ & Blues and Bluegrass Festival (August 10, 2019)
The 19th annual Decatur BBQ Blues & Bluegrass Festival will once again bring the sights, sounds, and smells of classic southern BBQ along with 7+ hours of original live blues and bluegrass music from aspiring and accomplished artists o Decatur, Georgia. This is a family-friendly event that is fun for all ages. This year, the event will be held at their new and much cooler location, Legacy Park in East Decatur.
5. Zoo Atlanta: Keeper for a Day (August 10, 2019)
Ever wanted to work in a Zoo? Keeper for a Day is an exciting program at Zoo Atlanta that gives teens and adults a firsthand look at working in a zoo. Come spend the day helping zookeepers with their daily routines of food preparation, cleaning, and animal care. Whether you’re considering a career in zookeeping or have always wanted to spend some time with your favorite animal, this exclusive behind-the-scenes program is a once in a lifetime experience.
6. Piedmont Park Arts Festival 2019 (August 17-18, 2019)
The Piedmont Park Summer Arts Festival is a 2-day outdoor event with an emphasis on visual arts and family fun. This is the ideal summer festival to enjoy the outdoors, browse the art and crafts, and appreciate the beauty of Atlanta’s largest park. The event will feature up to 250 painters, photographers, sculptors, leather and metalwork, glass blowers, jewelers, and crafters. It will also offer artist demonstrations, live acoustic music, an Emerging Artists Pavilion, a children’s play area, and festival foods and beverages. Best of all, admission is free!
7. EastLake Golf Club Tour Championship (August 21-25, 2019)
The TOUR Championship is the culminating event of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedEx Cup, with only the top 30 players on the points list qualifying each year. East Lake Golf Club has been the permanent home of the TOUR Championship since 2005. Daily grounds tickets, college student tickets, weekly tickets, and family plan tickets are available now and complimentary grounds access is available to all Active Duty, Reserve, or Retired Military.
8. Grant Park Summer Shade Festival 2019 (August 24-25, 2019)
For more than a decade, Atlanta art and music lovers have flocked to Grant Parkeach August to bid adieu to summer at the Summer Shade Festival. It’s two days of outdoor fun, including a 5K run, food trucks, craft beer, an entertaining Kids Zone, and a music line up that gets better every year.
9. Stone Mountain Yellow Daisy Festival (September 5-8, 2019)
The annual Yellow Daisy Festival was voted one of the top arts & crafts shows in the nation. With its more than 400 artists, potters, painters, jewelers, crafters, and woodworkers from 35 different states, it’s one of the largest shows in the southeast. Enjoy strolling along the two miles of craft booths, listening to live entertainment, tasting the fabulous festival foods, and watching the crafter demonstrations throughout the event. It’s a family festival, so bring the whole crew for a day full of fun!
10. Stone Mountain Segway PT Tours (Through October, 2019)
Take a ride on your very own Segway PT through historic Stone Mountain Park. Surrounded by beautiful lakes, lush treescapes, and the largest exposed granite carving in the United States, this tour will take you on a 5-mile guided loop around the Mountain. Get ready for stunning scenery and interesting fun facts and trivia about Stone Mountain Park!
11. Stone Mountain’s Rockin’ Land and Lake Tour (Through November 10, 2019)
The Rockin’ Land & Lake Tour is a guided, interactive journey through Stone Mountain Park. Each family-friendly trip is a high-energy, 40-minute journey that begins with a tour around the park on an open-top, double-decker bus, followed by a sightseeing cruise around the lake on a pontoon boat. It’s a day full of adventure on wheels and water, so grab the fam and go!
12. Ponce City Market Food History and Street Art Tour (Through December, 2019)
Eat like a local in Atlanta during this 2.5-hour guided visit to the Ponce City Market. You’ll follow your guide through the converted historic Sears, Roebuck, & Co. building that features a market hall and some of the city’s best restaurants. You’ll make eight stops at award-winning restaurants to taste food samples created by some local celebrity chefs, and take a walk down Atlanta Beltline’s Eastside Trail.
13. Wine Tasting Atlanta Journeys (Through December, 2019)
Wine Tasting Atlanta Journeys are experts at combining fun, rejuvenating outdoor activities, beautiful settings and the pleasure of fine wines. Choose from hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, golfing, archery, biking, tennis, or visiting an Amish Community, and they’ll combine it with wine tasting at one of Georgia or Tennessee’s wineries. It’s a perfect day trip for any occasion or no occasion at all.
14. Bicycle Tours of Atlanta (Year-round)
There’s simply no better way to explore this beautiful city than by bicycle. Bicycle Tours of Atlanta will lead you to the historic sites, through the beautiful intown neighborhoods and the vibrant street art scene, and introduce you to so many other hidden jewels in Atlanta. Relive the joy of feeling like a kid again with every one of their tours: Fall in Love with Atlanta Bike Tour, “Off the Wall” Mural Tour, Sustainability in Action Bike Tour, and the Tiny Door ATL Bike Tour.
15. TopGolf (Year-round)
You’re always a winner at TopGolf, the premier entertainment destination in Alpharetta. It features dozens of climate-controlled hitting bays with HDTVs in each one, and throughout the sports bar & restaurant. Whether it’s a birthday celebration, date night, or just an afternoon of family fun, you’ll have a fabulous time—even if you’ve never swung a golf club before. Their summer promotions include unlimited games with a Summer Fun Pass, Teacher BOGO Mondays, Half-priced Tuesdays, Hertz Wednesdays, Sundays with Spirit, and many more!