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.