Volunteer with them. Serve a meal with them at the local soup kitchen in honor of someone. Volunteer to walk the dogs at the animal shelter. Pick an item off your child’s list, purchase it and deliver it to the Boys and Girls Club, and give to a child of the same age. Gather a group of your children’s friends, and in lieu of exchanging gifts to one another, sponsor a family in need. Then pause and reflect on what you have done and end the activity by counting the ways your family and friends are truly blessed.
Don’t forget those who provide you with services during the year. Make sure you show your genuine gratitude with a token of appreciation to people such as the trash collector, the babysitter, a local waitress, your child’s teacher, etc.
What about giving gifts to fulfill genuine needs? Let’s call this category “gifts with benefits.” Your options are endless, and yet each one is beneficial to those receiving the gift. These gifts will actually be used and most likely not regifted. Some that immediately come to my mind are oil changes, haircuts, dry-cleaning, lawn service, gym membership, cleaning lady for a day . . . you get the idea.
The act of giving is so much more important than the actual gift. Let’s think about skipping the big-screen TVs and the trip to Hawaii; let’s give gifts that impact and change lives. Let’s give ones that will touch the lives of others or provide meaningful aid in some shape, form or fashion to those in need. So grab your girlfriends and turn the task of purchasing a gift into an afternoon of showing kindness to your community. Team up with family members or your child’s school and make the holidays merrier for someone less fortunate than you. Teach the youngsters to truly understand what it means to make a difference.
And I leave you with this: Why stop in December? If it feels so good to do good, try it another month of the year as well. Open your heart and hands more often and, trust me, you will be the better person for it.
I wish you and yours a very happy holiday season and the most fulfilling New Year.
Want MORE? Read "The Wrapping is the Gift"
Don’t miss out on MORE great articles like this one. Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter!