‘Tis the Season for Modern Giving

Remember when this time of year was your absolute favorite? The sheer excitement about what you might find nestled under a tree covered in shimmering lights, handmade ornaments, and let’s be honest, way too much tinsel. Or what might be stuffed in an overflowing stocking, even if it was the same assortment of gum and candy from last year. If you think hard enough, it all comes racing back. What a magical time.

Flash forward a couple of decades though, and what was once a magical time now feels a bit more stressful. From clamoring for deals the day after we’re supposed to give thanks to pretending our credit card debt just vanishes into thin air when the clock strikes midnight on January 1 and the calendar turns over. And in the middle of all of that, you have to somehow figure out what in the world your family, loved ones, friends, co-workers, or employees might be wanting--or even expecting--as a gift. Maybe you’re lucky enough to have friends or family that are easy to shop for. Receiving an Amazon Wishlist feels more like a wedding registry than the excited loose-leaf scribbles from the past pleading for a remote-controlled car or life-sized doll.

For a time that’s supposed to be the season of giving, giving something meaningful to the people you care about most isn’t always as simple as it could be. We’ve all torn through wrapping paper to find another pair of socks, another tie, or a sweater that looks eerily similar to the one you received last year. Or maybe it was a company-wide email wishing everyone the best, but to be ready to get back to the grind on a moment’s notice. In the end, we’re all trying to not be that infamous gifter of awkward, tone deaf, or just plain bad stuff. We want our friends and families to think we have been paying attention to all of their hints throughout the year.

Think about the best gifts you’ve ever received. Each item is likely something that has more value to you, whether at the time or now, than what was on the pricetag. It was something you cared deeply about. A hobby. A goal. A passion. Some unique thing that makes you, you. You can give that same feeling to someone this year and every year.

Instead of a $50 gift card to the store they shop at, how about a $50 donation to the charity they volunteer at every winter making sure the homeless have a hot meal and a comfortable place to lay their head? What about giving in their honor to the organization that’s fighting to find a cure for the terrible disease that took their friend or loved one? There are so many people out there doing so many magical things throughout the year to make a difference, and a lot of times, they’re just scraping by.

Through modern giving, you’re giving more than just a few bucks to a good cause. You’re giving hope, inspiration, possibility, and little bit of love to what people love themselves. So this Holiday season and all the ones that come after, don’t wait in line or overpay to snag the next Tickle Me Elmo and don’t just hand over a wad of cash blindly. Give the gift of giving itself, and open a charitable giving fund for your friends, family, employees, or co-workers.