Put Meaning Into Gifts You Give This Year

If you believe giving is better than receiving, then consider taking that one step further by giving something meaningful this holiday season.

And just what is a “meaningful” gift? It’s something from the heart, plus something that can have an impact on the lives of others, not just the person receiving the present.

Here’s a list that embraces this type of gift giving:

  • Make a donation on behalf of a friend or family member to an organization that’s focused on improving the lives of impoverished people both here and abroad. There are plenty of causes to support, from clean drinking water to basic medical care. Just do a little fact-checking in advance to ensure the group you pick is legitimate and uses donations effectively.
  • Maybe the person you want to give a gift to has a special love for animals. That opens the door to a lot of ideas. You could make a contribution to your local animal shelter in their name, or you could see if they’re receptive to the idea of rescuing a dog or cat that’s been given up for adoption. Shelters are always in need of supplies, too, such as food and medicine.
  • Your gift of time could be as precious as anything. Volunteering at a nursing home or hospital, participating in a Meals-on-Wheels program, helping out at a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter…you don’t have to go far to find someplace or someone in need.
  • Or perhaps you have a particular talent that could benefit others. For instance, you’re stumped on what to give your neighbor for the holidays, but you know she’s involved with a non-profit organization that needs some free help balancing its books. And it just so happens you’re an accountant. Get the picture?
  • Create a photo album, scrapbook or short video of good times you’ve shared with a longtime friend. It’s something they’ll cherish for years to come and you’ll enjoy putting it together.
  • Along the same lines, come up with something from scratch to give to that special someone. Are you good with words? Write a personal poem. If your talent lies in the kitchen, whip up a tasty dessert as a present.
  • Buy a bunch of hats, gloves, and scarves, then head downtown and hand them out to people who you think could use them the most.
  • Adopt a family that has little to look forward to during the holidays because of limited resources. You could prepare them a meal, or purchase a few gifts. Whatever you choose to do, it’s likely it will be greatly appreciated.
  • Create a coupon book for an elderly neighbor that includes free rides to the grocery store and doctor’s office, help with gardening around the house, and offering to do miscellaneous chores.
  • Look for gifts made by third-world craftsmen and artists. A quick search on the Internet will uncover a treasure trove of places, both local and beyond, that offer such items.

This holiday season, embrace the true meaning of giving. What you get in return just might amaze you.


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