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280 Kane St. STE #2
South Williamsport, PA
United States

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The Gift of Giving

I just sent an email out to my parents, in-laws, and close friends that for the holidays this year, in lieu of presents, my husband and I would prefer they make a gift to a charitable organization that benefits the hungry or homeless. And in that email, I asked them to reply back with a

I just sent an email out to my parents, in-laws, and close friends that for the holidays this year, in lieu of presents, my husband and I would prefer they make a gift to a charitable organization that benefits the hungry or homeless. And in that email, I asked them to reply back with a non-profit that we could donate to in their honor. We hope to start a tradition of philanthropy with our loved ones for many Christmases to come, because let’s face it, no one needs more tchotchkes, gadgets, or clothes. For most adults, things you need or want you get yourself, and during this ongoing pandemic for those of us lucky enough to be in a position to give back, why not make a gift out of giving?

This Christmas, we are prioritizing local charities. Local food banks, or meal assistance programs, and shelters. Other organizations to consider, whether using philanthropy as a gift, or making general end-of-the-year contributions include churches, schools, animal shelters, museums, historical societies, or any cause close to your heart. Obviously, thinking about this time of year we also remember those who have passed, so consider a memorial gift to an organization your loved one supported. Or make a gift in their memory to a non-profit working on and/or researching cures and improved treatments, like the Alzheimer’s Association or the American Cancer Society.

To make more of an international impact, bring family and friends together on a larger group gift. Pooling your funds you can give the gift of a flock of chicks, honeybees, an alpaca, or even a water buffalo, which will give a family in need a small business, providing wool, milk, eggs and more. Doctors without Borders, Unicef, and the American Federation of Teachers also have international reach.

In addition to straight-up charitable donations, there are other means of giving back. You can volunteer your time at a loved one’s charity of choice this holiday season. Better yet, volunteer together as part of your holiday plans. Many organizations can get overrun with offers to volunteer this time of year, so instead schedule a time in the new year to give your time and talent. Or buckle up and participate in a drive. Churches, schools, and community centers all run various food drives, coat drives, toy drives, and book drives. Instead of presents for family and friends, provide gifts to those who need it most through local drives in their honor.

Of course, it IS really nice to unwrap presents on Christmas morning. There are a variety of brands that donate a portion of their proceeds to important causes and have excellent products to gift for the holidays. I know socks for Christmas is the cliched boring gift, but Bombas socks are super comfy and for every pair purchased a pair is donated and the proceeds from any red, blue or white socks go directly to homeless veterans. At http://www.parksproject.us you can buy a framed poster of a national park for any hikers or nature lovers on your gift list while also supporting the National Parks Conservation Association.

For beauty mavens, check out Rare Beauty’s incredible lip balms, cream blushes and eyeshadows. As a part of the Rare Impact Fund, they aim to raise $100 million in the next 10 years for mental health services. For coffee-lovers, order up a three-blend pack from Grounds & Hounds on Amazon, where 20% of all Grounds & Hounds proceeds are donated to animal rescue partners around the country. Also through Amazon there’s LifeStraw, which provides personal water filtration devices and water bottles. For every product sold, a child in need receives access to safe drinking water and hygiene education for a full school year. These are just a few examples, there are a ton of companies with quality products and charitable outreach.

Whether you decide to forgo gifts all together and make contributions to a much-loved organization, volunteer your time in honor of your loved ones, make a family gift of impact, or purchase products that also give back, bring your children into the conversation. Obviously for little ones that still get a visit from Santa, the conversation will have to be handled with care. And I’m not suggesting donating in lieu of denying your kids gifts for Christmas, but instead start the discussion on the importance of giving back and the various forms that takes. For older kids, include them in the decision on where and how to contribute a gift of giving.

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