Tuesday, October 7, 2014

31 Days to a Peaceful Holiday Season: Giving

Welcome to Almond Place! This month, I'm taking part in Write 31 Days where bloggers focus on one topic and write every day for the month of October.  You can visit the other posts in the series HERE.

Today I want to focus on a really important part of our holiday season. 


I am fully aware that my little family is abundantly blessed. We have food, shelter, clothing, health, clean water, electricity and last I checked, no one was trying to kill us!

I've talked about this before but one of our big goals as parents to Andrew, Jacob & Grace is to teach them that it's not all about them. In fact, it's not about any of us. It's about using our blessings and talents to glorify God and serve others. Different faiths have different ideas on this, but this is the model we choose for our family.

This is the time of year when we are bombarded with messages of BUY BUY BUY. 

We are also bombarded with messages of GIVE GIVE GIVE.  Every single charity and organization begins their big holiday fundraising campaigns right around this time of year.

I don't know about you, but it quickly gets overwhelming and it's of course impossible to give to everyone. My heart strings are tugged with every commercial, every kid at the entrance of the grocery store, every bell jingle, every call for $ at church....I feel like a total jerk when the Safeway clerk asks me if I want to make a donation to help end diabetes/cancer/alzheimers/ and every single time I say "No thank you". I have good reasons for saying no and here's how we handle it to help ease my guilt ;-)

The Hubs and I will decide a budget that works our charitable giving and then decide on the specific organizations for this money.  We have several specific organizations that are special to us, and who we know are not the "heavy hitters" in the charitable world.  We will give whole heartedly as much as we are able.  We feel our financial donations have a better impact for those organizations when our donation budget isn't stretched thin from having donated all over town. I also tend to be leery with major corporations who spend more money on their operating budget than they do on the actual work they claim to be doing....

You MUST do your research. Not all charitable organizations are equal and sadly many of them are poorly run and I feel our money is wasted.  We like to donate to organizations that are local or with whom we have a personal connection.  If you would like specifics or are searching for some places to donate, feel free to email me and I will be happy to share some ideas with you privately.

In addition to a financial contribution, we will engage our children in the act of service.  Donating time is more realistic for our financial situation at this time and we want our kids to grow up knowing how fortunate they are.  We will bring food to some elderly neighbors who don't have family nearby, we will participate in the clothing drive at school and shop for some toys for kids as part of our schools ELF drive.  Most importantly, we will drive home the idea that this time of year is not about getting more stuff.

It's a tough line to walk and one that is so very personal for everyone.  So, the action item for today....start researching those organizations!  Find some that line up with your values and issues that hit close to home. Start setting aside some extra money in your budget to account for the extra donations this time of year. If a financial contribution isn't in the cards, find other ways to help those in need with acts of service.  It will bring you so much joy knowing you've sincerely helped others!

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