Make no mistake, I love the Christmas season. Warm fires, hot cider, and cool temperatures lead to good times with the people you love the most. But then there’s one phrase that frightens me more than a potential lump of coal in my stocking: Christmas shopping. To be more precise: Black Friday.
It’s overwhelming and downright maddening to sift through the best deals and ways to get the most for your money.
In a way, giving during the Christmas season can be equally daunting. The vast amount of information on each non-profit and ministry soliciting for donations can overwhelm the best of us. So, how do we remain cheerful givers?
Here are five tips to help make your giving this Christmas season more joyful:
1. Pick a cause that you’re passionate about, not filled with guilt about. If you want to be a cheerful giver, give to something that gets your excited enough to talk about with your friends. We’ve all seen images that provoke us to give out of feelings of guilt. Instead, give to an organization whose vision and goals get you excited.
2. Be generous but not foolish. No matter how much we give, we always feel like we should give more. It’s fun to be generous with our donations, but when we give beyond our means, we’re not being wise stewards.
3. Be wise and do your research. Like door-to-door salesmen can push you into making a decision you don’t want to make, we can all get duped into giving to organizations that don’t do nearly as much with their funds as they promise. Sites like www.GuideStar.org serve as a great resource to help donors learn if an organization has everything in order financially and is doing what they say they do.
4. Give locally and globally. We live in a big world, but isolated and hurting people are everywhere. They can be found just as easily in Africa as they can in your cul-de-sac. Find non-profits and ministries to give to in your city as well as some that work internationally.
5. Give more than your money; give your time. It’s easy to get caught up in all the activities surrounding the Christmas season without stopping to think about serving. To be a cheerful giver, learn to give of yourself this year and serve somewhere. You’ll find more joy doing this than you likely would doing anything else.
*** Learn more about #GivingTuesday at maf.org/givingtues