The Gift of Giving
● By Hood Magazine
The kids all want dolls and shiny new legos. My family passes around lists of things, clothes, and games they would enjoy. My husband would probably just love a day to relax (or some golf clubs). But how do you give gifts that go beyond material items? Gifts that give to more than just the recipient and reflect the true season of giving? Sometimes the best gifts rely on your time and your talents more than your money and a trip to the mall.
Gifts don’t have to come with an expensive price tag. The most meaningful gifts can be those of your time. Volunteering at an organization that a loved one supports can be a great gift. Maybe for a dear family friend who has always been a mentor for you, you donate an hour a week to LSS’s school based mentoring program and pay the gift of mentorship forward. For your best friend who is a teacher, you sign up to teach Junior Achievement in her classroom or sign up to help her with her next class field trip. For the grandparent who loves pets, you volunteer with a local animal shelter. This can also be a great opportunity to teach your children about volunteerism and community engagement. They can give with their hearts and not their piggy banks.
Throughout the year there are also many opportunities to attend fundraisers for local area nonprofits. As a lover of a good fundraiser and a frequent bidder at the silent auction tables, I try to think about what items I could give as gifts and what organizations are meaningful to my loved ones. This year I bought a weekend getaway package for my husband, a fancy bottle of wine for my mother-in-law, a painting for my art-loving mother, and a boutique dress for my daughter all at different fundraisers. Tuck the gifts away with a program from the event and then pull them all out around the holidays. From a fancy gala to buying some Girl Scout cookies from your neighbor – gift options are everywhere. Tuck a little note in explaining that you donated money to an organization they support in the purchasing of their gift. These gifts give far more than just material goods – they help some very deserving organizations serve our community.