The holiday season is about homecoming and spreading cheer among loved ones. It’s also a time to remember those who are less fortunate.
As a growing number of families across the country look for more meaningful ways to give during the holidays, Origin Bank is here to help. We found six nontraditional ideas for giving that spread joy to others, and bring you joy, as well.
Few things are more precious than time, and offering some of yours during the holidays can make a real difference. If you’re looking for a cause to support, start in your own community. Animal shelters, art museums, food pantries, soup kitchens, retirement centers and your local library are just some of the groups that rely on volunteers.
- Show appreciation to those who serve you
Consider a small non-monetary gift for those who serve you throughout the year such as your mail carrier and delivery service workers, caregivers, security guards, garbage collectors or public transit workers. Some gift ideas include cookies, desserts, gloves, scarves, a candle, a book or simply something that says “thank you and we appreciate your service.”
- Support local merchants
Every dollar spent with local businesses and artisans supports local jobs, tax revenues and economies. Studies have also shown that local, independent businesses often return a higher percentage of revenue to their own communities than national chains. A growing number of hometown retailers also offer online shopping, payment and deliveries just like the big internet sites. Pay special attention to the local small businesses that donate a portion of holiday sales to local charities and community causes.
- Donate to a local charity
Those of us in the Gulf Coast region have seen our share of disasters over the last several years. And when they strike, we’ve also seen how local and regional charities are on the front lines, providing vital support to those affected. Set aside a small part of your holiday budget and donate it to a local charity that matters to you.
- Organize a blood drive
If you’re looking for a meaningful gesture this year, giving blood literally saves lives. Your school, church or office are great places for hosting blood drives, and the American Red Cross will even help you do it.
- Skip the gifts
This one might seem a bit extreme, but think about it. If you feel like the holidays are overrun by consumerism, skipping the gift exchange, at least at some parties, might not be such a bad thing. It puts the focus back on spending time together, and you can always turn your gift money into a nice charitable donation.
Interested in seeing an example of how Origin chooses to give back during the holiday season? Check out our Project Enrich program for more details.