5 Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season

Five Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season

It’s already begun: it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, and the holiday season is everywhere. Babies R’ Us was playing Christmas carols last week, and Target has the candy, decorations and gifts out in full force.

I find it a little bit exhausting, don’t you?

My goal for the holiday season is always the same: Simplify. This year I’ll be sharing how I do this, right here on the JustGive blog. For me, a big part of creating a simple and meaningful holiday season is about redefining the season itself—which means less stuff. With less stuff, I feel less stress.

One of the easiest and most impactful ways to bring meaning to the season is to give back instead of giving “stuff.” Here are five ways to give back this holiday season, taking the stress out of gift giving and making you (and your recipient) feel warm and fuzzy inside:

1 — Create a Charity Wishlist

Create a Charity Wishlist

I started working at JustGive earlier this year, and was thrilled to learn about Charity Wishlists for the holiday—it’s a totally new concept to me. As much as I love the thought behind gifts, I really don’t need anything. By creating a Charity Wishlist, I can raise money for my favorite charities instead of receiving gifts from my family and friends. And that makes me feel better than any piece of jewelry or retail gift card ever could. Here’s my wishlist for the season—check it out, and consider creating one of your own!

2 — Give Gifts of Charity 

Charity Holiday Gift Guide

This year at JustGive, we’ve created an exciting new Holiday Gift Guide to make giving more meaningful. It’s filled with charitable gifts that show you the impact your donation has on the world. Choose from 12 of the timeliest issues, including hunger, job support, LGBT rights, and peace—there’s a gift for every budget.

3 — Give Charity Gift Cards

Charity Gift Card for Holiday Gifts

Charity Gift Cards are perfect for someone you might not know that well (a holiday gift for a co-worker, for example), for a friend or family member who has a charitable heart, and for those hard-to-buy-for people on your list. You choose the amount for the gift card, and they choose the charity (or charities!) to receive the donation. There are email, print-at-home, and physical cards – and more than a million charities on JustGive they can donate to.

One of the coolest features (in my opinion) is the ability to buy your gift cards ahead of time, and then schedule them to be emailed whenever you’d like.

Another fun option is to upload your own photo, making for a very personal gift.

4 — Give a Charity Collection

Charity Gift Basket

If you know someone who cares about a specific cause, a charity collection is a unique and great gift. Each collection includes four charities working toward a particular cause. There are 16 causes to choose from, including Animals, Arts, Education, Homes & Jobs, and Military. Check them all out here. 

5 — Share the Message

What better way to create a more peaceful, simple holiday season than to get others involved too? After you make a commitment to help others this holiday season, spread the word to your friends and family. You can start a new tradition and include charity as part of your gift exchanges.

You can also join JustGive in the #GivingTuesday movement, which counters the consumerism and commercialism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We’ll be offering an amazing deal to help you give more generously, too—so check JustGive on November 27 or sign up for our newsletter to hear all about it.

How will you celebrate the holiday season? Do you incorporate charity or volunteering? Comment below or join the conversation on Facebook!

—Sara Olsher, Marketing Manager

This holiday, let’s reconnect.

If you’re like me, you’ve heard (and probably made) comments about the holiday season already: Why was jingle music playing while shopping for Halloween costumes? Why are snowy decorations overtaking stores before Thanksgiving? How will I afford gifts for everyone on my list and a sequined holiday outfit with my budget? And how much stuff do we really need for Christmas?

Hearing and joining in on the negative remarks has made me take pause. I don’t want to feel overwhelmed or get swept up in all the consumer hogwash, I’d rather enjoy the season. My sisters will be back from college and the holidays are the perfect time to reconnect—with my family, my community, and the true spirit of the holidays. Showing my loved ones I care in new and meaningful ways without breaking the bank or gifting unwanted items seems like a great place to start.

Here are some great charitable gifts that can change lives:

  • Charity Gift Cards. Take advantage of JustGive’s Cyber Monday promotion: fee-free GiveNow cards*. Pull out your favorite photos to upload, and on November 28th, create customized gifts for your friends, family, and colleagues – with ZERO fees. You chose the amount, they choose the charity (from more than 1.8 million on the site). >>Buy Gift Cards
  • Personal Charity Registry. Create a wish list and ask for charity as your holiday gift. It not only makes you feel good, but also spreads holiday cheer to others in need. Select organizations working to make a difference for your favorite causes, and share your wishes by email or on Facebook. It’s a selfless way to celebrate the holidays. >>Create A Registry
  • Charitable Donations. Donate in your friend or loved one’s name to a local charity that means the world to them. Or choose a collection of four charities supporting a specific cause like animals, the military, or children. Experience the joy of giving back. >>Give Locally   >>Select Charity Collection

Spending and cherishing time with family is another way of getting back to what’s most important about the holidays. I know that gifting charity will let them know this year is different. Imagine how things would change if we all did the same.

Spread the spirit—Like us on Facebook and share what you’re doing. We’re posting up creative and inspiring ideas for the holidays.

*Promotion Terms & Conditions – Eastern Standard Time

– Michelle Koffler, Marketing Coordinator

Last minute holiday gifts? No problem…

It’s the last few days before the Christmas holiday and I’m in countdown mode. Given the traffic, craziness in grocery store and mall parking lots, I know I’m not alone. How does the holiday always seem to sneak up on us?

What I really want this Christmas is to make time stop and enjoy the season more. Pausing to take in all the wonder and joy. Having time to wander around and see lights. Talking with friends I haven’t caught up with in a while. Singing at a local convalescent center. And finding time to bake and fill the house with cinnamon and chocolate aromas.

Charity’s my choice

When it comes to gifts, I think less really can be more in some cases—For me, less shopping and less time in retail shops frees up time to do more of the things that make the season special.

It’s not a magic formula, but I’ll let you in on how I make that happen, even at the last minute: Charity gifts. Gifts I don’t have to leave home to buy, and that make me and the person I give them to feel good. Gifts that do so much more than anything I pick up in a store. Giving happiness and help while banishing holiday frenzy!

 

To thank a client of mine, I’m sending a GiveNow charity gift card. She can use it to donate to any charity she wants (JustGive has 1.8 million of them in the database). I like the online poinsettia thank you card, and sending it via email makes it easy for me to get this gift to her before the holiday.

  • A charity Gift Collection is perfect to honor my future mother-in-law’s love of animals. And giving to four charities in the “gift basket” that protect and prevent cruelty to animals helps me spread the giving around to nonprofits whose work I know she appreciates.
  • For a good friend who’s passionate about helping stop the spread of Aids, I’ll make a donation in her name to the Palo Alto Face Aids charity, which is engaging youth from around the world to help fight HIV/Aids.

     

    With only days to go before Christmas, I can take a few minutes tonight and get these gifts without driving anywhere. Wrapping up my giving before I start baking….

    Do you still have gift to buy? Follow my lead and choose charity. These gifts are truly in the spirit of the season and will generate smiles, joy and hope. Taking away stress and frantic last minute shopping—with gifts that matter more and leave you more time to enjoy special once-a-year activities and time with family and dear friends.  Making sure you have a very Merry one.

    Pass it on!

     

    Creating New Traditions

    Celebrating my daughter’s first Christmas makes this holiday extra special for me. I’m reminded of memories from childhood, and traditions shared with my family. We baked cookies with Grandma and decorated the tree with sparkling lights. We watched movies like Rudolph and A Christmas Story in our pajamas until the fire in the fireplace burned out.

    Family traditions create the magic of Christmas. With this in mind, I’m creating my own magic and starting a new tradition that my daughter will remember for years to come–a tradition of giving. While there are many ways for me to show her this, here are a few ideas I wanted to share with you!

    Redefine Christmas

    Redefine Christmas is a movement to change the way we give gifts. Instead of giving in to the pressure of buying a tangible gift with little meaning (another scented candle, bath product or belt?), it suggests you redirect your spending to charity. The thinking is that small changes in the way we give during the holidays – made by many, many caring people – can have a big impact in our world. Helping us all recapture the joy of the holiday season. (JustGive is proud to partner with this movement to spread the message of charity.)

    Check out the public display of the Redefine Christmas message on Black Friday at a Connecticut shopping mall.

     

    Just 51 Bucks

    The Just 51 Bucks Challenge issued by JustGive and several competitors asks you to invest $51 — 10 percent of what the average consumer will spend this holiday — on a Charity Gift Card instead of the conventional “stuff.” With Just 51 Bucks, everyone wins.

    Your holiday gifts make a lasting difference while your shopping is easier. GiveNow Charity Gift Cards only take a few minutes to personalize and send to your recipient. It’s a meaningful gift for friends, family, co-workers, and more. Happiness doubled: you give and they select the charity to support.

    At a time when so many non-profit organizations are struggling to survive, giving charity gift cards can certainly help them—and, at the same time, give you a new holiday tradition.

     

    Join me in creating your own new tradition! Redefine your Christmas, join the Just 51 Bucks Challenge, and make gift giving matter for more this year.

    Share your charitable ideas with us on Facebook, follow the conversation on Twitter, or help us spread the word and pass this idea on to a friend.

    Gifting Outside The Box

    Do I already have plenty of stuff? Yes. Do I care deeply about a cause and want to make a difference? Yes. Am I looking forward to opening brightly colored boxes with my name on them? Absolutely.

    This year, since money is tight – I’m approaching the holidays in a different way. Many of my friends and family members like opening tangible gifts so I’m putting together “packages” they’ll enjoy and including charity too!

     

    Charitable gifts don’t have to be all or nothing.

    I care about making charitable giving a part of everyday life. (That’s why I choose to work at JustGive.) During the holidays, I know people want to wrap (and unwrap) presents. And I know we really want to give gifts that make our recipients’ faces light up.

    Whether we participate or not, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, 24 hour deals, and last minute doorbusters are here to stay — through financial highs and lows. And I appreciate good deals just as much as the next person. But I also think there are clever ways to embrace both ways of giving, with gift thoughtful, personal gift packages. Giving smiles and making the world better at the same time:

    – Have a foodie friend? A box of gourmet treats, or dinner at a new restaurant is made meaningful when paired with a donation to the recipient’s local food bank (find local charities here).

    – Shopping for the handyman in the family? When you wrap up the power tools and fix-it gadgets, include a donation to Habitat for Humanity.

    – If you buy a Christmas tree this year, consider giving to the Arbor Day Foundation. $10 is all it takes to plant 10 trees in a National forest.

    – Pay it forward and donate some the money you saved shopping for the best deals. Buy a GiveNow Charity Gift Card and your recipient can easily choose from more than 1.8 million charities to support their favorite cause. For as little as $15*, you can give a great stocking stuffer, hostess or teacher gift that makes a big impact.

     

    Do you plan on giving to charity in combination with a traditional gift?

    We’d love to hear about it! Share your ideas with us on Facebook or Twitter.

     

     

    * GiveNow charity gift cards never expire and are available in any quantity. Minimum fees apply.