With the holidays in full swing, it’s easy to get caught up in the more commercial aspects of the season. This year, take the time to think about giving back.
Here are five simple ways to bring more meaning to your holidays.
Volunteering is a great way to get involved in your community and to offer your skills to organizations in need. There are countless opportunities, from shelters and food banks, to arts groups, churches and schools; they all look for different time commitments from volunteers. Interested, but don’t know where to start? Volunteer Canada is a great resource that can help you find a volunteer centre in your community. You can also look for opportunities based on your skills and interests at getinvolved.ca
Donate to charity
A joint study out of UBC and Harvard found that people are happier when they spend money on others rather than themselves, regardless of their income. Since 2000, CanadaHelps has been enabling donors to easily give through our website to any of Canada’s 85,000+ charities. Because we’re a non-profit, more of your money goes directly to the cause you care about most. We’ll also send you an instant charitable tax receipt.
If you need an extra incentive to give this season, federal and provincial charitable tax credits really add up. Depending upon your territory of residence, you’ll receive an income tax credit of up to 35% of your donations totalling $200 or less, and up to 53% of your donations totalling more than $200. Plus, if your new to claiming charitable donations? Get an extra 25% back up to a $250 credit!
Perform Random Acts of Kindness
We spend so much time being busy and involved in our own lives that it’s easy to forget we are part of larger communities. There are simple things you can do to connect with others and brighten both of your days: Buy coffee for the person behind you in line, offer a meal to someone on the street, pick up trash when you see it to make your community cleaner, or help your neighbour carry their groceries or shovel their snow. Enjoy the feeling of simple kindness, without expecting anything in return.
Give a charity gift card
Gifts have become a regular part of the holiday season, but often we have people we want to give to that we don’t know very well, or who don’t really need anything new. A survey by the American Red Cross found that 79% of people would rather have a donation made in their honour than receive a gift they don’t need or want.
CanadaHelps’ charity gift cards are a great solution to this problem, replacing trinkets and boxes of chocolates with something meaningful and useful. You choose the card and receive the tax receipt, and the recipient chooses the charity – or charities – to support, making it much more meaningful to them.
Give one to your child’s teacher, your boss, or your mail carrier. Bring them as host gifts at holiday parties instead of a bottle of wine, or give one to your picky family member who returns everything. Give them to your whole family!
Teach your kids the value of giving
By talking to your kids about giving back when they’re young, they’re more likely to grow up to be charitable, community-minded adults. This year, why not start a conversation with your family about how you’ll integrate giving into your holidays. Here are just a few of the things you can do:
- Choose a cause together. Start by suggesting some potential charities your children might want to support based on their interests, and help them brainstorm how they would like to give. What is near and dear to your child’s heart? This boy is going to start a donation matching program amongst his friends in support of Right to Play. If it’s meaningful to them, they’ll be more likely to want to make a difference.
- Many kids are lucky enough to receive more gifts than they know what to do with over the holidays. This year, why not agree on one gift for your child, and pick another gift to donate to a less fortunate child.
- Organize a food or clothing drive and have your child help out. Depending on your child’s age, they can do a range of tasks like making posters, packing up supplies, or encouraging people to participate.
This season, make giving back part of your holiday tradition. You’ll feel great, you’ll improve the lives of others, and you’ll make your celebrations more meaningful and memorable.