Five Creative Ways To Be Generous This Holiday Season
As the townhouses in my complex started to light up and mall parking lots became packed with shoppers, I realized the holiday season was upon us. This is the season for gift giving, meal planning and social gathering. Families and friends travel far to see each other, longing to connect and slow down. 2022, without a doubt, has been a roller coaster. Our excitement for long anticipated gradual opening after COVID, coupled with new realities from interest rate hikes, resulted in a mixed sentiment for the future. In the midst of all the busyness, one thing that remains constant is our desire to be charitable and generous. As there are many great resources to help you decide where to give your money, I want to share a few creative ways to be generous without using money.
I hope one of the following recommendations will inspire you to do something different this year, perhaps with your whole family:
- Donate Blood - Canadian Blood Services released a newsletter on December 12 stating that “[while] 6 out of 10 eligible donors in Canada believe donating blood or plasma over the holidays is important, only 1 in 10 plans to book an appointment before Dec. 31”. As we know, blood donations have decreased significantly over COVID due to shortages of medical resources and physical limitations. Therefore, I encourage you to consider donating blood this holiday season. My colleague Ashley, decided to donate blood a few weeks ago, despite her extreme fear of needles. She shared you can have both savory (chips) and sweet (cookies and orange juice) treats before and after, if you are looking for some extra incentive.
- “Purge, Swap and Donate” – if you host or attend a regular community group, such as a book club or bible study, you may consider a “purge, swap and donate” event. People can bring household items (clothing, dishes, appliances, etc.) they no longer want, swap with other attendees, and donate the rest to non-profit organizations. This event will not only help the group recycle, reuse, and repurpose; it will likely reduce consumption as well.
- Volunteering – One way to be charitable is with our time, energy and love. There is high demand for volunteers in non-profit and charitable organizations during the holiday season as they work to serve those in need. Seek out opportunities in local communities, roll up your sleeves and put those helpful hands to good use. This is a great way to spend time with your family while you all enjoy making a difference.
- Protein Folding / Donating Computational Power – I was made aware of this when my husband told me that he was using all of our old computers to support projects that help scientists attempt to solve complex problems. An example of this is “Folding@Home”. Basically, you are donating your computational power, by allowing complex scientific simulations of protein dynamics to be performed on your computer remotely. Insights from these data are helping scientists to better understand biology and providing new opportunities for developing therapeutics. You can also choose which projects to participate in, such as cancer research, infectious diseases, and neurological disorders. If you are interested in finding out more, please follow the link: https://foldingathome.org/diseases/?lng=en-CA *Disclaimer: there is a cost for this in increased electricity usage. I learned this the hard way when my husband was doing projects on 7 computers at once and I am in charge of paying our bills. On the plus side, your hardworking computers can help heat your house.
- Last, and definitely not least, is remembering to be generous and charitable to yourself this holiday season. I know you are busy taking care of others, spoiling your kids and grandkids and planning for the most delicious Christmas dinner, but you are equally as important. When our team was reading the book “The Good and Beautiful God” together, we were reminded to be quiet and still, to have time for rest and reflection because it is so important to nurture our soul and spirit. Therefore, I urge you to be kind to yourself with solitude and margin in your busy schedule.
Now go, have a blast, be Generous and be Merry!