It is so easy to lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas. What can you do this year that epitomizes the true spirit of Christmas?
A definition of a philanthropist is someone who makes charitable donations intended to increase human well-being. This could include giving your time, money, or reputation to charitable causes. By giving back to your community or missionary organizations you give yourself the opportunity, and the privilege, of making a positive impact on other people’s lives. Material possessions will ultimately lose their shine, but through philanthropy, one can make an impact and shape or even save lives.
Is there a particular cause that you have considered supporting? This might be a good time to crystallize your strategy for this. Review your finances to decide how much you can afford to give. Will it be a one-off donation or is it something you can continue to commit to year on year. Narrow your choices down to a few charities or initiatives that you can identify with and do some research on them to ensure that their ethos and mission aligns with your core values; then choose one or two to support. Follow up to see the impact your action is having.
While we all love to see the excitement on children’s faces on Christmas morning as they open their presents, try to emphasize the non-material aspects of the season, such as family, fellowship and thoughtfulness. It is not enough to just tell them to be charitable and kind, our own actions in supporting others or changing lives will speak louder than anything we can say. We must guide them through a program of action so that it becomes ingrained in their psyche.
The high cost of living and unemployment means that many people face a dreary holiday season and cannot afford much this Christmas. If you are fortunate enough to have an overflowing basket or trolley, why not shop for another family that is facing difficult times and then have it delivered to their doorstep.
There are so many people in need of the simple things that so many of us may take for granted. Get together with a few friends, put some money together and take some gifts to the elderly who have found themselves in retirement homes. Cheer them up; the gift of happiness and good stimulating company for an elderly person, who might be lonely during the holiday season, would make a huge difference.
Do you often reminisce and complain about how things used to be at your old school and how standards have now fallen? Why not do something about it? With an endowed gift you can provide permanent support for the educational institution. Your contributions will be invested and each year a distribution made to fund the program or area that matches your particular interest. Once it is officially established, you or anyone else may continue to add to the fund at any time.
Gifts do not only have to be of a financial nature. There are several other ways to give meaningfully. The possibilities of giving of your time, experience, talent and intellect are endless and by sharing your knowledge with others you can add sustained value to your community.
As we get caught up in the whirlwind of festivity, socializing and shopping, it is little wonder that we often forget the true meaning of Christmas. How can you make a difference? If you haven’t been doing much for others before now, this is a good time to start. As you prepare for Christmas, remember to be a blessing to others. Merry Christmas!
For more personal finance tips, please follow Money Matters With Nimi on Twitter: @MMWITHNIMI and Facebook: MoneyMattersWithNimi
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