Ways to Give During the Holidays Without Breaking the Bank

    3 minute read
    Celebrate the true spirit of the holidays.
    For many Americans the holiday season is an opportunity to focus on the people that matter most in life. Still, the holidays can put a lot of stress on finances. And while exchanging gifts is a long-standing tradition, it is not the only option. The most heart-warming gifts may be those that don’t cost a dime.

    A generous gift of yourself has the potential to put a smile on someone’s face or even improve someone’s life - and it doesn’t stop there. In a recent study on the relationship between giving and happiness, Dr. Stephen Post, found the mere thought of engaging in charitable behavior increases one’s happiness. He also found that charitable behavior activates the neural pathways associated with the production of dopamine, the neuro transmitter that regulates the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. It turns out you can increase your own happiness by engaging in activities in service of others such as giving blood, donating spare blankets and coats, or other caring gestures like baking holiday cookies. Here we discuss some ways you can give joy and kindness this holiday season.

    1. Volunteer
    Offering our time is a great way to reconnect with the true spirit of the holidays — gratitude, generosity and helping the less fortunate. Perhaps a family member or friend has trouble getting out and about yet has a favorite volunteering activity that is meaningful to them. Consider ways you may volunteer in your local community. Whether walking puppies at the humane society, raking leaves at a church or delivering meals there are various ways to brighten the holidays. Think of what you have available to give and then look for opportunities where you can make a real difference.

    2. Use your talents
    There are few gifts as thoughtful as those which reflect the gift recipient's most deeply held beliefs and values. Consider how you might use your talents or hobbies to make something for friends and family, such as:
    • Offering a free photo shoot
    • Building a wood rocking chair, shelf, or table
    • Knitting or crocheting a pair of distinctive socks or gloves
    • Creating a video, song or poem
    3. Charity
    Spread the holiday spirit by giving back this holiday season, it may cost less than you think.
    • Encourage others using social media to spread awareness about helpful charities if you can’t afford a monetary donation this year. Consider tagging any charities or community events.

    • Consider temporarily giving up that Starbucks coffee or takeout dinner and donating those funds to charity instead.

    • Get active in the community and take care of your physical health by walking, running or biking for a charitable cause during the holidays.

    • Consider inviting friends and family to participate in the holiday spirit and attend a charity event together.

    As you navigate this holiday season, we hope you found some ways you can give of your time while spreading joy and kindness. Credit Human is here to support you in your financial journey. If you need help building slack in your finances, come by and see us in your neighborhood Financial Health Center.