Great Ways to Give Thanks

David K. DonovanAs we approach the start of the holiday season, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with extra paper work related to the end of the fourth quarter of 2015, bogged down with travel plans and generally stressed out by logistics. However, the end of the year – particularly around the holidays is also a great time to set aside some time to reflect on the positive aspects of the closing year, and to give thanks for the innumerable gifts currently in your possession. This is also a great time of year to show your gratitude by helping others in need.

Sharing your good fortune with others not only generates good karma and goodwill, but it also helps you remained focused on the great things in your life instead of being weighed down by the distractors. Below are a few easy ways to express your gratitude during the holidays.

1. Donate funds to a cause you care about. Although this may seem like the easy route when it comes to showing your gratitude, donations are important when it comes to helping out a cause or charity. Do some research into causes you care about and consider becoming a regular donor or member. Even if your contributions are small, being a consistent giver to a particular charity is more helpful to the charity because they are better able to plan their budgets.

2. Volunteer. The wonderful thing about volunteering your time is that you often have the chance to interact directly with the people that you want to serve. While providing charities and causes with capital is of course very important and critical to the operations of these organizations, there is something incredibly satisfying about giving your time and your talents to a group that is working towards something that you believe in personally. Take some time to research what organizations are looking for help – particularly when there may be an uptick in need due to the holidays.

3. Organize a fundraiser. While organizing a fundraiser takes time and planning, the rewards are priceless. Whether you are looking to host a low-key dinner at your home or perhaps organize a full scale gala event, start your planning early and connect with organizations that you and causes that you believe in. Get some guidance from that charity so that you know what their immediate and long-term goals are so that you can best aid them in obtaining their objectives.

4. Donate clothes, furniture and items you no longer need. While many of us look at spring-time as the optimal time to clean out our closets and pantries, it’s also a great way to start the new year with a clean slate. By doing a big scale clean out of your home, you will not only create more space and calm for the new year, but you will likely provide goods for people when they can use them the most – during the holidays. Find out the standards at a local soup kitchen or shelter in terms of what kinds of products they are currently accepting, and figure out what you need in order to get those products to people who can use them.

5. Reach out to neighbors and acquaintances and find out their holiday plans. The winter holidays are very closely associated with spending time with family and loved ones, which can be difficult for those who don’t have that option. Therefore, consider inviting those without holiday plans to join you and your family for a Thanksgiving meal.