The hustle and bustle of the season has arrived. With our office conveniently located between two of Atlanta’s largest malls, it’s impossible to ignore the recent influx of holiday shoppers.
But for me, this Sunday will be filled with a different breed of chaos – I’m hosting a Christmas party for disadvantaged children at the Atlanta Salvation Army – trading swarming shoppers for 100 squirming children.
And it’s more significant this year than ever before. While the recession has no doubt crushed our stock portfolios, loss is put into perspective when you watch a child clutch a $5 gift with the same zeal most kids show while rocking out to their new Guitar Hero.
Many families don’t open these gifts. They sit untouched, sobering reminders that they are the only gifts that year, and they’re being saved for Christmas day.
Rather than getting caught up in holiday madness, make giving a tradition. Pick any project, whether through your office, civic organizations, churches, etc. Offer free PR to nonprofits that need help or serve on their boards. While this year it may be difficult for many to give financially, volunteering or sharing your knowledge costs relatively little.
Follow your interests. At Cookerly, our volunteer work is as varied as our personalities.
Growing up, service was a family affair. Whether it was wielding a hammer at a Habitat House or sorting food at the Atlanta Community Food Bank, it was always the four of us. It became something we did not because we “should,” but something we did because we were getting as much out of it as the people we were helping.
Get in the habit of giving, regardless of your income. The most simple of gifts can mean the world to those in need.