Tuesday, December 3, 2013

2013 holiday gift guide: for the person who has everything

In this season of giving, it's very, very easy to get caught up in buying, especially during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday madness. Retailers scream deals at you, and you accumulate an incredible amount of stuff. Yes, you're giving it away (well, most of it... I won't lie, I buy a healthy amount for myself during the deal season), but there are things you can give that don't cost anything but your time. And for the sister or uncle who have everything, think about giving a donation in their name to a worthy cause that they would enjoy (in the past I've donated to animal shelters, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Red Cross).

If you're in the mood to give your time this season, here are some ideas on what you can do:

Host a food drive
For the past three years, I've done this at work with help from a couple of coworkers. With a little bit of effort, we have collected about 10,000 lbs of food for the local food bank. That's a year and a half's worth of feeding a family of four three meals a day. (Find out if your local food bank will pick up the items - most places are glad to do it for large donations.)

Send a card
There are a few organizations that send cards to wounded veterans or troops overseas. The Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes asks for cards to arrive by December 6th (so you still have time!).

... or a care package
One organization I'm fond of around the holidays is Adopt-A-Platoon, through which you can send a care package to troops overseas. We've made it a Thanksgiving tradition to involve family members in writing out cards to include in the care package.

Check a volunteer site like VolunteerMatch.org to see if there are soup kitchens in your area that may need help. Or read your local paper - they're bound to do stories on individuals who run charitable organizations this time of year. And if you can't find a place that needs help at the holidays, check back in the summer months when their volunteer numbers are low.

Do you have a favorite organization that you support during the holidays?

definition via dictionary.com


  1. These are all great ideas! I like the idea of sending care packages. Have you checked out Boston Cares? It's a volunteer organization here where you can pick and choose the dates and kind of volunteering you do.

    1. I have heard of them, but I've never worked through them before. Thanks for the info!


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