By Natalie Carter
The Grinch is an excellent role model for Christmas. No really, he is. If you look beyond the stealing of presents and impersonation of a magical being, he actually understood the true meaning of the holidays and was trying to teach that to the people of Whooville. He understood that the holidays are about showing the ones you love just how much you love them, not by the dollar value of a gift, but by the acts of love and kindness provided. This holiday season, why not take a note out of the Grinch’s book and gift with purpose…
Charitable volunteering : Tis the season of giving, which makes it the perfect time to get into volunteering. This time of year is especially busy for holiday food drives and toy drives, which are not only fun to help out with, but also incredibly rewarding. Some local Toronto-based initiatives include the City of Toronto Holiday Toy & Food Drive, the Toronto Firefighters Toy Drive, the Second Harvest Turkey Drive, and numerous food bank initiatives including The Stop Community Food Centre, the Daily Bread Food Bank, and the Toronto Vegetarian Food Bank. Whether you decide to volunteer, or gather a large haul with your friends and family to donate, make an event out of it. Challenge your friends and family to see who can donate the most or volunteer the most hours, or maybe encourage everyone to wear their craziest holiday sweaters and take funny pictures! Make it light, fun and festive.
Charitable donations : Giving a donation on behalf of someone is a great option, and even better if you pick a charity or organization that is close to their heart. These gifts are so meaningful because your donation will be used to make the world a safer, happier, healthier place. Understandably, some people are hesitant to donate money to charities because they don’t know how much of the money will actually go to helping the cause. The solution is to do a little research on the charities your considering; browse their website, and charity reviewer websites like Charity 100 by MoneySense to see how their funds are distributed.
Gifting your time (and undivided attention) : Turning your phone off for a day and giving your undivided attention and time can be the perfect gift to those you don’t see often. This quality time can come in the form of snuggling on the couch and watching a festive movie, or sipping hot cocoa at a café and chatting the day away, or an afternoon of puzzles and board games by a crackling fireplace. The holidays can be a busy time of year, so taking this opportunity for some cozy downtime with the ones you care about is the perfect complement to the holiday.
Gifting an experience : Plan a day to wander around a holiday market, take a wagon ride through a Christmas tree farm to find the prefect spruce, go skating on one of the many frozen landscapes in the city, or sip festive drinks in the most over-the-top Christmas-themed pop-up bar. Whatever adventure you choose, it’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit and make this holiday season a memorable one. This is also a good option if you’re on a tight budget, as many of the winter experiences involve just being outside and taking in the beauty and spirit of the season.
Lending a hand : The gift of quality time can be made extra sweet when you lend a hand. Cook the turkey (or tofurkey), bake the cookies, mix the eggnog, organize the garage, run the errands, wash the dishes… you get the idea. Make a party out of it and get everyone together with music, snacks and maybe some rum in your eggnog if that’s your thing 😉
One last thing to consider, never underestimate the power of a hand-written card. It’s one of the few times a year when being sappy and sweet is totally acceptable, and your loved ones deserve to hear how much you adore them!
The reality is that a month after Christmas, you are not likely to remember all of the gifts you got, but you will remember all the fun you had, spending time with the people you care about. That’s what gifting with purpose is about, focusing on making those holly, jolly memories that you will remember for holidays to come.