By Joseph Fairchild
’Tis The Season
It’s so hard to believe the holidays are upon us, isn’t it? Thanksgiving 2019 has come and gone, and 2020 is just around the corner.
What comes to mind when you think of the holidays? Is it holiday traditions handed down or developed over the years? Memories of holidays past? People you have loved and lost? Delicious food you enjoy each year? Seeing people you don’t see very often?
One thing many of us associate to the holidays, regardless of faith or upbringing, is giving. While a source of joy in many respects, it can also cause frustration or resentment. It seems that every time you turn around, someone somewhere is asking for a donation or gift. What to do? While the answer isn’t quite so simple, here are a few ideas:
- Just say no: It is ok to say no. Co-workers or well meaning friends and family want to exchange gifts, and we don’t want to seem cheap or miss out on the fun. At the same time, we participate – sometimes begrudgingly- though we are really just “going through the motions.” When you give or participate, doesn’t it feel much better when it’s done from a place of enthusiasm instead of compulsion? This isn’t to say don’t join in the activities – just re-consider the gift exchange piece of it. Maybe you can plan a weekend away or nice meal out and enjoy relaxing time together instead.
2. Be mindful about your approach: give some thought to they causes that are most important to you. Which organizations match your personal values? Who is doing the work you want to support? Reserve your giving to those charities.
3. Research the organizations you plan to donate to: this is especially important if you plan to donate a sizable amount (and only you can decide what sizable means). Established charities can provide annual reports upon request (they may be available on their website). These annual reports show how much the organization received, and how they use their money. Be wary of organizations that don’t invest most of their money in program expenses- those expenses used to provide the actual services to end users.
4. Involve your family: our children often amaze us don’t they? Even those times it seems like they are not paying attention, they watch us closely. Why not teach them by example? Some children are so inherently generous this comes naturally to them.
5. Take a little time to give to yourself, too: for some, this is a struggle and it doesn’t feel quite right. This does not mean you have to buy yourself an expensive gift or go away for the weekend. It means you do something you enjoy, just for yourself, no matter how small, that will bring you joy during the holidays. And guess what? Those around you will feel it too. Isn’t it easier to give something you have in abundance?
Just like over eating or drinking too much alcohol, giving too much can make us sick, too. Please keep this in mind and don’t “give until it hurts.”
Wherever you go and whatever you do, my prayer is that you experience the love, peace, joy and magic that surrounds you this holiday season.
- With 20 years experience in the financial industry, Joseph Fairchild loves to help others make sound financial decisions. He is an amazing husband to Dr. Brenda and father to Madelyn.