In an ever increasingly individualistic and materialistic culture it’s good to take some time to re-evaluate our priorities. Have you heard of the analogy of the water dam and the sprinkler? The water dam stores up water and hordes it. Eventually, it becomes so full it overflows. On the other hand, the sprinkler functions as a means of re-distributing water. It’s basically a conduit through which water flows to nurture the grass, trees, and plants around it.
Here’s 9 suggestions of how to “spread some water” or giving around this Christmas season:
1. Throw a Party
Celebrate time together whether it’s in celebration of family, friends, community, life, Jesus, or something else. Have a game night and invite the neighbors. Wether it’s poker, party games, card games, or something else there’s lot of opportunities to build memories with others. Cook as a group and deliver a meal to those in need. Or visit a senior home and throw them a party. Or just take the time to listen to them. This can be a very lonely time of year for some people. Take some college students or teens out to eat. Celebrate in the presence of other people. Joy can be very contagious!
What kind of party could you throw this month?
2. Invite People to Your Home
Some of us have many luxurious items that others might enjoy. Be it a home theater system, the latest video game console, a pool, a ping pong table, a foosball table, friendly pets, etc. there always an experience you could share with others. Why keep it to yourself? See if there’s a way you can share your luxuries with others and build community.
Who could you invite to your home this month?
3. Contribute to Your Local Church or Favorite Charity
One idea is to give a gift card or other form of gift to your local ministers in appreciation for their service. Many churches try to do outreaches this time of year to help those in need. Our church does a Christmas Store once a year in an effort to give back to the local community and those in need. Every December, a couple weekends before Christmas we partner with local schools to help parents who have been crippled by the instability of our economy to “shop” for their children.
Check you this short 1 minute video of the Christmas store below.
Still another way to give back is to give to your favorite charity. Some of our favorite charities are:
What additional donation to your church or charity could you give to this month?
4. Give to Others When You Receive
Christmas comes around the same time each year. Birthdays surprisingly also fall on the same date each year. It’s wonderful to receive gifts from friends and family. A good idea would be to give something away for each item you receive. When the kids get a new toy give one away. Why not right? Keep all the toys in a box and when it starts to overflow you know it’s time to do some spring or fall cleaning. When you get a new pair of pants, a shirt, or sweater give one away.
What could you give away this month?
5. Set Aside a Portion of Your Budget to Bless Others
Generosity is contagious. Regardless of your religion, studies have shown that those who give are happier and live longer than those who don’t. If you are a Christian call it a tithe or free will offering. Call it whatever you want but give! I don’t know anyone who has ever gone without because they were generous. Ann Frank said it well:
What portion of your budget could you set aside to bless others this month?
6. Get Involved in The Community
With success and promotions comes added responsibilities in your career. However, don’t forget to give back to the community. Volunteer at the local shelter, food bank, or library. See if there are opportunities to volunteer at the local YMCA or community center. Or join organizations like the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America to invest in the lives of kids and teens.
What ways could you get involved with the community this month?
7. Contact Someone in Overseas or Inner City Outreach
Wether it’s an overseas missionary, volunteering with inner city opportunities, or becoming involved with local outreach like Apartment Life take time in reaching out to others. It can be easy to convince ourselves poor people don’t exist. Out of site out of mind kind of thing. Yet there are poor people all around us. It’s easy to build up our fences in our lives and ignore them.
Are you building fences or bridges? Where could you give back to help the poor?
8. Treat a Person to a Luxury They Could Never Afford
This could be a a gift in the form of a really nice meal, a sports event, a concert, or something else the person would normally not be able to afford. Or if you wanted to be more practical you could provide for a person’s need by buying someone a pre-owned car or paying a person in need’s rent for the month.
What luxury or need could you gift this month?
9. Self-Impose a Luxury Tax
It’s a great idea when you treat yourself to a night out, a new purchase, a weekend get-away, luxury cruise, or a vacation to give to a worthy cause. Take say anywhere from 1% or 20% of the cost of the luxury and give a donation to your favorite charity, local church, or other cause. You choose the numbers and conditions of course. But this can be a great way to give.
What kind of luxury tax could you impose on yourself to help you be generous to others?
I hope these were helpful, creative suggestions to stimulate your thinking in ways to be generous this holiday season. Are you acting like a sprinkler or a water dam this holiday season?
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How are you generous this time of year? What are your favorite charities? Can you think of any other creative ways to give this holiday season?