We all know it’s that time of year for gifts wrapped in beautiful paper and adorned with practically perfect bows, that time of year when it feels especially good to sit fireside with a cup of coffee and when schedules start to get a little hectic balancing family time and Christmas parties. In my pre-holiday haste, I always try to stop and remind myself what the season is really about: giving.
This past weekend I was reminded of that as I helped to put on Pancakes With Princesses, a fundraiser for Columbia Jaycees and an initiative to raise money to send kids with disabilities to Camp Wonderland. And as adorable as it was to see giddy little girls dressed in princess gowns and see their eyes light up as they met Elsa and Anna while enjoying a plate piled high with pancakes, it was very special to see how many people came out on a Saturday morning to support a good cause.
Through lots of the events I’ve helped coordinate, I have seen people get awfully creative with how they raise money. There is the ever-popular silent auction or live auction that I’ve seen at galas and high-end events, but I think some of my favorite ways that people have given back are by small, individual gestures.
Over the summer, I worked with a bride and groom who were getting married a little later in life and in lieu of household supplies they already had or personalized items that were a bit over-the-top for their modest style, the couple asked that each guest donate to a charity in their honor. It was a way for guests to still show the couple their appreciation but in a way that meant a little bit more than a beautiful cake plate.
Another idea that I love seeing is gifting a donation in someone’s honor. Similar to a donation in lieu of gifts, it can often be a sweet surprise to drop a card in a card box that explains you have made a donation to an organization in honor of so-and-so’s 50th birthday. I’ve even seen it spark annual donations with couples who were gifted a donation in their honor for their wedding, and it continues to be something they do each year on their anniversary.
So how can you get involved and give back this holiday season? Well, maybe start by reading this adorable story I saw on Facebook yesterday. Grab the tissues first because this heartwarming story will not only pull at your heart strings but also jumpstart your want to do something good this season.
Locally, there’s a great opportunity that is called COMO Gives. It has evolved and grown over the past few years to now include 92 nonprofits that you can donate to with just a click of a button. It really is amazing to see how much money our community can earn when we join together and create a little competition for each other.
Personally, I’ve made my New Year’s Resolution around philanthropic involvement. Since 2016 was a year that I felt Ryan and I were particularly blessed and often times the center of attention, I decided I wanted to give back in 2017. Together, we are making it our resolution to participate in a philanthropic activity once a month for all 12 months of 2017. It might be volunteering at the food bank or cooking meals for Ronald McDonald House. And some months that are crazy busy might just be a clothing or monetary donation to a particular organization. But after the blessed year we’ve had this year, I know those donations will help others feel a little more blessed. So I challenge you to do something good too. Whether it’s donating time or money to an organization special to you this holiday season or joining Ryan and me for our 12 Months of Giving, let’s start to better our community because every little bit helps.