From actions as simple as slipping a dollar bill into the red kettle of a Salvation Army bell ringer
The Holiday Spike In Giving
Turns out the eggnog might not be the only thing that gets spiked around Christmas. Historical tracking and research reveal we do in fact become more charitable around major holidays, particularly Christmas. According to USA Today, a full 34 percent of all charitable giving comes during the final three months of the year. The lion’s share of that, 18 percent, comes in December alone. And those trends hold steady even in the face of giving during the year to natural disaster relief efforts such as major hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes, even widespread health crisis around the globe. Americans tend not to alter their charitable habits in the face of these events and continue to dig deepest in December.
There’s Some Psychology To This Joy of Holiday Giving
Research studies published by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkley indicate we derive many of the same degrees of satisfaction in charitable holiday giving as we do in completing our Christmas shopping list for gifts on time and under budget. The studies identify five specific benefits resulting from both monetary donations to charities as well as holiday volunteering. Briefly, the benefits include:
1. Giving simply makes us happy. Harvard Business School Studies found that people who donated money to charities felt better about the act than if they had spent the money on themselves. The National Institute of Health has concluded that when people give to charities they feel a stronger social connection to those around them.
2. Giving is good for our health. Multiple studies have concluded those who donate, and contribute volunteer hours to offer emotional and other forms of support to family, friends, neighbors and their communities, actually reduce the risk of death over the next five year period. This finding was particularly true among senior citizens who donate and volunteer. The underlying reason? Giving and volunteering helps reduce stress, and the holidays can produce some of the most stressful times of the year for a number of reasons.
3. Giving promotes cooperation and social connection. Studies included in this story indicate that when we give, somewhere down the line life comes full circle, we tend to get back. This positive social interaction provides two keys to our mental and physical health.
4. Giving evokes gratitude. Researchers have found that when the givers are on the receiving end of gratitude from the recipients of charitable acts and donations, that recognition is an integral part of health, happiness, and social bonds.
5. Giving is contagious. When we give, it tends to spur others to do the same, creating a ripple effect in entire communities. As the major holidays approach people with means reflect on their positions compared to others, and the incentive to give during the holidays becomes stronger.
Holiday Giving Is A Time For Teaching
U.S. News & World Report provides insight into how the holiday season presents a ready-made opportunity for charitable actions by entire families, and that the holidays are the perfect time to teach children that the season is really about giving. This article offers 10 tips and examples of how families can engage in charity as a collective unit, taking on projects ranging from baking cookies
The Huffington Post points out that money is not the only way of giving during the holidays and offers a list of volunteer activities
An Education World article focuses on ways and lessons that teachers can illustrate to students that the holiday season isn’t necessarily about getting the brightest, new, shiniest toy, but that it offers invaluable practices and examples of how students can experience the joy of holiday giving. Their suggestions include activities ranging from developing the giving of “positive
Most of us can remember, word for word, all the lyrics from the “12 Days of Christmas.” And we know the rhythm and cadence of the long pause coming down the home stretch of the song, “Five------Golden------Rings……….”
We conclude our message about the joy of holiday giving with these five golden quotes we hope you will keep in your mind and heart as the holidays quickly approach.
“It’s now how much love we give, but how much love we put into giving.”—Mother Teresa
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”—Winston Churchill
“No one has ever become poor by giving.”—Anne Frank
Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see good in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true value.”—Thomas S. Monson
“Don’t wait for other people to be loving, giving, compassionate, grateful, forgiving, generous or friendly…lead the way!”—Steve Maraboli