Everyone seems stressed this time of year. And the number one stressor for most people seems to be holiday giving. Everyone is in search of the “perfect gift.” What if the perfect gift isn’t a thing at all?
When I look back on my memories of holidays past, it isn’t the things I remember, it’s the experiences I recall. Things like the year it was so warm on Christmas day, we could ride our bikes before the snow fell that night. Or the time my cousins and uncles put together an impromptu band at the family Christmas Eve celebration. They were pretty good, too!
I think most people would prefer to have an experience to treasure and remember rather than just one more thing. Holiday giving is about the experience, not the things. And giving an experience is easier than you think.
For years I worked in nonprofits, as a Curator of Education at the Western Reserve Historical Society, at The Henry Ford and Greenfield Village, and at the Wyandotte Historical Society. Every museum I worked with spent a great deal of time and energy creating holiday giving experiences.
Based on my experience, let me share some new ways to expand your options on holiday giving.
The first option for holiday giving is to give a donation to a nonprofit meaningful to your recipient in their name. So many of us have so much stuff, a more meaningful holiday gift may be to support a cause near and dear to your receiver’s heart. Most nonprofits happily accept cash gifts of any size.
The second option for holiday giving is to give a membership to a nonprofit. For years, Tripp and I gave Smithsonian memberships, which come with an awesome magazine. A family with young children might appreciate a zoo membership. The possibilities are endless.
The third option for holiday giving is to give a special event at a nonprofit. For example, The Henry Ford has evening holiday dinners at the Eagle Tavern in Greenfield Village. A candlelight dinner with food made using period recipes, eaten in a historic building is truly an unforgettable experience.
The fourth option for holiday giving is to arrange to spend a day together volunteering for a cause. When a nonprofit has a fundraiser, they need people to help organize, set up, and run the event. Animal shelters need people to socialize the cats and dogs and walk them to help them to more adoptable. Hospitals need volunteers for countless activities.
Volunteering gives you and your recipient a shared experience, helps your cause, and has incredible health benefits. I’ll write a blog on the health benefits of volunteering in a future blog.
These are just a few ideas for holiday giving that provide an experience to those receiving gifts from you, as well as help organizations that help others. It really is the perfect gift, holiday giving that keeps giving beyond the holidays!
See you next week.