Thursday, December 11, 2008

Giving When You Have "Nothing" To Give

Christmastime, more than any other time of year, is a time when thoughts turn to giving to others. From the bell-ringers in front of stores to the beautiful Christmas labels sent from charities, the reminder of those in need is all around us. And it is wonderful that we all feel the spirit of the season and want to give.

However, when you yourself are tight on money, it can be very difficult to reconcile the desire to give with actually doing it. The wonderful thing about giving though is that you don't always have to give money. There are many other ways to help that are equally noble yet to not cost money.

  1. Time. Your time is a valuable and precious commodity. It is also one of the easiest things that you can give. Take time to visit a senior center or hospital and visit the lonely. Take time to volunteer a few hours at a food pantry or soup kitchen. Take time to help a local church or school decorate for a Christmas play. The family can often participate in this as a group. However, if there is not an option where you can take the children with you and you do not have the ability to go with them, volunteer your time at home. Local charities might need help stuffing envelopes or typing newsletters. Type out a booklet of cheap and easy recipes, make a few dozen copies, and give them to a food pantry to distribute. The opportunities really are endless if you get a little creative.
  2. Donations. We all are familiar with the idea of donating old, outgrown clothes to charity. But why not donate something new? If any member of your family receives a gift that will not get adequate use, donate it instead of returning it. Also, take the time to explore other donating outlets. Instead of taking everything to Salvation Army, split the items for donation among different groups. For example, give the clothes to a food pantry, household goods and books to Salvation Army, and shoes to Shoes4Souls. (Check around, there are many Shoes4Souls drop-off locations, especially at shoe stores.)
  3. Skills. Put your skills and talents to good use. If you knit, sew, quilt, crochet, etc. make some blankets to donate to one of the many blanket donation programs, or make a hat, scarf and mittens to donate. Many areas churches and schools collect donations for these types of programs during the holidays. If you are a skilled baker, make some extra goodies to share with an elderly neighbor or a family that could use a little boost.
The opportunities to give that do not require writing a check are limitless and just as important. If you feel led to give this year, there is no reason to let a lack of extra money stop you. Trust me, I've been there!

Visit Crystal's blog for more Frugal Friday.

4 comments:

Lynn 9:23 PM  

Great post. Thanks!

Chrissie 1:27 AM  

I think people will start to think this way a lot more in the future just because of the times right now. So many loosing jobs. Not knowing if they will even be able to stay in their homes.
I think I'm gonna start making things throughout the year to give for next year.
Take care, Chrissie

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama 8:01 AM  

I did a similar post today! I think it is important for people to realize that you can still give no matter the condition of your wallet. Happy FF!

Aimee Kieffer, aka "Momzoo" 2:21 PM  

You are SO right!

This year our congragation got together and made Chritmas for a few family in the church. We make Christmas dresses and PJ's there was wood donated by a few people and a man made several baby doll cradles, then a lady who is a beautiful artist panted each cradle. There was a lot of money food, baked goods etc donated. It was a wonderful thing to be a part of and so many lives were blessed because of it. (the givers and the recpients)

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