Pies are cooling, turkey is dry-brined and in the refrigerator, so let’s take a break from Thanksgiving and talk about giving itself.
There are the standard ways you think of charitable giving during the holidays–spare change in the Salvation Army bucket, food drives, angel trees, sponsoring families, etc.–but here are a few more ideas maybe you haven’t thought of. They’re all easy, involving things you’re likely already doing during the holidays, are almost all free, and all help contribute a little to a lot of great charitable organizations. The more people who know about these, the bigger a difference we can make together!
Odds are pretty good that you’re going to be shopping on Amazon in the next month. Next time, just go to smile.amazon.com, choose from over a million charities to support, and every time you shop, a portion goes to that charity. It’s the same website, with your same login, and millions of the same products are eligible for donation. So just remember to type a few extra letters before you do your Christmas shopping to help your chosen cause!
Letters to Santa:
Heading to the mall? Bring your kids’ letters to Santa! For every stamped letter addressed to Santa at the North Pole placed in a Macy’s red mailbox, the company donates $1 (up to $1,000,000) to the Make A Wish Foundation. Yep, it’s really that easy. Plus, it makes a great photo op, even if–especially if–your photo with St. Nick didn’t turn out so great. (You don’t want to see our Santa photos.) Learn more here.
Every Mile Counts:
Do you run, walk, or cycle? Then get the free app Charity Miles. For every mile you go, a corporation donates 25 cents (10 cents for cycling) to your choice of over 30 charities. Even walking your kid to school, walking the dog, or walking the mall during your Christmas shopping–not to mention your morning run or spin class–can help raise money for charity. All you need to do is remember to turn on the app before you start moving! And you can get creative: turn it on indoor mode during a workout class; run it while you’re out mowing the lawn, raking leaves, or shoveling snow; run it on indoor at the grocery store. Just like that, you’re helping out charitable organizations by doing things you’re already doing anyway!
Shop with a Conscience:
(Photo cred: my 6-year-old)
Finally, while you’re shopping for friends and family, do a little research the companies you’re buying from. Many are already giving back, so by supporting them, you can support their causes. Here are a few we love. TOMS‘ motto is “one for one:” for every product you purchase, they provide someone in need with shoes, sight, clean water, safe childbirth, or counseling for bullying. Patagonia gives 1% to environmental organizations and is seriously dedicated to corporate and environmental responsibility. And my newest discovery is Punjammies, seriously comfortable and cute pajama pants (and t-shirts and other stuff) made by women in India wanting to remain free from sexual slavery; the parent organization, Sudara, provides them the job training they need to break the cycle and provide for their families. (Don’t tell my sister and sisters-in-law, but they’re all getting these PJs!)
So there you go. Just a few ways to make the things you’re already doing this season–heading to the mall, going for a run, doing your Christmas shopping–make a difference for someone else.
Had you already heard of some of these? What are some other ways you give back during the holidays?