Holiday Giving: Creative Ways to Budget
Nothing embodies the spirit of the holiday season quite like generosity. Holiday giving allows us to focus on others, support efforts we care deeply about, and inspire joy and kindness in those around us. But since budgets are notoriously tighter in the winter months, it can be easy to let opportunities for giving pass us by. Here are a few (fun!) tips on how to budget for giving this holiday season.
Brainstorm holiday giving with friends or family
Inviting others into the conversation of holiday giving reinforces the value of generosity and creates excitement around sharing with others. Dedicate one evening in December to discussing which efforts you care about with your friends or family. Together, choose an organization (or a few) that reflects your values. Selecting causes close to your heart makes it easier to stay motivated and excited about giving.
Make the budgeting process fun and creative
“Budget” sounds boring, but adding some engaging visuals brings the process to life. To keep giving on your mind, create a visual reminder or measure of your giving goals. A quick web search offers countless templates, but in a household with creatives or young children, it’s even more fun to make your own. No matter what form your giving visual takes — a chart, a calendar, a jar, or something unique — adding personal touches makes the cause feel all the more special.
Set–and celebrate!–your giving goals
Another way to stay excited is to celebrate your giving goals. Generosity forms the heart of giving, but that doesn’t mean neglecting the joy of accomplishing your goals. Break down your giving into smaller amounts, and when you hit a milestone, allow yourself to celebrate with a small reward. Snack on your favorite sweet treat, or allow yourself to watch an extra episode of your favorite show. To get others involved, have family or friends write encouraging notes and pull one out when you reach a reward. Holiday giving blesses everyone involved, including you!
Choose the amount you want to give
Perhaps the easiest way to budget for holiday giving is to base the amount on what you’re already planning to spend or on what you might receive as a gift. We list a few suggestions below.
- Donate the same dollar amount you spend on one person’s gift.
- Commit to donating a predetermined percentage of the money you’re gifted. For example, if you commit to donating 10% and end up receiving $100, set aside $10 for your favorite charity.
- If you return a gift that someone else bought you, consider donating the money you get back. Alternately, donate the item to a local organization. This is a great option for especially tight budgets because nothing comes out of pocket.
It may not be as exciting, but sometimes a simple, practical approach to budgeting makes the most sense. Planning ahead with firm numbers takes the guesswork out of giving, allowing you a stress-free experience.
Now, it’s time for the most rewarding part of the process! Whether you give online or in-person, we encourage you to include others in your giving process—it spreads the joy and kindness of the season. Allow your children and loved ones to witness the impact of giving first-hand. If you give to a local organization, introduce yourself to some of the staff, or consider volunteering in the future. A one-time holiday gift can grow into a rich relationship with others in your community.
We hope this helps you as you think through holiday giving this year. Who knows? Maybe fun, collaborative generosity will become a holiday tradition for years to come. Happy giving!