Archives For Giving

Christmas Gifts Storm Trooper

What does a  Stormtrooper give his little troopers? Credit Kalexanderson.

Christmas is a season of giving. It is about blessing others because we ourselves have been blessed. It is a time to remember the gift of Jesus. We want to express our love and appreciation. Plus there are other reasons to give that I wrote about if you need more motivation to give.

You may be convinced that you should give gifts for Christmas, but there are other thorny questions lingering about giving that we should address.

Should I give if I’m in debt?

Yes, I suggest to my clients that you should continue to be in the practice of giving. Be cautious about your heart that it doesn’t become greedy, even though you’re in debt. Decide to give a certain percentage of your income each month as a practice. If there is no way you can give money this year, then give your time volunteering at a local non-profit.

I don’t want to give ‘Stuff’. What should I do?

Give relationally! Give gifts that will have you spend time together. Puzzles, games, outings, events…etc. Relationships are more important than boxes. Have you heard of the Advent Conspiracy?

How much should I spend on Christmas gifts?

You’ll have to decide for yourself of course. I do suggest you make a budget and stick to it. There is no reason to go into debt to buy stuff for others, especially if it involved co-signing or loans.

Can I give too much at Christmas?

As long as you don’t go into debt, go crazy giving. Just be wise in how you go about it. You don’t want to make a relationship awkward by giving too much. If you’ve got the dough, go and bless others!

I’m not a Christian, can I still give gifts for Christmas?

While Christmas is largely a religious holiday, it is also part of Western culture. If you want to give, then give. There are no restrictions. I’m sure both you and your receiver will be blessed no matter your spiritual views.

Whom should I give to?

Again, a personal decision. If you feel obligated to give to someone out of guilt or shame, then perhaps either your motivation needs checking or that relationship mending. If you’re in business don’t forget your boss, co-workers, clients, and vendors.

Should I give my boss a Christmas gift?

Why are you giving to them? To show thanks? To get a promotion? Giving to your boss or co-workers can be tricky. Whew! I’m glad I’m self-employed. Here is a good guide for shopping for your boss and coworkers.

I got a gift last year that I didn’t use. Is re-gifting ok?

Yes, but don’t get caught or give something cheesy unless it’s funny and the recipient will get your humor. Remember Seinfeld’s “The Label Maker”?

Is it ok to give cash for a Christmas present?

Of couse! Especially in hard economic times or if you don’t know what to get someone, then cash or a gift card is acceptable.

I want to give to charity. How do I know if my charity is legitimate?

First off, I’d ask them. This is a common question and they should have a ready answer including reports, recommendations, and facts. You can also check out Charity Navigator or Guidestar to see if your nonprofit is listed.

Action: What are thoughts about giving? Please share in the comments below. Merry Christmas! 

The following is an excerpt from a reader about their endeavor to give bags of goodies to the homeless in Los Angeles: 

“A few weeks ago, some moms and I got together to make ‘blessing bags‘ for the homeless. Basically a gallon size Ziploc bag full of nonperishable snacks and small toiletries. You keep them in your car and give them to homeless people begging at stoplights. I was inspired by my daughter who saw a man holding a sign that said “hungry” and wanted to help him.

Anyway, we made the bags and listening to some of the stories coming back are curious. We are all having trouble giving the bags away!!! The homeless people I’ve encountered have either yelled at me, simply declined, or asked if there’s “any money in there.”

Now I’m trying not to feel hurt. And I’m trying to figure out why they don’t want my goodwill!”- Reader Email

Alternative Giving to Homeless: My Thoughts

If you live in an urban area, homelessness is an overt fact. I (Brent) rode the subway from Hollywood to downtown Los Angeles (yes, we do have a few subways) and was hit up twice for money on that trip.

I honestly didn’t have cash or change and I’m always torn about whether to give it when I do. Am I the only one with this dilemma?

My wife and I have also made and given out such Ziplock bags of goodies to the homeless. We learned in San Francisco that fresh clean socks are a hot item among the homeless, so they seemed appreciative.

We were never yelled, but they did seem confused at times when we leaned out the car window to offer our blessing bag.

Why did we make up these bags instead of handing out money? Lack of trust for those who would use money to harm themselves. The desire to do good. Wanting to help the problem and not fuel the problem. We wanted to feel good about ourselves…It’s a complex answer isn’t it?

Homelessness is a macro problem, and the solutions needed are multilayered and complex. I only hope the goodwill and blessing bags of this group of moms and children will change this world for the better.

Have you ever participated in alternative giving to a homeless person? Please share in the comments below.

November Mentions & Stats

Thanks to all the new RSS subscribers, daily readers, those who have followed on Twitter, and random folks for stopping by! This has been our biggest month yet and we owe it all to you.

Visits: 4,641
Unique Visitors: 4,383
Pageviews: 6,034OTC received a few mentions on other sites in November for which I am grateful:

Top Articles in November
Top Comments at On Target Coach

10 Reasons to Give

Brent Pittman —  02/16/2011

Below are 10 reasons (not in any order) to give from the humorous to practical and also spiritual.

  1. Tax write offs.
  2. God is a giver.
  3. To have your name on a plaque or corner of a building (legacy).
  4. Teach your children and grandchildren to give.
  5. Build your own character.
  6. Because it’s fun and feels good! (better to give than receive)
  7. To make a difference in the world.
  8. By giving to non-profits and charity organizations we can do more together than you can do alone.
  9. We have so much and waste so much already.
  10. Because money isn’t everything and won’t buy true happiness or peace.

Here are some other reasons why people give: