No sooner does Thanksgiving end than the chaotic shopping season begins—a month-long search to buy something, anything, for everyone. Gifts, decorations, wrapping paper, food…. There are so many things to spend money on this time of year. Last year, holiday retail sales surpassed a trillion dollars.

Tis the season of buying people junk they probably don’t want or need. Last year I received a Santa cookie jar, an instant egg cooker and an asparagus plate (who needs a plate designed and fitted just for asparagus???). All of them are crammed into my “gift” closet along with previous holiday junk gifts. Personal secret: I try to regift them whenever I can, just passing on the junk. It should be called “rejunking.”;-)

None of us  really needs more stuff, and yet we feel obligated to show our love and holiday cheer by giving more stuff. The holidays are such a meaningful time, but it seems we’re losing the idea of what that meaning really is.

Problem: Gifts we don’t want
Solution: Charity

There’s an alternative that’s much more rewarding and gets money to people who really need it in these challenging times—Why not give your friends and family money they can use to support a cause they care about? 

A charity product JustGive launched over a decade ago is growing in popularity and use: a Charity Gift Card. It’s a single gift that is personal and meaningful. 

With a Charity Gift Card, the giver makes a charitable donation, and the recipient gets to direct that donation to a charity of their choice.  

You can buy Charity Gift Cards online, and customize them by amount and appearance–adding a family photo or corporate logo–and have them delivered one of three ways: by email, in print, or as an actual plastic card that ships the same day it’s ordered. This gift engages your giftee, and lets them redeem the card to any of more than a million charities

Imagine all the good we could do by swapping junk gifts for Charity Gift Cards. We’d fund immediate needs and causes, strengthen connections between us, and start more meaningful conversations. The gifts we give and receive would keep us more in the true  holiday spirit.

Imagine this holiday looks different, in the best possible way: the gifts we give to the people we care about help the causes and charities they care about. You’re combining giving presents and helping with needs—and this year in particular, needs have never been greater. For the price of a scarf, you can change someone’s life. 

And researchers have found a direct connection between donating to charity and your overall well-being. As Ariana Huffington said, “The biggest shortcut to happiness is giving.”

Imagine if the holidays were no longer about giving material gifts but about coming together to change the world. 

Highlight of The Week: A FREE $100 charity gift card for you

For more than 10 years, Ray Dalio has given Charity Gift Cards through JustGive and TisBest to his friends and colleagues, and has found it incredibly fulfilling. 

Now he wants to share that experience with everyone. This holiday, Ray is giving away $1 million in free charity gift cards. When you go to that day, you’ll receive a $100 charity gift card. 

His message to you is:
There are no strings attached. My hope is simply that you will experience the joy of receiving a charitable gift rather than a traditional one, and you might consider giving charitable gifts to your friends, families, and colleagues. I promise that it will fill you with the holiday spirit, and I hope that you will pass this idea along to others who you think would appreciate it as well.

Challenge of the Week: Deliberately make charity more a part of your holiday this year

Let’s Redefine Gifting this holiday season. Instead of the gifts without meaning we sometimes feel compelled to give, consider giving charity gift cards or making donations on behalf of friends & family. And ask that they do the same for you!

It’s a simple idea. . . but one that will bring more meaning to you, your family, and people around the world who need more help this year. 

My challenge is for you to make at least one of your gifts this season a Charity Gift Card. Include charitable giving as part of your holiday—and pass this idea on to your friends and family too! Chances are, you’ll feel happier you did.

Let us know how you’re integrating charity into your holiday! Just drop us an email (and watch for your actions to be shared here). 

Kendall Webb, Executive Director,

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