The gift of giving this Christmas

The gift of giving this Christmas

Christmas is a time when we come together to celebrate with our family and friends. And, for those who haven’t been able to see friends and family due to border closures, it will be an even more joyous occasion this year.

Gift-giving is typically a big part of celebrating Christmas and provides a great opportunity to reach out to support those who have done it tough this year.

Charity is not just about money

There are so many ways you can give back to the community. It’s not always about making a monetary contribution – giving your time is just as valuable. Volunteering at the local soup kitchen on Christmas Day or helping at your local Foodbank or food rescue service like OzHarvest can be just as valuable. Donating clothes, blankets or any other household items that will help those less fortunate or vulnerable is always welcome, especially at shelters for both men and women.

In recent years, gift bags or hampers are becoming increasingly popular too. It’s as simple as buying non-perishable food items or toiletries from the supermarket and creating a food hamper or gift bag.

Every Christmas, Kmart has the Wishing Tree Appeal whereby you can purchase a gift for a child and leave it under the tree in the store.

If you’re unable to donate cash or volunteer your time, a blood donation at the Australian Red Cross is another option. They are always in desperate need of donors. And when you donate, you’ll not only get to enjoy a little snack afterward, but you’ll receive a text message a few days later telling you exactly where your donation went.

Donating regularly

During the pandemic, there was a significant decrease in the number of donations made to charities across the country, and unfortunately, the amount of money we donated declined as well. People were unsure about job security, whilst others had chosen to donate specifically to the Bushfire Appeal early in 2020.i

Now we are coming out the other side of the pandemic economically, reports show donations are rebounding and are on the rise again. Those who donate, do so regularly and they usually have specific charities that they donate to. This may be due to personal circumstances or to support something they are passionate about.

If you’re considering donating to a charity this Christmas, you may want to do a little research first to find out exactly how your money is being distributed. How much goes directly to those in need and how much is being spent on admin and running costs. This is an important factor for many and may impact your decision in terms of which charity you choose to support.

The positive effects of donating or volunteering

Donating - whether it’s our time or money - will always make us feel good, but it shouldn’t be the key driver. Think about the impact your donation or time will have on those who are on the receiving end.

Donating will not only have a positive effect on the recipient, but it can also be beneficial to your children. You can teach them from a young age that giving back to the community can be very rewarding for many reasons.

Maximising your donation

There are so many charities to choose from in Australia, but it’s also worth considering international organisations as well. You may prefer to donate locally, but if you decide to choose an international charity, your dollar will more than likely go a lot further. Especially in developing countries, where they may need clean water, medical supplies, or even infrastructure to build schools for young children.

Remember, if you donate $2 or more, you may also be able to make a claim on your donation at tax time.

So, whether you’re volunteering at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen or giving a monetary donation – helping others who are less fortunate could be the best gift of all this Christmas.

To find out more about volunteering or donating in your local city go to - Christmas In Australia

i JBWere and NAB Charitable Giving Index

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


Maybe just maybe, Christmas is a little more in 2020

Maybe just maybe, Christmas is a little more in 2020

 

What if Christmas, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”― Dr. Seuss

 

This year has looked different to other years, as the COVID-19 pandemic impacted our lives in many ways. As we look towards the festive season after what has been quite a challenging year for many, we need to consider how this celebration too might change.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Gratitude has been a real focus to the year, and as a result many people are shifting away from the silly season’s materialism and excess to reassess what Christmas means to them.

Our “new normal” festive season , can be one that is memorable and joy-filled, whether you celebrate this holiday or just enjoy unwinding at the end to the year.

Expressing gratitude

Being thankful for what we have is important; especially so in a year in which bad news may have overpowered the good. While perhaps you will be unable to travel to your annual holiday destination or see as many people as you ordinarily would, it’s helpful to focus on what you still have instead of what is missing.

Rather than merely being a buzzword, gratitude has been shown to reduce depression, anxiety and stress.i Whether it’s around the table at Christmas or in the lead up to the holidays, tell your loved ones what you’re thankful for, as this can inspire them to also reflect on this. It can also help reframe the year from being one of hardship to also having contained moments of happiness and opportunities.

Creating memories

As many of us have been separated from loved ones due to restrictions, the holidays provide an opportunity to reconnect in person. Even if you’re unable to continue certain traditions, such as a family road trip or a big indoor gathering, what truly matters is the time you spend with those you care for.

Perhaps even new traditions can be formed as you create memories together. Depending on what the restrictions will be come late December, you might be able to spend time with family and friends trying something different – if there has always been one designated Christmas host, perhaps this year you have a family picnic where everyone brings a dish to share.

Supporting others

Christmas time is synonymous with extending goodwill to all – and this year there are more people who are doing it tough as a result of the pandemic, as well as the bushfires earlier in 2020.

Give a helping hand to those who have fallen on hard times by volunteering some of your time to a worthy cause (such as a free meal service to those in need) or donating money if you’re able to. These gestures can also reaffirm your understanding of what you have to be thankful for.

Reducing overspending

Whether or not you were financially impacted by the pandemic this year, there is expected to be a trend of reduced spending over the Christmas period. A recent survey by Finder reported that 37% of Aussies plan to spend less on average this Christmas.ii

To reduce your spending, set and then stick to a budget. Don’t leave gift buying to the last minute when you’re more likely to miss bargains or to panic buy. Also watch your usage of your credit card, or buy-now-pay-later schemes so you don’t have a debt hangover in the new year to worry about.

As this year wraps up, we would like to express thanks for your support during 2020 and wish each and every one of you a safe and happy holiday season.

i https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17439760.2016.1221127

ii https://www.finder.com/christmas-spending-statistics

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.