One of the Christmas season’s most popular traditions is the giving of gifts. From Black Friday until Christmas Eve, there are enough shopping options to make anyone’s head spin. And if we’re not careful, we can end up with a pile of bills and maxed-out credit cards.
There’s a better way to give. Sometimes the best gift we can give someone doesn’t come in a box. And while we may not be able to nix all of the store-bought goodies we give, shifting our expectations – for both giving and receiving – can lead to a richer holiday season.
Science supports this. Studies conducted at the Wharton School and published in Harvard Business Review revealed that giving our time to others can help us feel more “time-affluent” than we feel when we waste time (cat videos, anyone?) or spend time on ourselves. The studies showed that those who give of their time feel more capable and useful, and when we feel more effective, we become more productive. And another study, conducted by the Corporation for National and Community Service found that helping others by volunteering can lead to better health – particularly as we get older. Those who give their time for others, the study found, had greater longevity and less depression.
So why not start a tradition of giving back this year? Whether it’s with a donated toy or a random act of kindness, we can look beyond ourselves and the problems of the day – and become part of the solution. And giving back can help ease the winter blues we can feel during the holidays.
This season we want to encourage you to give back in your community. We’d love for you to share your ideas with us on the Christmas in Huntsville Facebook page. On Twitter and Instagram, be sure and use #ChristmasinHuntsville. Here are some of our favorite ideas, to get you started.