I’ve always had trouble saying “no.” And this time of year really tests me.
Today I was asked at the grocery check-out, “do you want to make a donation to veteran’s care?” (Insert guilty smile and “no, sorry, not today.”) This was shortly after receiving an email asking if I could sponsor a local family’s Thanksgiving meal. There was also: Will you help purchase a local family’s Christmas gifts? Can you send in a dish for the preschool Thanksgiving lunch? Will you help your mom’s group plan, make and serve a meal at a community food pantry? Will you donate money or time to create and deliver gifts to a local nursing home? Can you please buy items from an area medical center’s Amazon wishlist? Will you donate to your relative’s birthday fundraiser to help children in Nepal? And will you volunteer at your child’s school this month, too?
No joke: this is only a portion of what I’ve seen in the last 3 days alone! It's only going to get more intense as the holiday season ramps up.
Every single request is worthy, and highlights the tremendous amount of need across our community. But, what to do?! Here’s my plan, and I hope it’s helpful to someone else, too.
3. Give yourself a break. Remember that you are only one person; you can’t do it all! Giving back should not be stressful or anxiety-inducing. Think about how much time and energy can you realistically contribute. Grab that list again and jot down the 2-3 things that are most important to you. Keep this paper on your desk to keep you focused on your priorities.
4. Perform double-duty wherever possible. Can you bring food and volunteer to help serve at the pre-school Thanksgiving lunch? And thus avoid guilt if you decline at next month’s holiday event. As you tackle Christmas gift buying, we of course would encourage buying products that pull double-duty. You’ll feel much better knowing you spent $22 on jewelry for your sister that is also helping women be free from sex-trafficking, or $10 on a hostess gift that is more purposeful than a candle from Home Goods.
(Although I do love Home Goods!)
Giving back is completely subjective - subject to your interests and values, plus available time, skills and money. It should always be rewarding, so let’s agree to not get overwhelmed this year, set limits and embrace the joy of giving any way you can.
How do you navigate all the heart-wrenching requests and opportunities this time of year? We'd love to hear!
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We are working on exciting plans for 2018! Stay tuned for more upcoming events!
Brunch Fest, Union Station, Washington, DC
Saturday, February 3rd
Tickets Still Available!
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