TBT: True Christmas Spirit

As we enter into the Christmas Season, it’s especially important to be intentional about giving. Adam’s post below offers practical advice that refuses to try and guilt us with a “How ‘Real Christians’ Give” one-size-fits-all checklist. This is why Adam is awesome.

How You Can Help Others this Holiday Season (Even Though Money’s Tight For All of Us)

Everyone likes charity and giving to others, but it’s not always as easy as it sounds. Which charity should you support, and how much should you give? A lot of people want to help out, but never come up with a real plan and, as a result, they never really manage to do as much as they would like.

But it can be simple. Most charities will help you set up a regular donation, and you can usually do this on their website.  My wife and I give a monthly donation to the North Texas Food Bank and we’ve been doing it for years without really any work on our part. The money is automatically taken from our bank account and feeds hungry mouths in our town.

How much should you give? Start with an amount you won’t miss. Sure, it’s cool to give half of your salary, or something dramatic like that, but you might not be able to make a gesture of that magnitude. So, just think of a number that you can live with. Could you do without $10 a month? $20? Would you even notice that amount leaving your account?

$10 might not sound like much, but it can buy enough food to give a few people a meal when you put it in the right hands.  Even a donation of a few dollars a month is helpful.

But how do you choose a charity? I recommend looking for groups in your area, and then doing research on them. You can actually check out charities on the Better Business Bureau website. Not every charity will be there, but it’s a good place to start. If it’s a local charity, then it shouldn’t be too hard to find out if they actually have a place where they feed the needy or hand out clothing – you can just drive around and see for yourself. Another tip is to ask if the donation is tax deductible–even if you’re not planning on the deduction–because if it’s a fake charity they will not be able to do that.

Find a charity you can believe in and consider donating a few dollars (or a lot of dollars) to them, each month. You’ll be making a big difference and you won’t even notice. It’s easy, so do it. Today. And when you give thanks this Holiday season, you’ll know that you’ve passed along some help to people who need it.

(Some of you might wonder why I’ve mentioned local charity to the exclusion of international aid, or some other way to help people. Every method of charity is fine, but I think what I’ve recommended here is a simple way for people to get involved with just a few moments of their time.)

Adam Jones
Adam Jones is a licensed minister who also has an M.A. in Medieval Studies from Southern Methodist University. His academic work has been focused on church history, monastic approaches, and pop-culture.