How many years in a row have we built our holiday shopping list based on who will be giving us something in return? Parents, children, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, neighbors, friends…the list can go on and on. Cue the days of endless shopping and searching for something, anything, to get them.

Is this really the purpose of our holidays?

Are we making the best use of our time and resources?

We don’t think so.

Practice selfless giving with your family this holiday season. Try a selfless gift swap. Have each family member make a list of causes they care about, then make a donation or volunteer in their name in place of a tangible gift.

Not only does your giving make a difference in the life of someone in true need, it can change the lives of your family. Selfless giving teaches children compassion and empathy, as well as, to be thankful for what they already have. Selfless giving builds assets like the importance of service to others (asset #9), instills a sense of purpose that what they do really matters (asset #39), and teaches about equality and social justice (asset #27).

Want to get started? Check out how to get started and how to give locally or globally below.


Have a cause your family is passionate about?

Check out CharityNavigator for more information on your favorite charities or CreateTheGood to search for volunteer opportunities by cause in your zip code!


Give Locally…

David’s Legacy Foundation — This is a cause very close to our hearts. Donate to their efforts to raise awareness of cyberbullying, protect youth from its effects, and support anti-cyberbullying legislation.

SCOPE (Summer Camp Opportunities Promote Education) — SCOPE provides children from underserved communities with life changing opportunities through the experience of summer camp at nonprofit, resident camps which will empower them to develop to their full potential.

Make-A-Wish — Tens of thousands of volunteers, donors and supporters advance the Make-A-Wish® vision to grant the wish of every child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition. In the United States and its territories, on average, a wish is granted every 35 minutes. You can donate to the national organization or to a local chapter.

Big Brothers Big Sisters — Since 1904, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been changing children’s lives by matching them with caring adults to guide them on a path to success.


…or Give Globally

United States Fund for UNICEF

Red Cross

Institute of International Education

Rotary Foundation

Direct Relief

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