Leisl L. Cording, CFP®
Senior Vice President & Financial Advisor
The holidays are an especially wonderful time to give and serve others. Learning that "giving" goes beyond buying presents for loved ones and really means helping those in need can be an especially eye-opening experience for children. Even better, doing something to help others as a family can bring your family closer together and allows children to see the adults in their lives modeling the behavior as well.
Helping others to live well is a central focus of ours here at Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors, whether that be through our work with our clients or out in the community. While we know it's true that planning and investing well is critical to empowering you to achieve the big goals you have for the future, giving to others is also a sure way to give yourself and them a taste of living well right now, and at any time.
With that in mind, here are eight ways you and your family can serve others this holiday season while spending quality time together and living well in the moment...
1. Bake Something Sweet For Those Who Serve Your Community
Who doesn’t love baking during the holidays? This is an activity you can do alone or with the whole family (and have fun with!) Take a day to bake some cookies and deliver them to your local fire station, police station, hospital, senior center or somewhere similar. If you're able, consider making your delivery day on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, when employees working away from their families will be especially appreciative.
2. Send Christmas Cards to Military Overseas
Military personnel can always use words of encouragement, love, and support, especially during the holiday season when they're away from their families. Take some time to write holiday cards to service members. If you're creating the cards with kids, you can make it extra fun by including stamps or stickers, and make it meaningful for them by explaining how the military members you're writing to serve our country.
3. Prepare a Meal and Deliver It to a Friend In Need
Do you have a friend that you know will be alone during the holidays, or a friend who you know could use some extra support and love during this holiday season? Prepare a meal for them and deliver it, along with a warm hug.
4. Pick a Day To Help Each Other
This is a great one in that we often go about our day-to-day routines without thanking our family members for all the things they do for us to make our lives better. Show your kids the importance of gratitude for the ones we love by helping each other out. Encourage your children to pick up their sibling’s room, take out the trash and show appreciation for one another. You could assign each child another family member to help for the day or assign each family member a "zone" of the house to be in charge of.
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5. Donate to Those in Need, In Big orLittle Ways
Giving to those who are less fortunate is a great thing to do in any season, but during the holidays the opportunities are bountiful. Of course, you can always make a financial donation to a qualified non-profit (which could provide you with a deduction at tax time), but donating to others doesn't necessarily have to cost a lot, or even anything at all.
For example, you could go through your books and donate the ones you'll no longer read to your local library, school, senior center or other such organization. Do you have any old coats in your closet collecting dust? Donate them, or if your budget allows, you can also sponsor a family in need and buy them brand-new winter coats.You can also pick up a few extra groceries to bring to your local food pantry. Doing these things with children is especially powerful – they'll learn first-hand that the joy of giving is powerful and doesn't have to be a super-sized gesture, but something you can easily fit it into your normal errands and still make a big impact.
6. Go Shopping for A Cause
Select a tag from a giving tree to shop for a gift for a child in need. Or put together gift baskets with small gifts and a homemade baked treat and deliver them to individuals who are in the hospital – they're likely to really appreciate a little cheering up.
7. Volunteer to Babysit
Offer to babysit for a couple who has small children so that they can have the opportunity to go on a date during the holidays. This is another simple gesture that can have a big impact in helping others to live well.
8. Encourage More “Thank Yous”
This one may seem simple, but it’s very meaningful. During the holidays it is especially important to show thanks and gratitude. Encourage your kids to say thank you more often and give genuine compliments to those around them.
Hopefully this has given you some good ideas and inspiration to act when the spirit of giving strikes you. As you can see, even small gestures can have a big impact and, just like investments, the value of that impact has the potential to really accumulate over time. That's what living well is all about. See how we at WHZ work to give back to our community, and find more tips about charitable giving. While you're here, you can also see how we can empower you to reach the big goals you have for your own future, through our Plan Well, Invest Well, Live Well strategic financial planning process.
Presented by Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor, Leisl L. Cording CFP®. Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. These materials are general in nature and do not address your specific situation. For your specific investment needs, please discuss your individual circumstances with your financial advisor. Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors does not provide tax or legal advice, and nothing in the accompanying pages should be construed as specific tax or legal advice. 697 Pomfret Street, Pomfret Center, CT 06259, 860.928.2341. http://www.whzwealth.com