A whole lotta giving going on...

I am a blog stalker. *Gasp* (Oh, stop. You know you are too.) And then I shuffle through the comments jumping from one blog to the next. It’s starting to become a problem. Ryan’s sighs of desperation have snapped me out of my blogging coma more than once.

As I’ve bounced around the blogosphere lately I’ve been inspired. The outcry of compassion this holiday season has been tremendous. There are people donating a canned good to their local food bank for every comment they receive. Photographers are holding contests to give away sessions to a well-deserving family who couldn’t otherwise afford it. Some are choosing to forego traditional holiday giving after learning the amount we spend on Christmas could provide clean water for several hundred villages. Instead they give handmade gifts or donate what they would have spent to charity.

Hmmm... anyone else see a problem with this given our current economy?

Since I'm so deeply rooted in the financial services industry (my 9 to 5) I know that if everyone gives handmade gifts this holiday season we'll be in a world of hurt. Spending oils the market machine. When the money flow slows down, the market comes to a grinding halt. Whew, economy lesson over.

I’m not hating here… anything we can do to help others is phenomenal. If you can - you certainly should! After all there are a lot more people in need this year than there are people who are fortunate enough to be able to give. I’m just asking you to consider giving a little differently.

A few ideas to get you started:

1. Donate canned goods to the local food bank; you’re buying the groceries that someone else can’t afford
2. Buy locally; your purchase could help pay the rent/mortgage for a small business owner
3. Adopt a family/child; buy necessities for those in need rather than "things" for each other
4. Provide heat; many utility companies set up a fund to help low-income people pay their heating bills. (I hate to exclude any potential readers from warmer climates – but it’s impossible for my mind to register “air conditioning” when it’s 20 below and snowing)

It's possible to help others while helping to keep the wheels on the economy bus, which in the long run helps everyone! So go forth and spread a little holiday cheer.