But as I matured I definitely understood that what you 'get' from giving to others is happiness and joy. When you give to others (your time, your money, yourself) you make a difference in someone's life and that makes the recipient happy AND it makes you happy. Its a win-win situation!
Yesterday Spouse & I did some charity shopping. My company supplied its employees with a 'wish list' from Ronald McDonald House of DE so we used that to inform our purchases and then dropped them off at my office. Next we went to the grocery store and purchased shelf-stable foods (canned and dry goods) and dropped those off at a local food bank drop-off location. It was actually quite enjoyable to do this together, and knowing that these things will have a real impact on people gave us genuine happiness and joy.
Over the years I have volunteered for and raised money for AIDS research and treatment, battered women's shelter, cancer and stroke research, Habitat for Humanity, and local food banks. I say this not to 'toot my own horn', but rather to show examples of how anyone can make a difference in other peoples' lives and receive a feeling of happiness at the same time.
Literally anyone can participate in 1 or more ways:
- Give of yourself - volunteer in person at a soup kitchen, food bank pantry, Habitat for Humanity build site, hospice, SPCA, or meal delivery service
- Encourage others - host a fundraiser and invite your friends, neighbors, and colleagues to donate and/or volunteer, or get them to pledge for you to run a 5K race
- Support local drives - pick up non-perishable food items, household items, or toys and drop them off at Thanksgiving or Christmas drop-off point
- Give money - send checks to worthy charities
Another benefit of in-person volunteering is that you will likely meet other like-minded people. This has certainly been the case for me. I've met lots of sincere and fun friends while volunteering.
I encourage everyone to commit to giving, not just at the holidays, but all year 'round. You'll be amazed at how good it feels to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.