Five Gift Ideas

Regardless of whatever you celebrate or what you choose to believe, the question that really matters is what have you done for others? So keeping with that theme, here are five gift ideas you can employ this holiday season and beyond.

Writing a letter — I believe writing a sincere letter of love, compassion, appreciation and admiration is always an excellent gift to give. It only cost your time, effort and commitment to practicing the truths within the words written.

Mutual Funds – You can give someone a gift of mutual funds, whether it is a Spousal IRA, Uniform Gift or Trust to a Minor or even an Education Savings Account. For as low as a monthly commitment of $50 you can dramatically positively impact the life of someone with a gift of a mutual fund. Although you can choose whomever you please to get you setup I suggest the use Ariel Investments (http://www.arielinvestments.com/gift/) I use them and they have an exceptional track record in the Investment community.

Charitable Donation – Depending on the individual you can always make a contribution in their name to a charity or cause dear to them. Whether it is to help homelessness, battered women shelter, free clinics, and civil rights, GLBT, religious oriented organization or youth/community group. There are countless of places you can give the gift of giving by way of a charitable donation in someone’s name or honor. I’ve provided a few for consideration.

Volunteer – If you would rather do something for the benefit of others.

Give/Share – Give of yourself to others who may be in need. Whether if that is helping someone secure a job, offering encouraging words, holding the hand of that child who feels unloved because of the mistakes of their trifling parents. Listen to the dreams and aspirations of a child or a young person. Listen to the wisdom and experiences of an elderly person. Stop talking and start listening. Tell someone that you loved them and mean it. It isn’t just words, but actions. Whatever it may be just do something. It doesn’t take a lot, but it takes love.

In the end of it all, the point of the season is truly to give and consider others. While we are pressured and seduced by the creativity of slick advertising and clever marketing, there are many who will feel the pressure of the collection calls, grumbling stomachs and innocent faces. So consider those who will pressure to make the decision of if they are going to buy that toy or use that money to buy toilet tissue or put food on the table or ensure the roof they do have stays above their head and the family is not sleeping in the car. Seeing the smiling faces of children opening gifts they all ‘always wanted’, we can’t forget the man or woman that sits silently with an optimistic smile for his or her family while fighting back the bleakness of how he or she will pay the electric bill next month or car payment.

We have to get out of selves and consider others. I hope this list offers someone a glimmer of inspiration for what they can do this holiday season and beyond.

Happy Holidays,

Tim Valentine

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