Deck the Halls with Generosity
I like Christmas specials. Each December (and sometimes in between) the kids inevitably watch ‘Elf’, often listed among the most beloved Christmas films of the 21st Century. Buddy’s adoption story resonates with my family (not that any of us were raised by elves), as all my children are adopted. We enjoy his journey to reunite with his birth father, the special gift he gives him and how Buddy’s generous heart for others inspires Santa to ask him for help restoring the Christmas Spirit. And of course, a year doesn’t go by without cuddling up on the couch with my kids to watch the Grinch’s heart grow three sizes. Those stories may be the stuff of fiction – yuletide kindness exaggerated to tug on our heartstrings – but in my work at Abundance Canada I have the rare privilege of seeing that kind of generosity up close almost every day of the year.
Choosing to Give Generously
One of my favourite Abundance Canada “Christmas movie moments” happened a few years ago when I was working with Fred*, the Executive Director of a local charity. We had met several months earlier when I helped him set up his personal Gifting Fund™ with Abundance Canada. As we chatted about our plans for the upcoming holidays, he confided that he was struggling with how to recognize his staff and volunteers. He was worried the people whose hard work kept the organization running smoothly were starting to feel unappreciated. In the past, staff and volunteer appreciation events had been necessarily low-key, and the celebrations hadn’t gotten much traction. He wanted to treat them to something special, but he didn’t want to call attention to himself, so he turned to Abundance Canada for help.
Give Without Needing a Thank You
Fred decided to personally underwrite a Christmas celebration for all his staff and volunteers, but no one need ever know where the gift came from. So, he recommended an anonymous disbursement from his Abundance Canada Gifting Fund to his charity. The Christmas party that year was a warm and meaningful celebration. All the staff and volunteers attended and each one received a modest gift of thanks for their service. As he walked through the party that night, Fred heard everyone talking about how much it meant for someone to do something like this for them. It felt amazing to give his staff the gift of time together. He wasn’t looking for anyone to say thank you – just seeing the impact of his gift was more than enough.
That Christmas party helped set the tone for the year that followed…and the next. One quiet thoughtful initiative sparked new momentum toward appreciation, teamwork and camaraderie for staff and volunteers. That positive work environment renewed their enthusiasm for serving the charity’s mission, its donors and the people they were helping.
Give Your Own “Christmas Movie” Moments
Each November since then, Fred requests Abundance Canada to disburse funds anonymously from his Gifting Fund to the charity. Each year, he gives his hardworking staff and volunteers a Christmas party and small gifts of his appreciation. When I think of it, I always imagine the party something like the final scene in a TV Christmas movie. Music playing and people laughing as the camera focusses in on the Executive Director smiling at the joy of giving generously.
I am honored to have played a small role in this generosity story. It is just one of many, and these tales of Christmas generosity are not restricted to just a special few. Anyone can start a tradition of charitable giving. Will you? You might find yourself at the center of a beautiful “Christmas movie” moment of your own.
What impact do you want your generosity to have this year? Abundance Canada can help.
* PseudonymIn this real-life Christmas special, Kevin Davidson tells the story of how an Executive Director’s anonymous gift of a Christmas Party touches the lives the staff and starts a tradition of generosity. #GenerosityChangesEverything
Contributed by Kevin Davidson
Gift Planning Consultant