Donations are the best gifts

Christmas is not the only opportunity but surely a great one for donating. Donations are selfless acts of care and love towards our fellow humans or animals that pay us back in happiness and provide us with a sense of fulfilment and purpose. Donations are the best gifts.

Money to spare

But what if I don’t have some money to spare? I am sure you do; we all do. Five euros, ten euros. You do have two or even five euros for the homeless person in your neighbourhood. There is always someone who has less and is in greater need than us. 

There is certainly a charity out there that would thank you for your 10 euros. Find a charity you wish to support, and use Christmas, or any other special occasion, as an opportunity to donate. 

For our wedding, my husband and I asked our guests to donate to a charity of our preference should they wish to offer us a gift. Therefore, we donated a considerable amount of money to a charity that saves the lives of refugees in the Mediterranean Sea. 

For the last two Christmas, we have been donating to two more charities, one for supporting abused women who have left their homes, and one for saving the seals. We don’t donate enormous amounts of money, only what we can afford. But we ensure we always have a few euros to spare for a good cause and contribute to making life better for someone else.

Stuff to spare

However, if you don’t feel like offering money, you can always offer food, a drink or essential goods to someone in need. I once offered my still-sealed sandwich to a young man in need on the metro. This small act motivated the man sitting across from me to donate his juice. He was overjoyed. 

We tend to believe that the money we donate to the homeless people on the street or the underground is for drugs or alcohol. Maybe. But this money also covers basic needs, such as food or buying sanitary pants or a nail clip. I donate my money or goods without asking for proof of use. I am no police.

Decluttering is a beautiful occasion for offering. By decluttering our wardrobe, kitchen cabinets, and basement storage, we come across all the “rubbish” that is “treasures” for someone else. In Germany, where I live, people tend to place cardboard boxes outside their buildings with things that no longer serve them a purpose. Within minutes, these things have found a new owner, someone who finds purpose in them. Decluttering does not mean throwing stuff in the bin.

Time to spare

On the other hand, a valuable thing to donate is personal time and energy. Not all people need money or goods. Some ask for your time, guidance, emotional support and company. Some people in need do not have the knowledge, experience or emotional stamina to find a doctor and book an appointment or contact their embassy to ask for a passport or other papers. 

In our old neighbourhood, we befriended a homeless man from Poland who used to rough sleep next to our building. He was in need of booking a doctor’s appointment but didn’t know how, considering he had no health insurance. My husband spent a whole morning with him visiting a hospital, filling out paperwork in German and scheduling an appointment for him. No money was spent that day, but this man was grateful for the support and company.

On another occasion, we offered to wash his few garments and blankets in our washing machine while sipping coffee. Again, we spent zero money but donated some of our time and energy. This man could not believe that someone was actually spending time with him. Donations are the best gifts.

Another thing you can do is purchase merchandise from a charity. Many non-profitable organisations have online shops. The money goes toward supporting their cause. Often, these charities sell calendars, lucky charms or candle holders for Christmas. Should you find a real purpose in acquiring one of these things anyway, why not buy them from a charity?

I share these personal stories of donations not to boast about my big heart and generosity or to provide a false impression of leading an exemplary life. On the contrary, I intend to show you how easy and straightforward it is to offer, donate, and make someone in need happy. 

Most of us are incredibly privileged to live a life out of poverty. Real poverty. The kind of poverty that has you sleeping on the streets and searching for half-bitten bread to survive the day. The type of poverty that strips you from hope and leaves you uncertain for the next day. The poverty that fills each day with loneliness despite the hundreds of passers-by right in front of you. 

Donations are the best gifts to offer. This Christmas, dare the decision to make donations part of your life and personality. Part of who you are.

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