holiday season, economic recession, charities
Associated Press

Survey Shows People Focused On Charitable Giving This Holiday Season

December 10, 2008 11:58 AM
by Lindsey Chapman
Money may be tight this holiday season, but many people are expressing a desire to help others and make their gifts more meaningful.

Feeling the Holiday Spirit

The economy may be struggling, but that doesn’t necessarily mean shoppers will be losing their holiday spirit. In fact, a survey by Harris Interactive indicates that people are still in the mood to help others, Philanthropy Journal reported.

About half of the individuals surveyed stated that they were likely to offer a charitable gift as a holiday present this year. Eight in 10 adults said they hoped to receive a gift that could help others in need.

Philanthropy Journal quoted Justin Greeves, senior vice president of public affairs and policy research at Harris Interactive, as saying, “These results underscore our altruistic American culture of giving back.”

According to The Spokesman-Review, studies have shown that public generosity doesn’t falter much during an economic recession. National studies have shown that philanthropy drops “only slightly,” while nonprofits offering food, shelter or other services tend to see an increase in donations.

“It’s completely against logic,” Rob McCann, executive director of Spokane’s Catholic Charities, said. “But people in crisis get reminded of what’s important.”

Related Topic: Teaching kids to be generous during the holidays

With Christmas just around the corner, kids might be tempted to become a little greedy or materialistic.

“Starting in early September and continuing all through the holidays, the commercials on television target children nine years and younger with a barrage of messages,” writes. “TV is teaching your child to ask, ‘Can I have that for Christmas?’” 

But parents can teach their children to focus more on the giving aspect of Christmas instead of the receiving. One of the main ways adults can achieve this goal is to lead by example.

“Model the spirit of generosity and giving that you would like to see in your children,” explains. Some options available at the holidays, and indeed year-round, include serving meals at a homeless shelter, visiting the elderly or helping with a food drive.
Susan Crites Price, who wrote “The Giving Family: Raising Our Children to Help Others,” told The Arizona Republic that service-oriented values can be instilled in kids at an early age. “The younger you start, the easier it is to instill the habit," Price said. "If we make it an expectation in our family that you're going to give and you're going to volunteer, it becomes part of the natural way our family operates."

Reference: Gift giving, becoming involved with a charity


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