Tis the season! It’s the season of giving and the season of joy. There is something magical about the time from Diwali until Christmas that makes people a little happier, a little more generous, a little more thankful and forgiving. It’s a beautiful thing, but no one ever said we shouldn’t have the spirit of giving all the time. Below are a few ideas to get you in the spirit! 1. Donate something practical, but unusual: What’s something that (almost) everyone has but we all take for granted? Hair. Many of us are blessed with beautiful, strong, long locks. During this time of year as we think of the less fortunate and of giving back, but one group that may be out of site out of mind are cancer patients. Cancer patients lose their hair while going through chemotherapy/radiation therapy, and many opt to purchase wigs to help with the emotional scarring that can result. There are many amazing organizations that provide a place for you to donate your locks to be made into wigs and given to women and children at a reduced cost, or for free! Check them out here: http://www.wigsforkids.org/# http://www.locksoflove.org/get-involved/ http://pantene.com/en-us/experience-main-section2/beautiful-lengths 2. Lead by example and fundraise for a cause: In Focus, we believe in living our values. We are a compassionate bunch and our hearts go out to others when they are in need. During this era of what feels like an unusually high number of natural disasters, we try to pitch in and do our part where we can. Focus employees were given the option to donate to the Chennai Relief Fund and Focus didn’t only match, but rather doubled the amount, added it together then donated. Try an initiative similar to this in your company today. Encourage your employees to step up when needed by leading with your own actions. 3. Give to charity: This one is a standard, but standard for a reason. There are many good, reputable charities to give to. Giving can also come in many shapes and sizes. Money can be helpful, but during the winter season, sometimes a warm coat, blanket, or hot meal can be more helpful. Be creative with what you give; money isn’t everything. Check out any of these options to give back to or search online for an opportunity near you! http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/ http://www.bgca.org/Pages/index.aspx http://amma.org/groups/north-america/projects/mothers-kitchen 4. Offer your time or skillset: Do you love conversation for hours? Why not visit an old age home or a less-mobile neighbor and converse for a while. Do sad dogs break your heart? Stop by an animal shelter and volunteer your time to walk, play with, or care for the animals. Often there are too many animals and not enough human care at these facilities. Your time could make a bigger difference than you realize! What about your skills – are you a good writer or good at sewing? Visit your local homeless shelter and offer to edit a resume or fix some clothes that need mending. The most important thing to remember when giving back: be creative. Giving back shouldn’t be limited to a time of year or an amount of money. Keep the spirit of giving all year round and seek out opportunities big and small to give back to friends, family, and strangers alike! Happy Holidays!