The Points of Light Civic Circle® offers nine different ways to get involved and build a more civically engaged life. From donating goods and money to voting in local and national elections to volunteering your time and talent, there are plenty of ways you can give gifts that don’t cost you anything but kindness and a little time.
This holiday season, we’re offering ideas for nine “gifts” that keep on giving in your community and around the globe, based on the elements of the Civic Circle. Pick one or two, and watch as your contributions start a ripple effect of change.
Donate to a cause close to your heart. You can start by looking for organizations that are already doing good work in your community. Or choose an organization like Points of Light that makes a global impact with a mission centered on mobilizing social good by working with a Global Network of affiliates from around the world.
Listen & Learn: The Young Activist’s Dictionary of Social Justice
No one is too young to start learning about social justice. Inspire the pint-sized activists in your life by giving them this valuable resource to learn about social justice movements and define commonly used terms. The book features a variety of young advocates across movements – from Ruby Bridges to Malala Yousafzai.
Purchase Power: Small Business Gifts & Gift Cards
Supporting small businesses is a fantastic way to make a difference in your community while giving thoughtful gifts. Make a list of several small, local stores in your region and browse their shops to find items for your loved ones. Not sure what to purchase? You can still use your dollar to support small business owners and leave the choosing up to the recipient – purchase a gift card instead.
Service: Send Holidays Cards Military Service Members
Choosing to live a life of service comes with sacrifice, which can often mean being separated from family for long periods. You show your gratitude by sending personalized cards and letters to military heroes who serve in the U.S. and abroad. The Holiday Card Challenge and #cards2connect programs let them know that they are not alone during the winter holiday season and throughout the year.
Social Entrepreneur: 4Ocean Goods
When 4Ocean was founded, they started by making bracelets out of plastic collected from the ocean. Today, the organization has pulled 26,335,566 pounds of trash from the world’s oceans, rivers and coastlines, offering bracelets of all varieties plus footwear, water bottles and other apparel. Make an impact by choosing sustainable fashion that is simultaneously solving a global issue.
For the passionate participant in every election – encourage voting with trendy tees, mugs, bags and more from Rock the Vote. This nonprofit organization has registered and turned out millions of young voters on campuses, in communities and online for 25 years. Their online store has a variety of gifts made for everyone from babies to seniors.
Voice: Raise Awareness and End Stereotypes
Use your voice to erase racism, hunger, homelessness or climate change. Be a part of ending harmful stereotypes and raising awareness for these causes by having authentic conversations with friends and family or posting on social media. For example, the United Nations makes it easy to leverage their social media tools to reach your social network and #FightRacism. Start your own conversation and be the change you want to see in the world.
Volunteer: A Volunteering Event or Day of Service
What better way to get the whole family or group of friends involved than to encourage volunteering through a day of service? Make a list of some local nonprofit organizations and call around to find out what their needs are, or check out Points of Light Engage to find local or virtual volunteer opportunities. From coat drives to toy drives to food drives, many nonprofits are in need of volunteers around the holiday season.
Work: Benefits for Your Employees
If you own a business or manage a team of employees, you have a unique opportunity to provide them with beneficial gifts this holiday season. While you’ll need to keep in mind what you can legally gift your employees, you might consider giving them a holiday bonus, throwing in an extra day off or starting an employee engagement program with volunteer time off in 2023. Look at your team’s needs and your business’ budget to determine the best course of action, then extend your gratitude to your hard-working team. They’ll appreciate the recognition.
Are you inspired to give gifts that keep on giving? Once you decide on a gift or two to give this holiday season, tag us on social media to share your experience with us. We can’t wait to see all the good you do this year.