It’s easy to get caught up in the Christmas rush.

With all the holiday shopping that needs to be done, and the family gatherings and parties with friends that one has to attend, there is only so much time.

That’s why it’s good to remember that as we celebrate this season of giving, we can make it more meaningful by doing acts of charity for other people.

There are great reasons for giving. Helping others benefits not only the recipient. It is also deeply rewarding to the giver.

In 2009, academics with the Harvard Business School published a study about the benefits of giving. The research found that giving makes people happy, and happy people become even kinder.

“Happier people give more and giving makes people happier, such that happiness and giving may operate in a positive feedback loop (with happier people giving more, getting happier, and giving even more),” according to the paper titled Feeling Good about Giving: The Benefits (and Costs) of Self-Interested Charitable Behavior .

There are several ways of giving.

One is donating to charitable organizations registered with Canada Revenue Agency.

As CRA-registered groups, these groups are obligated to devote their resources to charity, and a donor has an assurance that their gift will go toward something good.

Donating to a registered charity comes with the added benefit to the giver of being eligible for a charitable tax credit.

The federal tax credit for charitable donations is 15 percent on the first $200, and 29 percent on the remaining amount. For those earning over $200,000 a year, a tax credit rate of 33 percent applies to donations above the first $200.

In addition to a federal tax credit, a donor also gets a provincial tax credit. Rates vary depending on the jurisdiction.

Money is not the only thing of value one can donate. According to the CRA, charities also accept securities, ecologically sensitive land, certified cultural property, capital property, personal property like jewelry, and precious items like antiques and rare books.

One count places the number of charities in Canada at more than 86,000. They are into all sorts of activities, from poverty relief to environmental protection and advancement of education.

Charitable organizations file annual reports with the CRA, and one can check what these groups are doing at the website of revenue agency.

Being charitable doesn’t necessarily have to mean breaking open one’s wallet.

Money is tight for many, and there are other ways of giving that doesn’t cost a dime.

One is providing volunteer work. It could be at a local soup kitchen for the homeless or a seniors’ home to provide company for the elderly.

One doesn’t have to go far away from home. Being good to neighbours counts. Moms may need some help in looking after their children. The resident next door may appreciate some help in shoveling the snow. The neighbour’s kid may want some assistance with math lessons.

Christmas is also a good time to clean out the closet and garage. Clothes, books, and serviceable home items can be donated to a charity instead of ending up in the landfill. Old towels and beddings may also be given to animal shelters.

One could also contact the Canadian Blood Services to give blood. 

According to the organization, blood and blood products are needed in major surgeries, cancer treatments, and managing diseases.

One may also donate hair to charities that make and provide wigs for people undergoing cancer treatments. 

Going back to the benefits of giving, acts of charity can inspire family and friends to help causes that are dear to them.

Relationships can receive a boost with shared goals. Working together for a common objective will bring the family closer together, making everyone happier.

In Acts 20:35 of the Bible, the apostle Paul once reminded of what Jesus said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” 

On behalf of Canadian Filipino Net, Merry Christmas everyone and all the best for 2020!

For the Editorial Board of Canadian Filipino Net

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