Tip of the Month

"It's not how much we give, but how much love we put into the giving."

This tip comes from Mother Teresa, who founded the Missionaries of Charity, active in 133 countries.
Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa

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It's hard to believe that the holidays are already upon us. As always, I started getting excited right before Thanksgiving but have tried to put off the shopping and the commercial hype for as long as possible.


This year, I've been thinking a lot about how to keep the joy and excitement of gift giving (and receiving) while minding my conscience and avoiding the lure of "easy" big box stores.


Inspired by Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Clothing, I'm getting a little more creative about my gift giving this year - and I invite you to do the same.

Here are some ideas to get you "out of the box" and possibly into a more meaningful holiday season:

  1. Think seriously about shopping consignment in order to reduce and reuse. There are some true gems to be had, but make sure to check on return policies if buying gifts and make sure you LOVE everything you buy. It's not a deal unless it's perfect - especially when gifting it.
  2. Give the gift of your time. Volunteering for an organization that does meaningful work in your community can touch countless people's lives and you will walk away feeling that you have received the real gift.
  3. Don't be afraid to do a little re-gifting. Giving something you cherish (like a book or jewelry) to someone you know will love it even more, speaks volumes about how much you care about them. When done in the right way with the right intention, it's not cheap - it's caring.
  4. Don't forget the small businesses in your neighborhood. Their livelihood depends on us shoppers NOT always looking for a bargain. Consider dropping by your local bookstore or boutique when you head out with your list. It really does make a difference in how your local community thrives.


It's all too easy to let the stress and pressure of shopping cloud the real spirit of the holidays. This year, I propose we all lessen our load and the load of others by doing all of it from the heart.



Patricia Gorham

Patricia Gorham
Inside/Out Style  

Give a Gift in Someone's Name      

At this time of year I often find myself thinking, "What can I get for this person? They have everything they need!" This year let's remember that far too many people don't have even the basic things they need. Consider giving a charitable gift in someone's name. Find great organizations that match your values with the Charity Navigator and the Global Giving Guide. And whenever you donate, be sure to find out if your company will match it!


Charity Navigator
Charity Navigator
Keep It Local

Whether it's volunteering, donating or even good old shopping, keeping it local truly makes for a healthy community. I recently volunteered at Mary's Place and Angeline's, women's shelters here in Seattle. Another wonderful local organization is Farestart: they train homeless people for work in the food service industry and run a delicious restaurant right downtown and a cafe in Rainier Valley. Take your staff out for a holiday lunch, purchase gift cards as stocking stuffers, donate or volunteer.




Mary's Place