Usually when we say “‘Tis the season,'“ we mean the year-end holidays, although the phrase now connotes the “giving season,” as well, which overlaps with Thanksgiving, Diwali, Hanukkah, the Solstice, Christmas, New Year’s and Ramadan (in some years but not this year). What it has never before meant was the fire season in the U.S. West, because that historically has ended in early autumn. However, with drought, climate change, and high winds, this year “‘tis the season” has come to mean wildfires — three of them very severe — in November in my home state.
We gave in summer for relief and rebuilding from the Carr Fire that burned for weeks about 45 miles northwest from my hometown. Today, I gave for relief for the on-going and horrific Camp Fire, also about 45 miles from my hometown, although to the southeast. My small gifts, aggregated with hundreds of others, will make a difference. In a typical year, we give about 2% of our Adjusted Gross Income, and this year will be no exception. In fact, this year, that percentage might be a little higher because of these needs and others that tug at our hearts and minds.
While you might feel overwhelmed as your mailbox, Facebook feed, Twitter news and other media fill with appeals from now until December 31, don’t succumb to “compassion fatigue.”
Pick a charity or two or three whose work matters to you — or a CAUSE that matters to you. Give a gift of any size. If you can, create a sustaining gift of $10 or more each month. There are lots of resources for “vetting” charities but the most important one is assessing YOUR priorities and values. Find a group that is advancing work YOU care about. The main purpose of giving is to bring about change you want to see in the world, so read the website, see what change the group is working on, and decide how much you would like to invest in that work with this group. If zero, keep searching for a group that IS doing what you’d like to see happen.
Please join me and well over half of the American households that make charitable contributions averaging a total about $2,450 in a year. As the song says:
”If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change”
‘Tis the season … now and every day … to do what we can to make the world better.