As the winter months draw near, the days are shorter, the temps are often cooler, and it seems that our hearts grow a bit larger, metaphorically speaking, prompting a desire to do more for others, specifically, giving to those we love and those we feel are most in need.
Even the Grinch experienced this holiday heart-growing phenomenon!
But, all fictional characters aside, there does seem to be something behind this seemingly innate motivation to give throughout the winter holiday months.
So then, why are we more motivated to give this time of year?
What makes us more prone to give throughout the winter holidays than any other time?
And, as this season approaches, with these growing prompts to give, what are some worthy ways to make a charitable difference as the winter holidays approach?
Tis the Season to be Giving
After the last of the autumn leaves fall, we typically enter the winter holiday season with a bit more reflection.
The year is winding down, so we look at all we’ve accomplished, all we’re thankful for, including small things like a few haves and have nots, and bigger things like the people we’ve been blessed to do life with throughout the year.
Then, something magical happens, those hearts full of gratitude often spill over in ways that contribute to the wants, needs, and betterment of others.
When looking at why this happens, there are a few possible explanations:
- We give because society, even the season, expects us to do so.
- We give because of our brain.
- We give because of our emotions.
- We give because it promotes self-worth.
This time of year specifically, many of us celebrate Thanksgiving or other winter holidays, where our thoughts are fully nudged towards all we have to be thankful for in this life.
And, whether you celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, or not, this attitude of gratitude permeates society this time of year. Then whether we realize it or not, we’re prompted to participate.
Perhaps you could say there’s a little unspoken peer pressure that takes place?
But, during this time where we tend to have a greater sense of thankfulness, our eyes can actually be opened in the opposite direction, making us more aware of those around us who may be less fortunate.
Bear with me on this seemingly out of place, but super simple, and relatable example, but if you’re a fan of cleaning and organization videos found on YouTube, you might have seen this entire concept in action on the channel This Crazy Life, published by Amanda Paige.
While decorating for the holidays, she tells of how her heart swells with gratitude, seeing all the items her family now has to fill their home with aesthetic warmth and gladness this time of year.
She attributes this great sense of thankfulness to the realization that her family couldn’t always afford such things. And, as she reflects on this change in situation and the blessing of it all, she is drawn to give back, either through donations of decor to those in need or by doing monetary giveaways on her channel.
Can you see a familiar pattern there? Reflection leads to gratitude. Gratitude leads to giving.
And, the warmth and gladness eluded to by this YouTube mom throughout this season of thanks…and giving…is something many people feel throughout the winter months.
From holidays centered around gratitude to those focusing on family, friends, even gift-giving, the feelings evoked throughout this season, according to the experts, also have a neural root.
When we give directly to others or through charities this time of year, the same areas of the brain associated with processing rewards are activated, giving that warm and “fuzzy” feeling and making us more likely to give again and again.
Interestingly, the same areas of the brain activated through giving, are also active when one is on the receiving end!
This is why we are often drawn to those offers to give, that also include a little bit of receiving, our brains doubling activating in these scenarios.
Even deciding what or where to give is said to boil down to your brain (thought processes).
The idea of donation, coupled with the impact such donations can make on the lives of others, can make us feel empathy, it promotes learning, and can even cause us to feel guilt, all of which contribute to our motivations to give throughout the winter holidays.
And, while we’ve indirectly touched on this already, we also give based on our emotions.
Throughout the winter months, whether through reflection, or as a result of those warm and fuzzy feelings from giving and/or receiving, our emotions are often heightened.
We feel more deeply this time of year, and as a result, we’re more likely to give as we heed those emotions.
Then there’s the concept of self-worth, which studies show improves when you give to others.
The part of your brain that gets activated through giving is known as the mesolimbic system. It’s responsible for feelings of happiness, and allows you to feel joy through the work of neurotransmitters and the release of specific hormones.
When you give, even when you simply lend a hand to help others, this actually changes your brain chemistry, not only promoting joy and happiness, but also giving you a sense of purpose and improving your overall self-worth.
But, other than giving to those family, friends, and colleagues in your close circles, or donating to charities you’re already familiar with, what else should you keep in mind when giving this holiday season?
Guidelines to Effective Giving
When we give, we want to feel like our donation, be it through time or finance, is effective.
So, when giving, one way to select an appropriate venue is to think about those people or things that are near and dear to your heart.
Are you an animal lover? Seek to find ways to support your local shelter. Or, look for global charities that support wildlife.
Have you or a loved one experienced disease or illness? Donate monetarily to support groups, research foundations, or simply give of your time, volunteering to brighten the day of children or cancer patients.
Are women’s needs something dear to your heart? Donate finances, clothing items, or your time at a women’s shelter.
Then, think about the resources that you have to offer.
Do you run a catering business? Consider donating food to those in need throughout this season.
Do you volunteer at your child’s school? Seek to get involved in toy or clothing drives.
Are you a church leader? Organizations like Samaritan’s Purse rely on donations to fill Christmas Shoe Boxes for needy children around the globe this time of year.
And lastly, be sure to donate through trusted charities or organizations.
Look for transparency here:
- Does the company or charity tell you where your donations are going?
- Do your research, is the company you’re donating to legit?
Giving Back with Lifeboost
As we all seek and find ways to give throughout the coming winter months, we wanted to take a moment to review the ways in which each Lifeboost purchase gives back to charitable organizations that support people, the planet, and more.
And, perhaps the greatest way we see this in action is through the 4 pillars that motivate us here at Lifeboost. We believe these motivations are especially important throughout the holiday season.
Actually, we see a thread of giving in each of these pillars…
We strive to fuel our bodies at least 80% of the time with clean and healthy foods and beverages, which is why it is our constant goal and mission to bring you the healthiest coffee on the planet, from farm to cup.
- So, even amidst these winter months where we find more opportunities to indulge, you can give back to yourself, to your health, knowing that your daily cup of Lifeboost is clean, pure, and healthy!
We believe life is about connection, and coffee connects all of us. From meeting up with friends or family for conversation, to gathering with colleagues for a business meeting, to sparking conversations with strangers online surrounding the wonder that is coffee, this beloved bean brings us together.
- Plan to connect with others throughout this winter season, and perhaps even spread a little joy by paying it forward with a cup or two of delicious coffee.
My grandmother would often repeat to me what many refer to as the golden rule: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In other words, treat others how you want to be treated…be kind!
We believe the world can be made a better place each and every day, each and every moment, through kindness, through treating others with love, honor, and respect.
- Especially throughout these winter months, when statistically speaking, many struggle emotionally, seek to go the extra mile, give an extra smile, talk a little longer, send an extra letter, give an extra hug, be present…be kind!
We believe you should support what you believe in, and at Lifeboost we support our farmers as well as their families and communities, our local first responders, the environment, and the wildlife in the areas where our coffee is grown.
- And, in this season of giving, here’s how you are giving back as a Lifeboost customer:
A large portion of our coffee is grown in the tropical rainforests of Nicaragua.
And, these critical habitats are being deforested at alarming rates, they suffer from the use of chemicals where agriculture is mass produced, and they are continually threatened by invading species, as well as changes in the climate.
Of course, our sustainable farming practices work with the environment, prevent deforestation and destruction, and support the wildlife of the area.
But, did you know we also support The Rainforest Trust?
The Rainforest Trust is a powerfully impactful organization that protects critical habitats all across the globe, 42.8 million acres to be exact!
Nearly 2,400 critically endangered, endangered, and vulnerable species are protected through The Rainforest Trust.
And, of those rainforests the Trust has protected since 1988, 99% of these areas remain intact.
The Rainforest Trust works to support the species, people, and climates of the areas it protects, and that is something we proudly stand behind and sponsor.
Another organization we are proud to partner with and support here at Lifeboost is Project Alianza, “a community-driven initiative striving to close the rural-urban education gap in Latin America by building schools, training and upskilling rural women as educators, and providing experiential, interactive learning programs to children so they may thrive beyond generational cycles of poverty.”
In the last 5 years, Project Alianza has impacted the lives of more than 20,000 children!
This alliance provides:
- access to safe places for children to learn
- literacy and health programs to improve learning
- scholarships for devoted students to continue their education
For each school built through Project Alianza, the number of children in school increases, regular school attendance increases, the number of hours that children are reading increases, more local women are employed, and paths for bright futures are being forged.
Most of our coffee is grown in the rainforest mountains of Nicaragua, but our continued search for the best, most pure, and cleanest coffee on the planet also led us to the foothills of Mt. Elgon in Uganda, Africa.
And, because we strongly believe in giving back, we’ve found 12 ways to do so with Lifeboost Africa, as a portion of the proceeds from each purchase goes to:
1- Keep Girls In School: Supporting rural Ugandan girls with reusable menstrual pads and empowering story books, this project aims to help girls stay in school and overcome low self-esteem caused by poor menstrual management.
2- Rainforest Trust: See the info in the above section on all this powerful organization does to protect our rainforests globally, and know that a portion of Lifeboost Africa proceeds go directly to The Rainforest Trust.
3- Planting Coffee Shrubs For Our Farmers: To offset out-of-pocket costs for our farmers, increasing their overall income, a portion of each purchase goes to planting new coffee shrubs on our coffee farms.
4- Building Schools In Uganda: A portion of Lifeboost proceeds go to the building of Rukundo Preparatory Schools where dedicated teachers and small classroom sizes offer the most premium education experiences in the area.
5- Adopting Endangered Giraffes: The Kordofan and Nubian giraffes are now considered critically endangered, and as these species are native to Uganda, a portion of Lifeboost proceeds go to fight their endangerment as well as adopt a giraffe…which we’ve proudly named Coffee Bean!
6- Uganda’s First Animal Shelter: Uganda’s SPCA’s Haven is the only animal shelter in the country. Meant to house 120 dogs and cats, this shelter needs support and transformation, and a portion of Lifeboost proceeds help in this endeavor.
7- 1000 Ugandan School Lunches: Many children in Uganda struggle to learn due to hunger, with families lacking resources to feed their children regular meals each day. The Entebbe Primary School in the Wakiso district serves 1200 children, and a percentage of your Lifeboost Africa purchase provides nutritious meals to these children.
8- Clean Water: Nearly 20 million Ugandans do not have access to clean water, and each Lifeboost purchase works to provide clean water to children.
9- Child Trafficking: Another project your Lifeboost Africa purchase aids is one seeking to end domestic child trafficking. From Karamoja to Kampala, this organization now supports 210 survivors and 440 children affected by child trafficking.
10- Microloans For Women: Providing self-sustaining microloans for women in rural East Africa, a portion of Lifeboost proceeds help these women start their own businesses.
If you’re struggling with ideas, ways, and hows of giving this year, and if you simply aren’t aware of worthy, honorable causes to support, know that each and every Lifeboost Coffee purchase takes care of the guesswork, as every bag of coffee purchased gives back: to the planet, to people, with purpose.