Every Christmas, I volunteer to wrap all of my team’s Christmas presents as a gift to them. Clearly, this doesn’t count as philanthropy or volunteer work for the greater good. But, I have a passion for sparkly paper, ribbon and bows. One of my fondest memories growing up was learning how to wrap presents with my grandmother. She taught me how to make those perfect folds so the paper lies flat, and how to hide my uneven cuts. When I wrap presents I think of her, and it is always one of my favorite parts of the holidays. However, the holidays aren’t always a happy time for everyone.
The families at The Julian Center are survivors of domestic violence and other crises, and are rebuilding their lives with the help of the Center’s many programs. Holiday gifts aren’t a given for them as they are to so many of us. Each year Interactive Intelligence adopts families during the holiday season and fulfills their holiday wish lists. Families are assigned to different departments, and the departments compete to fulfill the wish lists as thoroughly and quickly as possible. Although I always participate by purchasing gifts for a child, I find wrapping and labeling all of the presents in beautiful paper to be the most rewarding. Being able to give a bit of joy in the form of a beautifully wrapped present, to a family who has endured such hardships certainly counts as philanthropy.
Wrapping presents doesn’t take millions of dollars or hundreds of hours, but it will put a smile on someone’s face. Philanthropy doesn’t have constraints – find something that you are good at and use it to help someone else. You don’t have to learn something new to do something good; just do what you do best for someone else.
Do you have a hidden talent that you could use to give back to the community?