A happy Christmas might begin right at the store's door

Monday, November 26, 2018

Black Friday isn’t the zoo it once was, thanks in part to today’s Cyber Monday that finds too many of us shopping online when we’re supposed to be working.

Still, no click of a mouse can beat the holiday feeling that a stroll down main street in brisk winter weather can create as we visit a mom-and-pop store in search of the perfect present for a loved one.

We don’t know what the must-have toy will be this Christmas, but chances are many parents or grandparents will find themselves trekking to the store to find it before the last one is gone.

What’s the goal?

To make the child happy, of course.

While that may be true for a few hours or days, we all know the toy, game or gizmo will soon lose its luster, worn out, broken or replaced by the next great thing.

If the goal is true happiness, we might be better off parting with a few dollars in the red bucket as we’re passing through the store’s front door.

That’s the conclusion from a small study (http://bit.ly/2P4flgo) conducted by Fidelity Charitable, which questioned 3,000 people who donate to charity and itemize deductions on their tax returns.

According to the study, people who grew up with strong family traditions around giving were more likely to donate $5,000 or more of their own money annually to charity.

They were also more likely to volunteer, consider themselves closer to their immediate family and rate themselves as “very happy” far more than those who grew up without such a tradition.

“We've always known that strategic philanthropy benefits the charities donors support, but this study proves that the impact goes beyond that," said Fidelity Charitable President Pamela Norley, in a press release. "Giving makes people happier and is a significant contributor to a happier and healthy family too."

Admittedly, we’re probably preaching to the choir.

McCook residents proved they believe in the concept during the recent Big Give McCook, which at latest count raised $129,101.39 from 676 donations to 23 local charities — including the Salvation Army, which puts out those red buckets, manned by volunteer bell-ringers, every holiday season.

Tuesday's #GivingTuesday is an opportunity to put the principle into practice. Pick out a worthy cause and donate.

If true happiness is our goal, budgeting a portion of our holiday spending for a worthy charity is a smart move.

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