It really is the season of giving! With a recent Red Cross survey showing a majority of Canadians want to give back this holiday season, we thought we'd take a look at how to do that.
63 per cent of Canadians feel compelled to donate or volunteer
The new Ipsos survey finds, in light of the numerous disasters in Canada and abroad last year, 63 per cent of Canadians feel compelled to donate to charity or volunteer their time as we approach the holidays. While this shows the generosity of Canadians, here are some tips to give back to your community and beyond:

Make new traditions

Showing children a generous spirit, especially at a time of year that can be hard for those in need, can provide a lifelong willingness to help others. You can help them be crafty to make homemade ornaments or cards for those who would cherish the thought, you can help them earn money through chores to donate to a charity of their choice – but make it fun so the little ones will stay interested and not deem the spirit of giving back as a chore itself.

Ann Douglas, a parenting expert, shares this quick crash course on the science of giving and what actually encourages kids to want to be generous in her recent article, the Science of Giving: What Actually Inspires Kids to be Generous.

Volunteer your time

Volunteering is a generous way to give back all year by becoming involved in the various services and programs the Red Cross offers to your community, such as emergency response and community health services. Find out more about opportunities that may be of interest to you by visiting www.redcross.ca/volunteer.

Give a symbolic gift

For those who don’t want or need more material items, consider providing a symbolic gift to someone truly in need. Go online at redcross.ca/perfectgifts and select items from blankets, to provide more warmth than you’d think, or a survival kit, to provide safety supports in emergencies – and currently Aviva Canada is matching all symbolic gift donations so that doubles your impact!

Donate to help where needed most

The survey also found nearly half of Canadians (44 per cent) want to help both those in need in Canada and in other parts of the world, while 52 per cent feel strongly about giving here at home. The Canadian Red Cross helps vulnerable people both in Canada and around the world in times of disaster. On average, Red Cross volunteers are responding to a disaster every three hours, from personal house fires to major disasters like the flooding in Quebec and Ontario this past spring. And internationally, the Red Cross deployed 136 Canadian aid workers in the past year to 32 different countries, to help in the aftermath of devastating events such as Hurricane Irma. Financial support will ensure help gets to those who need it so consider donating at www.redcross.ca/donate.

Whether you show your holiday spirit by spending it with loved ones, giving your time to those in your community who need it or donating to continue to support the vulnerable, we wish you a holiday season full of joy!