Black Friday and Cyber Monday have now come and gone, and now that we’ve got that crazy out of our systems we can start to focus on the holiday good stuff. First, though, I want to take one second to humblebrag about how my Christmas shopping is officially done. Anyone else fully embrace Black Friday and Cyber Monday to finish off their Christmas shopping? Some may call that a personal finance fail, but those people are not me. If you need to buy something anyway, why wouldn’t you get it when it’s on sale?

The bf and I did make one big-ticket purchase for ourselves…a new TV. Our old TV was dying a slow and painful death, so it was time to replace it. We snagged a great deal on a new 4k TV from Best Buy and can now turn on a show without the ten-minute adventure of getting our old one to boot up. I also got an Instant Pot for the bf (the one thing he asked for). After a failed attempt at getting one at Canadian Tire (they had it on sale for $69.99), I found the same one on Amazon for only $48…score!

Those were deals I couldn’t pass up, but the bulk of my Christmas shopping was done locally. There was a big ‘Make-It Market’ in town this past weekend and there was something for everyone. I love the uniqueness of giving handmade gifts and always think people appreciate them more. Plus, who doesn’t feel better about their money supporting someone in their own community over big business?

The Christmas Spirit

Shopping for gifts always stresses me out. I love the gift giving process, but the search for the perfect gift is never that simple. Now that I’m done that part, I get to soak up the parts of the holiday season that I really do love. Spending time with family and friends, cooking and baking (and eating) all the food, neighbourhoods lit up with colourful lights, 25 days of Christmas movies and 24/7 Christmas carols. I embrace all of it.

I especially love how the community comes together in the month of December. It can be frigidly cold and snowy, but there are more smiles shared with strangers than at any other time of year.

It’s also a time when the emphasis shifts to giving, and requests for your help increase. This is something I struggle with every year. There are so many worthy charities out there, but you only have some many dollars in your pocket. That doesn’t mean you can’t still make a difference. You can’t give to everything, but you can give to something. The best way I’ve found to cope with this is to make my donation count. If I donate $100 to {insert big-name charity here} I don’t get to see the impact that has, but if I donate that same $100 to a local animal rescue that can support one specific dog until they get adopted (critters are my thing, you guys should know that).

Having one or two specific charities that you donate to won’t take away all the guilt you feel when saying no, but you will know you are doing what you can with what you have.

One Small Thing #actofkindness

Can we all make a deal that we will all try a little harder and be a little more generous with our time and money this December? I know you are feeling rundown and your to-do list is growing out of control, but all I’m asking for is one small thing. You’ll feel better for it, I promise.

If Money is Tight…

You’re reading a personal finance blog, so I’m going to assume that means you have money on your mind. Christmas is a budget killer at the best of times so if you’re feeling the pinch this year I’m not here to tell you to make charitable giving a priority. There are plenty of opportunities to do good without the cash component.

  • Be a delivery driver for Santa’s Anonymous and bring gifts to children who might not get one otherwise.
  • Help pack hampers at your local food bank.
  • Clean out your closet and donate your unwanted (but good condition) gear to a local shelter. If you live in an area where it’s cold, then winter gear is especially helpful.
  • Staying home for Christmas? Consider fostering a dog or a cat through your local rescue group. They will cover all costs until your foster finds their forever home, and Christmas can be an especially hard time to find fosters because of travel plans.
  • Donate blood.

If Time is Tight…

If your schedule has you wanting to crawl right back into bed and forget about everything then adding a new commitment might not be in the cards. Luckily it is easier than ever to do good with just the click of a button. Almost all charities have a way to donate right through their website. Figure out how much money you can spare in your budget and pick one of two organizations that you’d like to support.

Think Beyond Charity

There are other ways to commit an #actofkindness that don’t involve giving to an official charity.

  • Shovel snow for an elderly neighbour.
  • Pay for someone’s coffee in the drive-thru.
  • Make an extra batch of Christmas cookies or poppycock and deliver them to your neighbours.
  • Pay for someone’s coffee in the drive-thru.
  • Offer to babysit for a friend so they can get their Christmas shopping done or go on a date night.

Everyone in the giving mood and ready to kick off December on the right foot? I love receiving Christmas gifts as much as anyone, but let’s not forget that sometimes giving can feel just as good as getting.

I want to give a shoutout to my personal finance posse who initiated the #actofkindess gang and are helping to inspire us all to spread the joy this holiday season. Here they all are if you want even more ideas.

ChiefMomOfficer I’m Sick of Christmas Materialism Instead Let’s Make a Difference
ForeignBornMD Holiday Season, Giving Back
Kiwi and Keweenaw Simplifying through #ActsofKindness
Physician on FIRE A Quarter Million in DAFs: A Retirement Goal Achieved
Budget on a Stick An Unexpected Gift #actsofkindness
Mama Fish Saves Top Charities To Get Kids Involved In Giving
Grounded Engineer Giving Thanks and Why I’m Considering a Donor Advised Fund
99to1percent Giving Thanks and the 6 Gifts that Keeps Giving
Jenny The Best Thing You Can Give Your Family? Kindness
Downsize Your 2080 Think Outside the Christmas Gift Box
Laurie The Best Christmas Gifts for That Person Who Has it All

What are you going to do to spread the joy this holiday season? Do you have a favourite charity you’d like to share? 

Taking the time to make someone's day #actofkindness

This post was proofread by Grammarly.

Image Credit: Anete Lūsiņa


  1. Yes, I’m almost done with my Christmas shopping, too! Thank you, sales, and that’s way less stress for me over the next month now.

    I donated $75 yesterday to three different causes, which is the first time I’ve ever participated in #GivingTuesday. That amount of money is still pretty significant for me (it’ll be interesting to see where that puts my spending for this month), but regardless I can part with it pretty easily. That feels awesome.

    • Sarah Reply

      That’s so great! I had no idea #GivingTuesday was a thing until I saw people posting about it yesterday. It always leaves you feeling positive after you make a donation, especially if it’s one that’s close to your heart.

  2. Thank you for sharing even more ideas. Glad you got your new TV, my husband is still shopping for ours because “The deals are still not good enough”! haha. Happy Holidays.

    • Sarah Reply

      That sounds a little like my dude, I think he searched through every Black Friday flyer that was posted before finally taking the plunge. I think we got a pretty good deal and we were getting desperate. Hopefully yours comes soon!

    • Sarah Reply

      Thanks for stopping by Mrs Kiwi 🙂 I’m pretty proud of myself for being done this early, usually I’m much more last minute. Now just to get the wrapping done!

  3. These are such great suggestions!

    My friends and I decided to treat ourselves to a spa girls day instead of getting each other handmade presents like we have done for the past 7 years (there’s only so many ideas you can come up with creatively lol);

    That sounds like an amazing deal for a TV!! Don’t feel guilty about it- so worth it if you will use it and if you need it.

    • Sarah Reply

      I love the idea of doing a spa day with friends for Christmas instead of gifts. Spending money on experiences is the way to go, and you’re not ever getting a material thing that might end up cluttering up your house.

      I’m so happy about the new TV! It’s not something I wanted to spend money on but it’s probably one of our most used possessions.

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