It’s around this time of year that everyone hits up the shopping mall in search of gifts for loved ones. Baby Melissa could do some good with a Tickle Me Elmo, whereas bigger brother Timmy wants nothing more than to play with a shiny new Nintendo Wii, especially since he can rock out like a real star in Guitar Hero III. It’s easy to get caught up in all this consumerism, because you get bombarded with holiday gift guides left and right, Christmas commercials every time you turn on the television, and stores are all decked out with garland, lights, and other Christmas decorations.

This is all well and good, and there is nothing wrong with spending some money on your family and friends. We all know how enjoyable it can be when you receive a thoughtful gift, especially one that you have been eyeing for some time. That said, if you are reading this blog entry on your own personal computer, there’s a good chance that you are a lot better off than many other people in your own neighbourhood and around the world. While you sip on your eggnog and carve up a turkey, another person could be shivering on the screen, not sure where they are going to get their next meal.

In working out your holiday budget, I encourage you to include a line for a charitable donation. The actual size of the gift is up to you. The actual charity is up to you as well. Whether it be the Union Gospel Mission, United Way, or some international organization, just be sure to select a cause that’s a little closer to your heart. People need warm clothing and food, especially around this time of year when it’s oh so cold.

There’s no sense in me boring you with a sales speech on charity and helping out your fellow man. But as we all lust after hot new laptops and cool new toys, you might want to take a moment to think about everyone else. Don’t forget to give back to your community (and the international community too).