Charitable Giving for the Holidays
It’s beginning to look a lot like...the winter holidays are upon us. ‘Tis the season of red Starbucks cups, twinkling lights, and Salvation Army bells ringing. There’s nostalgia in the air of that magical childhood love for Christmas. Holiday cards fill our mailboxes highlighting visits to Santa, new family additions, and kids smiling so brightly – surely the result of exhausted parents negotiating for those smiles behind the cameras. It is undoubtedly a special time of year when we feel more connected to family, friends, and community.
One of the most beautiful things that happens this time of year is that we all feel inclined to give what we can to those less fortunate. There is a sense of shared obligation to make sure that all children get to experience the magic of the season. In that spirit, many of us give to our favorite charities this time of year, even though the intent may not be purely altruistic. While the holidays provide the perfect platform for giving to many worthwhile causes, there may also be tax incentives to make charitable contributions before the end of the year, and various giving strategies to make these contributions. Be sure to check in with your financial advisor for the best advice regarding your specific situation.
While giving annually to our favorite charities is a win-win as far as combining philanthropy with tax planning, one of the best gifts we can consider is a legacy gift, and one of the simplest ways to do it is to make a charitable bequest in your will. In a few short sentences, and with the help of your estate planning attorney, you can leave a percentage of your estate or a specific dollar amount as a legacy gift to your charity of choice. If you have spent your lifetime making an impact through an annual gift, writing a charitable bequest into your will ensures that this impact continues.
In thinking about philanthropy at the holidays, I am reminded of the famous line from How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss: “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps, means a little bit more.” As we approach the holidays, keeping charitable giving in mind feels deeply meaningful, both in the immediate and in the future sense. Who knows, charitable giving for the holidays might just make our hearts triple in size.