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Avoid ‘charity fatigue’ this season

After several false starts winter is finally upon us, and as Thanksgiving gives way to the Christmas season, it’s also time for the annual “Season of Giving,” with all of the pitfalls and pleasures that go with it.

The Christmas season is an obvious time of year to think of those in need. It’s a time of year when we give to those we love, so it’s natural to think of those who either have no one to care for them, or don’t have enough to give to the people they love. But there is a down-side to this time of giving. The biggest is what we’ve heard called “charity burnout.”

There are literally thousands of charities, and most are very worthy and do excellent work. It’s not uncommon to go to a mall or shopping center and find a bell ringer at every door, tables set up inside the mall with other worthy charities requesting donations or selling wrist bands, paper angles or the like, cashiers at many stores inquiring if you would like to donate to another worthy cause. All this comes before ever turning on the television or logging onto the internet, or stopping by your place of worship, to be barraged with even more charity requests.

It’s hard to believe that anyone can make it through the holiday season without suffering charity burnout. One suggestion is to decide now, before the charity season hits full swing, how much you want to and can afford to give to charity, and decide which charities you wish to fund. Pick the one, three, or even five, charities that mean the most to you, and whose mission you most appreciate, and those will be the ones you donate to. Set that amount aside in your purse or wallet, and when you come by a worthy charity on your list, if you have money left in your budget, donate. You will be able to keep tabs on how much you are donating, and will feel at least some semblance of control over the process.

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