How to Give Back This Holiday Season with Resources You Didn’t Know You Had

How to Give Back this Holiday Season With Resources You Didn't Know You HadHow to Give Back this Holiday Season With Resources You Didn't Know You HadThe holiday decorations are already up. The newspapers are packed with advertisements and gift guides. Get your wallets at the ready and do your calisthenics, people. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are almost here.

After you've finished your Thanksgiving turkey and bought all you can buy to give to your loved ones, you may feel a let down. Maybe it's an overabundance of tryptophan or all those people who tried to knock you over to get into the midnight sale of your favorite store, but you're feeling like you need something. Something more.

Try #GivingTuesday. On Tuesday November 27, 2012, global charities, families, businesses, community centers, students and more will come together to create #GivingTuesday, a nationwide event to give back and focus our attention on this country's great tradition of generosity.

Related: 5 fun ways to teach your kids to give back


Well how the heck am I going to participate, you ask, when I'll have just finished spending all my dough on gifts? There are all sorts of ways you can give back on #GivingTuesday. It can be money, yes, but also your time. You can share skills you have with others who need them. Not only that, but you probably have additional resources for giving back of which you aren't even aware.

Do you have a credit card, and does that card give you points as a reward for your purchases? If it's a Citibank card, their Thank You Rewards program allows you to redeem the points you've accumulated for charitable donations. You can give money to your favorite charity without having to write out a check or visit the ATM, and since you just used your Citibank card to buy a bunch of stuff for the holidays you probably have plenty of points to give away. How awesome is that?

Related: 7 simple ways to save money on your electric bill

Here's how it works: Visit the Citibank Thank You Rewards charitable gifts page, and select a GiftBack card. You can "buy" one of these cards using your Thank You Rewards points in the following denominations:

1,000 points = $10 GiftBack card

2,500 points = $25 GiftBack card

5,000 points = $50 GiftBack card

10,000 points = $100 GiftBack card

Once you've used your points to get a GiftBack card, visit JustGive.org to redeem it. You can search from among 1.8 million charities and then designate your gift card to go to the one you choose. I love this idea because it allows you to donate to charities big and small, including local ones. YOU get to pick. Often charitable giving campaigns limit your giving to only a handful of the country's largest and most recognized charities, but this one lets you pick from all IRS-recognized nonprofits thanks to a database powered by Guidestar, the leading source of nonprofit information. As someone who runs a small nonprofit, I know how important this is. Give your points!! So many organizations could really use them, I promise you.

Related: 11 ways to get all your holiday shopping done before December


If have a Citibank card and you haven't enrolled in the Citibank Thank You Rewards program, be sure you join. You can use your points to shop for gifts for family and friends and even to book travel, which is another great benefit for this cash-strapped holiday season.

This is such an easy way to give back y'all. I hope you take advantage of it.

- By Katherine Stone

For 5 ways to raise a thankful child, visit Babble!

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Katherine Stone is the founder of the most widely-read blog on postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth. She writes about parenting and maternal child health on Babble Cares and her Babble Voices column.

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