Thanks For Giving

11/29/2010 04:52 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Thanksgiving marks the official start of the holiday season, although no doubt we've all seen decorations lining the aisles at our favorite stores for some time now. Regardless of when the signs arrive in stores, the beginning of December is the time of year people get serious about their gift-giving plans.

During the holiday season, I often find myself looking for gifts to give that can't be found during a Saturday afternoon shopping trip. I've known other people that have "adopted" a needy family and provided them with the tools for a special holiday celebration. Others donate toys to charities that distribute them to children, or send care packages to troops overseas.

I started my own gift-giving tradition a couple of years ago. Each year, I organize a current list of nonprofits that are members of and arrange them by sector. On each night of Hanukkah, my sons, nieces and nephews each choose a nonprofit and my husband and I donate in their name, asking the nonprofit to get back to them regarding their donation. This has led to ongoing and very personal relationships for different family members and a variety of nonprofits. I save on paper too because there is nothing to wrap!

This form of giving isn't always for everyone. The gift of time is just as important! Organizing a family volunteer opportunity around the holiday season, or finding a way to give back during the limited time that you have, possibly even using, is just as important to nonprofits.

I've always been committed to giving of myself where and how I can. Supporting the work of nonprofit organizations that are important to you is not only great to do during holiday season, but by making a commitment to volunteer or give back to nonprofits as part of your normal routine -- that's something they'll be thankful for all year long!

What are ways you and your family give back over the holiday season? Please connect with us on Facebook, our LinkedIn group and Twitter (@WomenOnCall) to share your stories.