If buying gifts, rushing around and sometimes forcing holiday smiles gets overwhelming, plan some volunteer or donation therapy in the coming weeks.
The Salvation Army makes sure its ubiquitous Red Kettles are where the shoppers are: online. Start your own Online Red Kettle, or give via a team that you want to see top the donation tally.
And cash donations to charity made before the end of the year are tax-deductible for 2011 returns. Certain IRA withdrawals sent straight to nonprofits won't be counted as taxable income either. Catholic Charities Atlanta offers that financial suggestion as well as a video about their annual Christmas Appeal.
Or, burn off holiday calories in the new year with Trees Atlanta. The first volunteer tree-planting of 2012 is scheduled on Jan. 7 at 8:00 am at Ansley Mall.
- The Atlanta Community Food Bank relies on some 15,000 volunteers per year in tasks like holding food drives, helping in community gardens and administration.
- Ushering shows at the Fox Theatre is such a popular volunteer job that 2,500 people are signed up and ready to do it. And applications are closed through the end of the 2012 season. So consider a donation in cash or an in-kind gift to educational programs.
- The High Museum seeks greeters and ushers for regular exhibits and special events.
- The Open Door Community serves up to 400 lunches daily from its soup kitchen, as well as smaller breakfasts and suppers. Groups can get a good introduction to the community by signing up to prepare a meal.
- My Sister's House, a Midtown shelter for women and children, seeks long-term child-care volunteers. Spread the word about their parent organization, Atlanta Mission, by requesting some bright yellow stickers to decorate your life's flat surfaces.