The Holidays are upon us. We’ll sit down to a plentiful Thanksgiving dinner with our family and friends. We’ll shop for big sales at our favorite retail establishment or online. We’ll bake too many cookies for one household to possibly eat. We’ll forget to be thankful, we’ll buy things we don’t need, and we’ll throw out our excess without a thought.

My challenge to you, this holiday season, is to not do anything that doesn’t make you think: how has this helped someone? How has it made someone’s day? How can I alter my intrinsic actions to better a part of someone’s life?

Beza Threads helps to make those differences in someone’s life, and there’s more to it than just buying a scarf. The organization has no doubt made a name for itself in the Des Moines community, and it’s time to reach further.

Like you, I have a closet full of scarves. I’ve gifted them to as many family and friends as I can think of, and I’ve asked them to do the same. Under no circumstances do I need another scarf, but that’s not necessarily the point. It’s the easiest thing to do: choose a scarf, give your money, walk away. It helps, and Beza Threads is thankful, but what if you want to do more?

My husband recently enlightened me to a new way to give to a non-profit organization. (In the process, he also successfully justified his online shopping habit. Nice work, husband.) Amazon has launched a version of their e-commerce site called Amazon Smile, which gives 1% of every purchase you make to a charity of your choice. It might not seem like a lot, that 1%, but it’s a start, and it could consciously change your purchasing habits. If you have the option to spend your dollars through a website that gives back to your favorite charity, why wouldn’t you?

Amazon even redirects you if you go to their normal web address after you’ve selected a charity to contribute to through smile.amazon.com. Could they make this any easier? Sometimes it only takes small adjustments to our everyday lives to create change.

Another avenue to pursue is giving through your employer. Many companies will match a gift to a charity at a predetermined percentage. I would venture to say that this benefit goes unused more than it should. When you have a minute, take a look at your benefits package, or talk to your HR representative and see what your options are for philanthropy through your employer. Whether you give to Beza Threads, or another worthy non-profit organization, you know that your dollars will make a difference.

As we go into the jumble of the holiday season, take a minute to reflect on your spending habits, and the small alterations you can make that will make a big difference.