At this time of the year, it’s easy to get lost in all the shopping and cooking and decorating and forget, temporarily, what’s really important. At SouthStar Communities, we also recognize that this may be an especially difficult holiday season with lingering political differences straining some relationships. In the true spirit of the holidays and from our family to yours, we've gathered together some of the best tips we can find to celebrate each other, practice gratitude, and enjoy the season with the best gift of all: A home and loved ones with whom to share it.
Extend a hand
Taking care of others, especially those who are not as fortunate as you are, gets to the heart of the holiday spirit. Instead of a material gift this year, how about donating in the names of your loved ones to a worthy charity? Consumer Reports has a great list of the best and worst charities organized by causes like animal welfare, cancer prevention, and international relief. If you’d rather give of your time, VolunteerMatch can find you opportunities locally.
Show love to a veteran
Our communities are filled with those who have made great sacrifice for this country and we support and appreciate our veterans every day. SouthStar has partnered with nonprofit Operation FINALLY HOME (OFH) to provide land and mortgage-free homes to 11 wounded heroes throughout our communities. But reaching out to veterans doesn't require a grand effort. There are numerous ways to show appreciation.
“Send holiday cards to active-duty military and veterans. Sending festive holiday cards is one way to show that we appreciate all that they do. Plus, it's a thoughtful way to give back that's low-cost,” said US News. “You can send holiday cards to military members through a local American Red Cross chapter that participates in the Holidays for Heroes program. If your local chapter doesn't participate in this program, check to see if A Million Thanks has a card drop-off location near you. A Million Thanks is a nonprofit with a mission to show active-duty and veteran military members our support through letters and cards from the community.”
Give a gift that gives back
Stumped about what to get for the people in your life this year? Want to make it a little more meaningful than the gift cards and candles that often find their way into your shopping cart? A gift that gives back is a thoughtful approach that can also make a difference in someone's life.
“We as individuals gave away nearly $260 billion in 2014, even more than the year before,” said Forbes. “That’s why in a world where 80% of the people live on less than $10 a day and most Westerners think nothing of paying $6 for a fancy coffee, it’s more important now than ever to choose where and how we spend our discretionary dollars. In fact, this holiday season, the average consumer will lay out $935.58, the National Retail Federation reports.”
Target’s Alex & Ani jewelry supports “children suffering from wars and other disasters via UNICEF,” they said. Purchas leather, accessories and home goods from Love41, and all proceeds “support victims of the Rwandan genocide.” See more on Forbes.
Take care of yourself
It’s easy to lose yourself in the idea of holiday gift-giving and taking care of others and forget or postpone what you really want. Christmas is a great time to take stock of your life, recognize big changes (or little ones) that you may want to make, and start making plans to go for it. At SouthStar, we see a lot of this during the season, with individuals and families, military and retirees heading into one of our community sales offices to start looking for Texas land and homes in an effort to move those dreams forward.
We’re thrilled any time of year to see people come into Vintage Oaks or King Oaks looking for a piece of Texas land for sale on which to build a custom home in the Hill Country or the Brazos Valley. Or head into The Crossings, the newest masterplanned community in New Braunfels, because they just don’t want to wait another second to own a new home in the Hill Country. Or when the Mission del Lago sales office fills up with first-time homebuyers eager to move on from apartment living or those who are so excited to be able to buy a home on the SouthSide and raise their family in the area that they love—an area that, by the way, has been undergoing a tremendous Renaissance and is now the hottest part of the city.
It makes us tremendously proud to be able to be able to do what we do, be a small part of the American dream, and share the love with members of our own families. This year, like every other, we have gratitude for YOU, and we wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season.
For more information about SouthStar's communities, visit SouthStar Communities or click below to learn more about why we're one of the nation's leading masterplanned developers.