In From our Director

In my last post, I begrudgingly accepted that the Holiday Season was upon us. But, now that it’s December, I’m fully embracing it! The Holiday music is blaring in the McBride household, the lights are up outside and I’m now accepting Christmas wish lists from members of my family. Yep, let the yuletide gay.

This year, my wife and I are trying harder than ever to minimize the commercial aspect of the Holidays. Giving is still an integral part of our plans but not in the new traditional, store-bought way.

As today is Giving Tuesday, here are a some alternative ways I will be giving this Holiday Season. Maybe they will inspire you to do the same.

Giving donations in lieu of gifts

Many of my friends and family have all they really need. Getting them a token gift just because that’s what you are supposed to do at Christmas is becoming less satisfying. So, this year, my wife and I will be making donations in our friends name in lieu of a gift. I know many of my friends and family will appreciate this more than a trinket they will soon store or toss. And we both know that $5, $10 or $20 we’d spend on each other will have far more impact through the great work of some of our favourite local charities. I like to shop local and I like to give local, too.

Donations in lieu of a hostess gift

The Holidays are festive times with lots of parties. Hostess gifts are part of the tradition. I’ll be hosting a couple of parties this season, but I’ll be asking those who attend to skip the gift and/or bottle of wine and bring a donation to SCI BC instead. People feel good about doing this. And besides, they usually can’t help themselves and bring a donation AND a bottle of wine.

Making gifts

My family has always made gifts for Christmas. This year, we’ll rely more on the homemade gifts than in the past. We’ve already made our staples – peach mango chutney, candles and soap – but we’ll be adding a few new things, like a variety of sweet and savory shortbread cookies wrapped up in fun ways (sorry for ruining the surprise!). Edible gifts are great and are less likely to end up in storage or the waste.


I will pledge to keep volunteering in 2014. I volunteer for different things but the one that takes up the most time is coaching soccer. This year, I’m coaching both of my kids’ teams, meaning I’m out on the pitch 6 days a week from September through March. By the end of it, I’ll have racked up over 220 hours of volunteering – each one of them highly rewarding, educational and fun. I learn a ton from every volunteering activity I engage in and encourage you to give the gift of time to a charity or cause that interests you.

Last year, 325 people made a big impact by giving over 2,270 hours of time to SCI BC – that’s the equivalent of well over one year of full-time work! If you’d like to give the gift of your time to SCI BC, click here to learn more about our volunteer opportunities.

Spread the word about supporting SCI BC on Giving Tuesday

I’ll be spreading the word about supporting SCI BC, and you can too! Click here to fine out how.

The Holidays are indeed a time of giving, but that doesn’t have to mean a trip to the mall. Think about some other ways you can give the gift of time or impact to local charities that, more than ever, need your support. Giving feels good, especially when you know your gift – be it a donation or your time and expertise – is having a positive impact. It also feels good when you get a tax receipt for it.

Supporting SCI BC is easyjust click here.

Happy Giving Tuesday,


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