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Heartwarming Holiday Gifts for Buyers and Sellers

November 27 2013

karli heatwarming thanksgivingSeveral months after selling my first home, our real estate agent stopped by to drop off a little holiday gift. It was almost Thanksgiving, and he wanted to let us know that he was thankful for our business. It was such a kind thought, and felt entirely appropriate given the season. November, after all (not counting the temporary madness that is Black Friday), is a month dedicated to taking stock of our blessings, of giving thanks, and letting those around us know that we are grateful to have them in our lives.

I opened the gift and gasped. Inside the cellophane wrapper was the most hideous candle I had ever seen–a 5-inch tall wax turkey with a wick poking ominously out of the top of its head. The moment we set the poor thing alight we'd be forced to watch it slowly liquefy from the head down, leaving us with a half-burned, headless (neckless, shoulderless, ack!) turkey until the day finally came when we'd be left with nothing but its feet. Somehow, this gave an entirely new and unsettling air of sadness to the thought of our Thanksgiving feast, and the bald, headless bird tucked quietly away at the back of the freezer. Our agent meant well, and the thought was appreciated. But I could never bring myself to light that ill-fated candle.

In recent years, a new tradition called GivingTuesday has begun to take hold. The creators of GivingTuesday note that we have a day for giving thanks, and two days for getting deals. GivingTuesday is a new day for giving back. Had my real estate agent known about this wonderful day he may have been able to come up with something a little more meaningful to give his clients as a token of his gratitude.

Here are three ways real estate professionals can take advantage of GivingTuesday to authentically and meaningfully connect with clients as the year comes to a close, strengthening each relationship through the kindness and generosity of giving back.

1. Give a charity gift card. Charity gift card providers such as TisBestTisBest allow the gift giver to customize a gift card with an image and donation amount. Their recipient can then choose which charity they'd like to support with the money on the card. Charity gift cards work just like traditional gift cards, except instead of buying more stuff, the recipient has the wonderful opportunity to make a difference in the world by supporting a cause they feel passionate about. Pro tip: Customize your card with a photo of your clients' new house for a truly thoughtful gift that shows your appreciation for their business.

2. Sponsor a classroom. DonorsChoose.orgDonorsChoose.org allows you to "shop" their site for classroom projects that need to be funded. Public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on the DonorsChoose site, and you can give any amount to the project that most inspires you. Pro tip: Find a classroom project in your community to sponsor. Send a note to your clients with details about the project, letting them know that you're paying it forward this year rather than giving them something they may not need or want.

3. Give a goat (or a cow, or a hen, or a sheep...). Organizations such as Oxfam and HeiferHeifer make it easy to send gifts of livestock to families in developing countries. The animals provide needy families with both food and reliable income, as agricultural products such as milk, eggs and honey can be traded or sold at market. Pro tip: Donate an animal in each of your clients' names. Heifer will send them a free card to let them know a gift has been made in their honor.

GivingTuesday is swiftly rising in popularity, thanks to recent research and media focus on the happiness benefits of giving backhappiness benefits of giving back. Sharing a giving experience with your clients will not only let them know you care about them and the planet we all share, but will also engage them in an activity that will boost their level of happiness and appreciation for the relationship you have developed.

Follow GivingTuesday on Twitter for more wonderful ideas for giving back this year!