Holiday Giving, Uber Sleigh Toy Drive & Picking a Charity for You.

The holidays are busy! Seriously, between trying to finish up work before taking some time off, shopping for gifts, cooking elaborate meals and kicking back with family & friends, it's pretty easy to forget exactly how fortunate you really are.

Sponsoring families for the holidays.

Last week a group of about a dozen SingleHoppers went on our annual Holiday Shopping Event. During this event, we sponsor a group of Chicago families and children, to make their holiday wishes come true. We're very proud that some of the gifts we picked up for the Uber Sleigh Toy Drive.

We usually give locally. But not always.

For the most part, we have always advocated giving locally. That's because we believe that if everyone took care of their own backyard, the whole world would be in better shape. As a result, we have supported a wide range of Chicago-area charities. That's not to say that we're exclusive to the Chicago-area, we're not. We've stepped outside our hometown more than a dozen times, supporting the Bush-Clinton Haiti Fund and the Kentucky Center for Courageous Kids Center, among others.

So now the point. 

No matter what industry you're in. No matter what blog you write for. No matter what product you sell. This holiday season, pick a charity or two and do something for them. Volunteer. Give blood. Donate money. Wrap toys. Cook food. It doesn't matter. Have an old car you need to get rid of? Donate it. Got some old cloths? Give them to someone who needs them. There are literally hundreds of great charities out there to give to. They exist in every state, every country, all over the world.

If every business took the initiative that Uber did, if every person took a moment to give a little -- no matter how small -- it would have a huge impact. This website, SingleHop.com, receives well over 100,000 unique visitors per month. Imagine if even a small fraction gave $25 to a quality charity this season? That could be a big impact.

But, be smart about giving.

Charity Navigator is a wonderful website that helps you find charities to support. You can search by cause. You can search by location. And most importantly, you can learn about the organizations themselves. Are they effective? Out of every dollar, how much goes to the cause vs. paying employees? How efficient are they? Remember, a charity is a business -- and like any industry, some businesses are run better than others.