The year-end holidays are here once more, and it’s time to turn our attention to giving thanks and sharing our bounty. Perhaps this holiday season you might think “outside the gift-wrapped box” and give unique presents to others? After all, who needs another stocking stuffer they may have to re-gift next year?

One thought is to consider donating to any of the nonprofit organizations dedicated to worthy missions and causes that help our community survive and thrive. One organization can’t do it all. Thankfully, there are groups that support people and animals in need. So, if you are doing fairly well and have something extra to give, find out what your favorite organization(s) can truly use, and give freely.

Do you want to save lives? One of the main missions of the Jackson County Historical Society is to save lives. That’s right, we like to think of ourselves as lifesavers ... maybe not in the medical sense of the word or even the spiritual way, but we keep alive the legacies of the people, places, and events that all relate to the history of this fine county. With the support of membership, JCHS can continue to save lives, and maybe you’ll help us save a few more lives – no medical degree necessary!

Annual memberships to the JCHS come in a few different sizes, because what fits one year might change the next. But, unlike that pair of acid-washed jeans, membership never goes out of style. JCHS offers a few different levels of giving geared toward students, veterans, educators, individuals and families. So, it’s easy to fit history and its preservation into your financial plans and gift-giving list.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and gift memberships are an ingenious stocking stuffer. Your friends, family and colleagues may appreciate the benefits of JCHS membership for the next full year.

One of the most tangible benefits – other than the sheer knowledge and satisfaction that you are supporting a worthy nonprofit organization’s mission – is the JCHS JOURNAL, a periodical offering local history articles. The current Journal going to members this season includes these featured titles: “Order No. 11: Something Never to Forget;” “Introducing the ‘new’ historic Jackson County Truman Courthouse;” “The Courthouse in Missouri Life;” Trouble Don’t Last Always: The Legacy of KC’s Black Gospel Blues;” “Bob Cerv: Baseball Player Painfully Great in ‘58;” “Grasshopper Plague: It Sounds Just Like a Heavy Hail Storm;” and, other diverse local history items.

I’m sure the nonprofit world would join me in thanking you in advance for your creative and thoughtful gesture this holiday season and throughout the year. All year? Yes. You can give your time, talent and/or tithe throughout the year.

Beyond membership or a tax deductible contribution is to volunteer. JCHS can’t do half of all it accomplishes without its extensive volunteer corps. Some greet visitors at either the 1859 Jail Museum on the Independence Square, or in the JCHS Visitors Center in the historic Jackson County Truman Courthouse. Others work on projects that prepare historical materials for public access. It’s not rocket science, but every volunteer hour helps!

Another unique way to give throughout the year is in your shopping decisions. Did you know that recently announced it would help support non-profits when customers shop online? The Jackson County Historical Society, along with literally a million other non-profits, can get 0.5 percent of each purchase you make online! So, select JCHS and shop through, where the same extensive online sections are available.

Find out more at Meanwhile, happy year-end holidays from your Jackson County Historical Society.

David W. Jackson is archives and education director of the Jackson County Historical Society.