During the holiday season, there’s a constant emphasis on consuming. We are inundated with sales and promotions - the brands we interact with constantly reminding us of their presence and their inventory, the latter of which can be had at a fraction of its normal cost. As a result, some have started to look at the holidays as a black hole of consumerism - the annual last gasp of industries who exist to separate us from our dollars.

Obviously, this is not what the holiday season is meant for, or what we would argue is what it actually is. We all need to make a living, and it’s increasingly difficult to rise above the noise to communicate the things we believe in. But the reality of the situation is that the holidays can still leave us feeling exhausted by the level of rampant and unchecked consumerism that seems to build at every year’s end.

As a palate cleanser, it’s good to focus some energy on organizations who view helping others and building community as a core component to their model. More than being just laser focused on product sales and bottom lines, we should focus on the ways we can better serve those around us.

Nisolo Shoes is a prime example of an organization holding up its values as well as its product. This year, the Nashville-based shoe manufacturer introduced its Ethical Marketplace - a curated selection of sustainably-sourced goods that adhere to Nisolos principles of craftsmanship and sustainability. They also announced a wage-transparency initiative that the company hopes to be able to use to shift the fashion industry into one focused on providing living wages for its manufacturers.

Companies like Toms Shoes, Warby Parker, and Bombas have held up these values since their inception - each providing a pair of shoes, glasses, or socks respectively to someone in need with every purchase of their product. These companies have become so popular that the “one-for-one” model of purchasing and giving has become somewhat of a trend in the past decade.

Obviously for those whose businesses offer goods to the consumer can replicate this model easily if they have the margins to do so. But for those of us who don’t offer physical products, this trend toward charity can be a bit more difficult to navigate. We can, however, use our platforms to give a voice to the organizations that align with our values. Nonprofit organizations are always looking for partners to come alongside them in their work - maybe that means using your networks to promote their organization, or maybe that means taking a day with your team to volunteer with an organization you love.

As a leader - it’s important to show your team that the things we value outside the office hold equal weight to those goals we set for the team itself. It’s just as important to recharge and spend time with our families as it is to make the next sale or land the next big account.

There are plenty of ways to counterbalance the malaise that can set in after the holiday barrage. Be intentional and kind in your leadership, and your team will reflect your strengths.