We all learn about inventors and inventions in history class, but it seems that there is some incongruity when you consider the modern significance of an invention and the likelihood that you will know the inventor’s name. For example, history students often learn that Jethro Tull invented the seed drill, but few 21st century Americans have used one. On the other hand, everyone is acquainted with televisions, but few can name the inventor. Automobiles are another example. It is difficult to imagine an invention that had a more transformative effect than the automobile in the twentieth century, yet few can accurately name the inventor.
We teach our children many very detailed things about Santa Claus. He lives in the North Pole and employs elves to make toys for the children of the world, or at least for the nice ones. On Christmas Eve, he magically visits the home of every deserving child delivering toys by sliding down the chimney, even in homes that do not have a fireplace. His magical journey is made possible by eight reindeer pulling a sleigh (and lots of toy cargo). We learned these things from our parents, but where did they and their parents learn them?
Here’s an innovative charitable idea right on time for Christmas, or any other time of the year. Next time you upgrade vehicles, why not look for an opportunity to give away the weakest member of your vehicle fleet rather than trade it in? In many families, especially those with teenage or young adult drivers, a vehicle upgrade has a ripple effect of upgrades down the line.
By the time you get down to the vehicle that you no longer want or need, there might not be much left in terms of trade-in value. On the other hand, if there is someone in your church or neighborhood who needs a vehicle, a working set of wheels would represent a major lifestyle improvement.
This is a win-win opportunity without serious loss to the giver. Chances are the vehicle that you are discarding would not produce a big trade-in allowance, so you might reap only slightly lower payments as a result. On the other hand, donating your vehicle to a tax-exempt organization can yield income tax benefits next spring.
One more thing to be thankful for this season is the ease of travel in our day. Just one hundred fifty years ago, if part of your family moved to the west coast it was a grand farewell. “Have a nice life, and we will look for a letter next year if you survive the journey.” Now you can catch a plane tonight and have breakfast with your family on the other coast tomorrow morning.