‘Tis the season of giving.
Many families give money or food to the charity connected to their child’s school or agree upon a non-profit to donate to at this time of year. These are important contributions and go a long way to helping but there are also many other meaningful ways to give back this season.
Allow your charitable donations to teach your children about the importance of giving to those less fortunate. Let your kids see the need first-hand and have a voice in becoming part of the solution.
Give while you shop
If there is one place we spend a lot of time in during the holidays, it’s stores. Many grocery and retail stores have programs at the cash register where you can donate money, food, toys or even experiences to those in need.
When considering giving a toy to a toy drive, allow your children to have a say in what you give. What toy did they receive recently that they really liked? Is there a game that a whole family could enjoy together? What about giving them the gift of adventure by donating a favorite book?
Food for thought
Donating to the local food bank or organizations like Meals on Wheels is a great way to give back. Why not consider volunteering together as a family at one of these organizations? They are always looking for people to search through the goods and stuff hampers at this
time of year.
Give to those around you
Don’t forget to give back to those in your life that help you. Try to find small ways to show your appreciation for people like babysitters, teachers, cleaners and dog walkers at this time of year. These gifts do not have to be big or expensive. A heartfelt note and sweet treat (that you made yourself) might be just the thing to let them know they are appreciated.
Change it up
The next time you are out and about with your kids, give them each a handful of change. Let them decide which charity pots or donation baskets to put the money in and how much to give to each. This will encourage them to talk about and learn about local charities and what they use the money for.
Giving starts at home. Take the time to declutter your toy bins this holiday season. Let your children choose the toys they give away. Talk to them about the fact that not every child wakes up to numerous presents under the tree on Christmas morning and how it is important to give to those who need help.
Don’t forget to take a browse through your bookshelf and donate any unwanted books to local schools, libraries, or charity book sales.
While you are sorting through your stuff, look in the closets as well. Donate those old jackets, hats, boots and mitts to a local shelter that can use them. Take this time to talk about how lucky you are to have a home and how important it is for people who don’t have dependable housing to stay warm in the winter.
Stretch your buck
Consider searching out matching gift programs so your dollar goes further. If you don’t know of an organization that your employer is supporting this season, ask them. If you do find a business that gives back in a big way, make sure you do your best to support them.
Put a pin in it
Consider asking the charity or non-profit you would like to give to if there is another time of year that they could use the donation. Many charities receive lots of money and gifts during the holidays but have “dry spells” at other times of the year. Could you hold off and give it to them then? Also make sure you are specific in what you give. Ask organizers directly about exactly what they need and try your best to fill that need.
With money getting tighter and tighter these days, no matter how you give back this holiday season, it will be appreciated. With a bit of forethought and some teaching moments, your Christmastime charitable donations can become lessons learned for your whole family. CCM
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