Thursday, December 15, 2011

Giving back for the holidays with young children

As I mentioned awhile back. We want to start instilling the idea of Christmas as a time of giving to those who are less fortunate with our boys. Now that classes are out and exams and final papers have been written, I have a little bit more time to dedicate to finalizing more ambitious Christmas gifts and to deciding and executing our plan for giving this year.

Having young children, certain ways of giving seem less practical for us, mainly those that involve volunteering time. Some opportunities are inappropriate for small children – like working in a soup kitchen. Consequently, we have been trying to find ways that will have meaning for us, are appropriate given our finances and family dynamic, and most importantly, that B will understand (i.e. visible actions such as gift giving as opposed to monetary donations or monetary contributions that involve tangible gifts like food hampers). We’re also trying to pick opportunities that offer a teaching opportunity such as to explain poverty, homelessness, or illness. Food and toy donations are simple enough – he understands that we are giving to people who don’t have food or toys.

Some ideas for giving back at Christmas time for those with very young kids:
  • Donate non-perishable food or personal hygiene items to a local food drive. **We try to avoid giving sugar-laden, highly processed, or junk foods. Also, if you’re cleaning out your cupboards pay attention to best before dates and when in doubt toss it out. Alternately, if you have more money to spend, you could buy a food hamper.
  • Donate warm winter clothing – many places will take both used and new items and are looking especially for children’s items.
  • Donate toys to a local toy drive. Although many toy drives request new toys, there are also some places that will accept decent quality used toys. **We are asking B to select a few toys he no longer plays with/has duplicates of to donate since he is fortunate enough to be receiving new toys this Christmas.
  • Give a less fortunate family the gift of “Christmas” – gifts, food, decor
  • Make Christmas crafts and cards with your children and drop them off to a local nursing home for seniors who do not receive visitors over the holidays. The same can be done with flower arrangements (or poinsettias received as gifts if you’re concerned about small children or pets).
  • Donate to the local animal shelter - kids love animals.
  • Purchase products where the proceeds go to important causes ex. a local initiative is selling very cute calendars with the proceeds going toward the construction of a new, affordable facility in the Region.
  • Donate gifts to Sick Kids. DH spent some time there as a child for eye surgeries. They have a really neat site for giving get well gifts like crafts/baking supplies, books, etc. 
Any other ideas?


Sassy Babies said...

These are great ideas. It is so important to help your kids understand that Christmas is more than just about the presents.


-Sassy Babies

Sarah said...

I think you covered pretty much everything we do with our little ones- it's hard for Z to grasp the concept of not having things when he has everything he wants at his fingertips. We are doing the toy donation and food donation and talking about not always getting but giving as well.