Despite the busy pace of the holiday season, taking the time to think of those who are less fortunate is important. Not just for us – getting our children involved in giving back provides a terrific learning opportunity as we teach them to be thoughtful and caring of others.
1. An easy way to start is to go through everyone’s winter clothes and figure out what no longer fits, what’s not quite “in style” enough for the teenagers, and pack it up and take it to your nearest donation center. This doesn’t cost you a penny, clears out your closets and it makes someone else’s winter just a little easier to get through.
2. Go to your local dollar store or hit the Target dollar section to purchase some knit hats, gloves, etc in all sizes to donate. You can usually find the kids sizes with more than one set/pair of gloves or hats for not much more than $5. Whenever you see these on super clearance, stock up on a few for the next winter to donate. Many schools and libraries have winter gear drives you can contribute to.
3. For older kids, spend a day at the homeless shelters serving food. (It’s a good reality check for your teen who is upset that they didn’t get the latest iPhone or iPad for Christmas!)
4. Give as a family. Decide as a family what charity you would like to support and give to together. Even if they’re only giving $5, giving personally can mean a lot to a child. A neat one for kids is Save the Children. You can donate farm animals to families in need. A goat and two chicks is only $80 – and can change a family’s life!
5. Check to see if your local stores have an Angel Tree or an Adopt a Family program. Let your children help pick out the toys or clothing and help you wrap it. Some places ask that you keep yourself anonymous, but others allow you to add cards with your family’s name on it. It can be especially meaningful when the child is the same age as your child – how special for them to be able to relate to someone in that way!
At the end of the day, finding a way to help those less fortunate can make you feel really good about yourself, and help someone else feel warm and cozy at night, or send them to bed with a full belly. There’s nothing on earth that feels as good as knowing that you’ve gone out of your way to help others!