Kids the world over are getting excited by the upcoming holidays and what they mean: presents, parties, decorations, yummy treats…But if you want to really get them into the true “spirit of Christmas,” there’s no better way than to use the holidays as a lesson on the importance of giving.
Kids are naturally wrapped up in the “me me me” mentality of Christmas—what to put on their lists, what they hope Santa will bring them. But, kids are also naturally sensitive and open, and the holidays are the perfect time to impress on them how much of a difference they can make in the lives of others by being generous.
Here are some easy ways to get your kids into the spirit of giving this holiday season:
Clothing drives. Make your kids aware of how fortunate they are by helping them participate in a local clothing drive. Around the holidays, many stores have bins to collect new winter items like coats, mittens, and hats. Take your child shopping for a set of winter clothes for a child in need, letting them pick out the “perfect” items to give away. Gently let them know that not every kid is able to stay warm in the winter without other people’s help. Chances are your child never even thought of this.
Toy drives. Give your kids $20 apiece and send them into their favorite toy store—to buy something for someone else. Point out that, while they’re tearing through their piles of presents on Christmas morning, this may be the only toy a poor child gets for Christmas. It will make them look at their horde of goodies with new appreciation—and may even make them ask if they can buy two toys to give away!
Donate unused items. With a plethora of new toys soon to come on Christmas morning, now is a great time to go through some of your child’s older, no-longer-used toys and see if any of them can be donated to someone who would better appreciate them. Help your child to go through items by asking questions like: “Is this toy maybe more for little kids than a big kid like you?” and “You don’t really play with this one much anymore, do you?”
Give to neighbors. When you make that big batch of holiday treats, ask your kids to help you put together a basket to give to the bachelor next door. If you have elderly neighbors, send your kids over one snowy morning to surprise them with a free driveway shoveling. Giving to people they know and being able to see the surprise and joy on their faces can help kids immediately understand how much good they’ve done.
Volunteering. Whether it’s singing carols at a nursing home or bringing gifts to children in the hospital, volunteering is a great way to really show your kids that there are many needs for charity in the world, and that just by giving a little of their time, they can brighten someone’s day.
Kelly Gurnett writes for the UK’s premier cash advance lender, and runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits, where she documents her attempts to rid her life of the things that don’t matter and focus more on the things that do.
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