Moms, let’s face it, Christmas is a challenging time to be a good parent. We are stressed-out, overscheduled, and there seems like there is little we can do to shield our children from the external influences of the most commercialized season of the year. That’s why Christmas is the perfect time to start teaching children about giving to others.
I don’t know about you, but in my house (on a daily basis during the Christmas season!) I am bombarded with requests from my kids asking for more and more of everything from “I want to add x, y and z to my Christmas list,” to “can I pretty please have one more piece of candy off of my gingerbread house?”
So, how can we, as parents, teach our children that this is a season of giving, not a season of getting?
To help you instill a spirit of giving in your children this season, I’ve compiled a list of 7 ways to give with your kids during the holidays.
This list isn’t meant to overwhelm you. My hope is that this list will help inspire you to find a way to teach your children about giving to others during the holidays.
If you’re on a tight budget this year, pick just one or two from the list that won’t require you to spend any money at all. In the words of Mother Theresa, “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
7 Ways To Cultivate A Spirit of Giving in Your Children This Christmas
1. Talk about giving to others with your children.
First and foremost, the best way to cultivate a family value of giving is to talk about giving to others with your kids.
Discuss ways your family can give to those in need and let your kids ask questions to help them understand that there are people we can help. Come up with a list of ways to give to other this season.
In our part of the world, my children see a lot of local poverty. There are many homeless villages we pass by on a daily basis. We often get tough questions, like “why are those people living in tents” or “how come they don’t have enough money to buy a house?”
Discussing these topics at home allows our kids to speak openly and honestly and in an environment that is compassionate and safe.
2. Donate clothing and toys to a shelter or other local organization.
Help your children go through their toys and clothes and pick out a few things to donate to a shelter or other local organization accepting donations.
This act of giving something of their own is a great way to get your kids involved in giving this season (and it helps to make room for all the new items coming your children’s way on Christmas day!).
Consider taking your kids with you when you drop the items off at the shelter or other organization. Allow them to be the one to place their things in the donation box or hand them to the person accepting the gifts.
3. Volunteer your time as a family.
Take some time this season serving others as a family. Think of things your children can help with – maybe an elderly neighbor could use some help raking leaves or shoveling snow, or you could take a shift at a soup kitchen or plan a visit to the local senior center to spend some time chatting or playing games with the residents.
One thing I plan on doing with my kids is to make personal care kits for the homeless. Just buy some brown paper bags and stuff them with personal care items like toothpaste or toothbrushes, snacks, socks and a list of local resources. Then spend time as a family handing these kits out to the homeless in your area.
4. Let your kids help with buying gifts for others.
Let your children help pick out gifts for family, friends, and teachers.
This act of planning to give to others helps take the focus off of what they want for themselves. And it helps them see the world through another person’s perspective.
I love hearing my kids talk about what they think their family wants for Christmas. My son wants to buy a Batman toy for Grandpa since “he really likes the batman toy I have.” Kids are so precious!
5. Bring something homemade to your neighbors.
Bake cookies or make homemade gifts to give to your neighbors. Baking and making for others is one of my favorite ways to help my kids get into the spirit of giving.
Spend an afternoon distributing these homemade goodies to your neighbors. My neighbors always appreciate a visit from my kids. Plus, it allows you to spend time just chatting with your neighbors.
In the busyness of life, it’s hard to find a chance to engage in a conversation with those who live nearby. So this season, I encourage you to spend time getting to know your neighbors a little better.
6. Give locally.
Give to your church or another local organization. Spend time talking with your children about the local nonprofits that could use some monetary help this season. Then figure out the best way to make your donation.
Your children will learn about the local nonprofits and how they give back to the community.
We’ve donated to our local food bank and animal shelter. You could even take your kids to the nonprofit so they can see where they are located and how they operate.
7. Give globally.
Finally, you can give globally.
A wonderful way to give globally is to fund a child through Compassion International or a similar organization.
Giving to those in other parts of the world gives you an opportunity to talk to your children about global issues. These discussions also allow them to understand that they can make a difference.
I hope these ideas have inspired you to experience the joy of sharing with others with your family this season!
Which of these ideas is your favorite? Or do you have another giving idea you’d like to share? I’d LOVE to hear from you in the comments section below.
With Love and Joy,