December 9, 2011

The holiday season is by far my favorite time of the year. It’s not just the excitement of taking a bite into holiday meals, decorating the perfect tree, or sipping that first cup of hot chocolate with extra marshmallows that bring me pure joy; It’s finding new ways to teach my kids how to give.

Here are some creative and inexpensive ways your kids (and you too) can give this holiday season:

The giving jar.
Have your kids throw any loose change they find into a jar throughout the year. Watch the excitement on their faces when the the jar is finally filled. The money can be used to buy a family’s holiday meal or purchase toys to donate to Toys for Tots.

Donate gently used coats.
If your kids outgrew last year’s coats,  don’t throw them away. Instead allow them to donate their gently used jacket to a Coats for Kids drive.

Adopt a family.
Many schools, churches, and other organizations host adopt-a-family during the holiday season. Help your children choose even just one item off the list and go shopping together. This is the perfect time to talk about how others may be less fortunate.

Play secret neighbor.
Last year our elderly neighbor was so elated when we put up our Christmas decorations. This year we plan to surprise her by decorating her yard. Each year we pick up a few extra ornaments and lights on clearance after the holidays are over. We always have plenty to share.

Share a tree.
Before you dispose of that old (real) tree check and see if anyone in the community would like it. There are plenty of daycares, recreational centers, shelter, or familys short on cash this year who’d love to make your old tree new.

Made with love.
Watch your kids spread holiday cheer by handing out homemade cards to neighbors and friend. Your kids can use construction paper, crayons, markers, glitter, and any other art supplies around the house. There are also free printables online.

Go caroling.
Gather your children and their friends and head to a local assisted-living home for some caroling and spending time with the residents. Make sure to call first and speak with a coordinator about setting up a date and time.

Help cook dinner.
If your children are old enough, why not volunteer at a local shelter to help prepare a holiday meal for those in need?

These are just a few ideas to teach your kids that giving is fun, inexpensive, and rewarding.