What are some of your favorite ways to celebrate the holidays? How do you and your family spend time together? How do you and your family give back during the holidays?
I absolutely love the holidays because it is the perfect excuse to see my family! We are big, loud, opinionated and I love it! I also love spending time with my in-laws over the holidays and I love Christmas morning with my kids. These are memories that I will cherish forever! I will love having my sister in-law and brother in-law in town and seeing the kids loving on them! I will love the way my kids play with my sisters’ kids at my parents! I will love trying new recipes and making memories over food! However, I know that I am very lucky to have these opportunities to make memories. I know not everyone is and that is why I want to make it a priority to teach my children how to give back and love on those less fortunate.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
How to give back with kidsIt is hard to volunteer with kids, I know. I also know that it can be easy if you find the right place! Food kitchens may not be the right place for younger kids because of the fast pace and hot items being moved everywhere. There are some places that have age restrictions for their volunteers and these are put in place for their safety. I have put time into thinking about this and doing some research because this has been weighing on my heart this year. My kids are at the age where they can start learning how to give back. By starting this at a young age, we will be able to grow and do more things as they get older. Below, you will find 4 ideas that you can do with young kids to help them learn about giving back during the holiday seasons!
Food BanksWhile most food banks won’t let small children work in food banks, they are more than excited to receive donations from kids! Find a list of items that your local food bank is running short on and take your kids shopping. Have them help you get items on the list. Sometimes we must set our own budget so make sure they know what that is. Teaching them to be giving and responsible at the same time! Win- Win, right? When you go to take the food to the food bank, let them turn in the donation. Sometimes you can ask for a tour to show the kids around and let them see what happens to their donations. You may want to call and ask what time is best to do this. Locally, we have a program where Thanksgiving meals are donated. Thousands of volunteers come together to donate food, set it all up, and then hand it out! Kids can help at this event and it is one that I love volunteering at! Try to find something similar in your local community that allows your kids to see it start to finish!
Angel TreesAngel tree have been around for as long as I can remember. This is where children have been selected to receive donated gifts. They write their wishes on an angel and then it is hung on a tree. People can come select an angel or two and then go shopping for that child. This is a tradition I plan on starting this year with my kids! I feel that it is important for children to learn how to be selfless. What a better reason for kids to go shopping for toys and clothes that they don’t get to keep? Often times you can shop for the items and then drop them off and they get wrapped and delivered for you. Check with someone who is working the tree and see how you need to proceed with this.
Winter Clothes DriveOur kids grow, we grow, everyone grows. What do you do with your old winter clothes or coats? Do you donate them, or save them for a yard sale? Why not donate them to winter clothing drives? Why not gather up all your old clothes, coats, gloves, and hats and give them to someone else? Everywhere you look there are several homeless people wondering the streets these days, but what we don’t see very often are the homeless children or the children whose parents can’t afford a coat because they are trying to keep the electricity on, so they can have heat. I am big on not hoarding anyway, so this is a great way to declutter too! Get all your items, make sure they are clean and find a local clothing drive, or go deliver them to a local homeless shelter. If you know someone personally struggling, go deliver it to them. Having your children help decide what they don’t want to keep is a great way to help them make decisions. It is also a great way to help them understand how fortunate they are. Here are a few clothing drive options!
Toy DrivesToy drives are so common, and Toys for Tots is everywhere. Toy drives are fun to do! Take your kids with you to help you pick out toys. Give them a budget and let them see how many toys they can get within their budget! Then when they get to put the toys in the box, the pride and joy on their face to so priceless! Kids really do love getting to pick out toys that they think other kids would love! You don’t have to buy expensive toys. I took my kids to Tuesday Morning and Dollar General last year. We were able to get several toys and make a couple different donations. This is one that we will be doing again! ** Remember, the children that receive these gifts will be so thankful to receive anything at all. Obviously, we don’t want to donate happy meal toys, but don’t feel like you need to spend $60 on a toy!
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