Do you ever feel that your holiday season is filled to the brim with excessiveness? Almost to a point where the actual meaning of the season is diminished? In an effort to make our children have a better appreciation for all the blessings that fill their lives, the holidays are a great time to get them involved in giving back. We have found some great ways for families of all sizes to volunteer and give back this year.
Here are 5 Ways to Give as a Family this Christmas Season:
Marine Toys for Tots Foundation
This national campaign has been collecting toys for less fortunate children since 1947. The campaign operates under the motto, “Every Child deserves a little Christmas”, a great reminder to send to your children to give to someone their age who is less fortunate than them. Make an event of it by taking your family shopping for toys. The Marine Toys for Tots website has an area to make a monetary donation, find a child in your local area to give to, or even host a local event.
Pack Stockings for Homeless People
Fill some inexpensive stockings with practical and fun items like food, water bottles, toothpaste and warm gloves or socks, even gift cards or money. Take a drive where you have seen homeless people and pass out your stockings.
Neighborhood Food Drive
Work together to collect canned goods, toiletries, and diapers for a local food pantry. Contact the pantry you are collecting for in advance to find out what specific items they need. Tell your neighbors in advance that you will be collecting on a certain date, so they will be prepared. Organize a big group to do it all together and then take everyone to deliver it as well.
Pay it Forward Day
Each year I challenge my kids to a “Pay it Forward” day to show them how far random acts of kindness can go. We brainstorm as a family to come up with ways we can brighten someone’s life this holiday season, then plan a day to do so. We have done everything from donating clothing and blankets to a family whose home had just burned down to buying coffee for our post office workers, and from handing out candy canes at the local grocery store to baking a plate of cookies for our police department. You can go really big monetarily with this day, or challenge your kids to come up with ways that don’t cost anything. Have fun with it and your kids will look forward to it each year.
Thank Your First Responders
Show your appreciation for those that protect your local community. Cook a meal, bake a pie or Christmas goodies and take them down to the local firehouse or police station in person. Call ahead to find out when would be a good time and/or what kinds of things they would appreciate most. Go in together as a family and let them know how much you appreciate them.
If you and your family have volunteered in other ways, we’d love to hear about them! Please let us know in a comment.