Welcome December and welcome to the craziness that comes with this month. Between baking, shopping, cooking and traveling things can get very hectic. We all can very easily get caught up in the materialistic aspect of Christmas. And that’s ok. It’s nice to open a gift and see it’s what you have been wanting this whole time. Nothing beats seeing the excitement in our little ones’ faces when they see all the presents under the Christmas tree. Sharing our holiday traditions with our families and exchanging gifts it part of what makes Christmas so special.
It is also important to keep others in mind though. There are many people who don’t have the means to get or give gifts. Those who may not even have a special someone to share the holidays with. There are also those who spend the Holidays working hard while we are safe and warm at home enjoying the time with our loved ones. This is something I want my daughter to grow-up being aware of. I want her to appreciate the things she has and to be aware that there are others less fortunate who sometimes don’t even have the essentials.
While my daughter is still very little to understand, I believe that actions speak louder than words. If she grows up seeing us do things for others during the holidays it will become something natural for her. Something nice that we do for others and will be instilled in her as she becomes an adult. My hope is for her to be brought up with gratitude that’s not forced. I have put together a list of ways you can get the kids involved in giving back during this and every holiday season. Most of these you can actually even do all year round. Whether your kids are babies like mine or teenagers, everybody can join in and do their part. It’s never too early to learn the importance of giving back.
1. Cook a meal for others:
Cooking is a great activity to get kids involved in giving back. They will have a lot of fun while stirring, pouring, mixing, etc. All depends on how old they are and how much they can handle in the kitchen. You and your kids can make a warm meal for an elderly neighbor, a single mom, or someone you know who may be ill during the holiday season. Even a family who just had a baby and are exhausted from the duties that come from having a newborn. Or you can make it for your local firemen or police men who have to work very hard during the holidays all while putting their lives on the line. Make something simple like a lasagna or big taco bowl platter. My personal go to dish to make for others is my Sriracha Turkey Chili . It’s very easy to make since it’s a crockpot recipe and makes for a large batch. Perfect for a big crowd or large family. To make it an even more festive and complete meal bake some Christmas cookies and add them with your meal. Also more fun for the kids and you to have while baking these cookies.
2. Fill stockings for the homeless:
Filling stockings can be a lot of fun especially for the kids. Get some Christmas stockings at the dollar store and fill them with essentials for the homeless. You can add some lip balm, tissues, snacks, water bottles, fruit, gloves, scarves, socks or any other basic items they need. This is a great activity for kids of almost any age. Take them with you to purchase the items then have them help out to sort everything and fill the stockings. All while explaining to them how these are items we may take for granted but there are those whom go without these simple everyday things. Which is why we should be thankful for everything we have no matter how ordinary it may seem.
3. Adopt a family:
I have participated in Adopt A Family for many years since I been lucky enough to always work for a company who sponsored this amazing program. For those of you who may not be familiar with this cause, you adopt a family who has a wish list of gifts they will like to get. Usually these families have a large number of kids and the gifts you see on these lists are truly heartbreaking. They ask for essentials like socks, gloves, and any other clothing items. It breaks my heart because a lot of these kids are very little and to think that they are going without a warm pair of socks or gloves just makes me really sad. You and your family can participate in this great cause together and go shopping for the gifts together. It can be very eye opening and rewarding at the same time.
4. Donate clothes/toys:
Have the kids go through their clothes and/or toys that they don’t use anymore. Donate them to good will for other less privilege kids to make good use of them. This is much more rewarding than just letting them sit there or throwing them away. This will also teach kids to share and to learn from an early age that others can benefit from those toys they don’t play with anymore or clothes they don’t wear. Not to mention the fact that it will also help clear up some clutter at home.
5. Visit a nursing home:
The holidays can be very lonely for some people. Especially the elderly in nursing homes. We are very luck to have our families to share these special occasions with. Have the kids go with you to visit those who may be very lonely during this time of year. It will bring so much joy to them and probably make their day. This experience will probably make your kids have more appreciation for the elderly. Especially those in your own family.
6. Donate to a Food Bank:
This is probably the easiest activity you can do with the kids to give back. Take them to the grocery store and have them pick out some of the items on their own. If you prefer you can make a list ahead of time of canned goods you would like to donate and assign the kids their own items to pick out. It will make it fun and they’ll be excited to help out with this. Donate all the canned goods to a food bank and let the kids know what the purpose of donating this food is.
7. Make lunches for the homeless:
This is another fun kitchen activity that kids can have a lot of fun with. Make some quick and simple lunches like PB&J or ham and cheese sandwiches or chicken Caesar wraps. Pack them in paper bags along with an apple or snack bar, a water bottle or juice box, a fruit pack, or any other snacks. Have the kids help make the sandwiches, sort out all the snacks, and pack the paper bags. Hand them out to the homeless who will be very thankful to have a bite to eat.
You can pick one or two of these ideas this holiday season and try them with the kids. You can also get the kids involved in this part. Choosing what they will like to do for others. The main idea here is to bring a little Christmas spirit to those who may not have as much as we do. And if we can do this while teaching our kids how important giving back is to our society then that makes it that much better. Have a great Holiday Season and please keep those less fortunate in mind and try to give back as much as you can.