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Holiday Giving Through Volunteering

December 8, 2009

I’d like to say the economy is rosy and everything is dandy, but I would be lying.  So the holidays might not be as abundant for some of us as in the past, but there are still ways to make the holidays (no matter what faith) a little bit more about giving and less about buying. Here are some ways of giving this holiday while also giving your children opportunities to “give” too!

  • Have your child select items that they no longer use but are still in good shape to others less fortunate them themselves.
  • Spend time volunteering as a family at a soup kitchen or for organization’s like Good Fellows or the Salvation Army.  You’ll be giving your child a great gift, one you cant’ buy at a store.
  • Make a video of the family to send to relatives that you won’t be spending the holidays with.  It can be staged or impromptu but it definitely will be fun to make, and fun to watch.
  • Instead of having the holidays focus on only a few days – spread it out! Some families enjoy reading holiday stories together each night – they can be old favorites or new ones from the library.  Sharing the time together is the best gift.
  • Donating to a good cause that everyone in the family is concerned about is a great way to give back this year.  Organizations like: UNICEF help children around the world (http://www.unicef.org/), the Heifer project that provides livestock and training to impoverished people around the world(www.heifer.org), The Box Project that matches sponsor families with families in poor rural areas (www.boxproject.org), give to others in need. Or you may want to help others in our area; like the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, your local church or synagogue or temple.
  • Making gifts for family members and friends.  My son made all the relatives gifts for the holidays like hand painted plates and frosted bowls and a dog-bone covered wreath (for a beloved dog).  We always had a great time planning the project then doing it. When children can be part of the gift process, they truly understand why it’s the giving that is important.
  • Instead of dreading being a prisoner in the kitchen making dozens and dozens of cookies, organize a Cookie Exchange.  It simple!  Plan one fun activities for the kids and light snacks and everyone brings cookies! If 10 people are invited, everyone brings 10 dozen of the same cookies. When everyone leaves, they take a dozen different cookies with them. No fuss, no mess.  While everyone is together, bask in the holiday cheer, you might ever sing some holiday songs! The kids can have a blast playing or they can even decorate the cookies.   It could become a holiday tradition.

So, what are you doing this year to make the holiday fun for everyone?

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