It is in giving, which one receives. This is one of my favorite concepts that I strive to infuse into my daily life and something I hope to pass onto my children. Giving is something that needs to be taught, mirrored, and celebrated as a family. The holiday season presents a great opportunity to instill a sense of philanthropic spirit in yourself and your family. I find this to be especially important as at times children can tend to get caught up in the “receiving” of the holiday season. Each year I try to create a balance of receiving and giving during a time in which we should reflect about everything we are thankful for.
Teaching your family about giving during the holidays isn’t always easy. It can be a busy and overwhelming time of the year. Remember that there are three types of ways to give back – through time, talent, and treasure. People give in many different ways and anyway of giving is equally important.
Below are some easy ideas to help instill a sense a philanthropic spirit in your children.
Lend a Helping Hand.
Volunteering is a great way to get out and spend time together as a family. There are so many ways to volunteer if you just seek them out. With kids, make sure to find an organization that creates both a safe and educational environment for your family. My favorite places to volunteer are the Humane Society and the Local Library.
Warming hearts and hands.
It can be chilly during the winter months. For this activity set up a hot chocolate station at a homeless shelter, a public school, or a library. Prepare warm hot chocolate and give out a pair of hand warmers to anyone needing some extra warmth.
Send a Smile.
People love getting mail. Actual mail delivered through the age old postal service. Take time to sit down with your kids and have them write letters. My favorite place to send letters during the holidays is to the military, to children’s hospitals, and to assisted living homes.
Host a Toy Clean Out.
Set aside one day where your kids can go through their toys and pick special ones to be donated. Give them to a local day care, a children’s center, or goodwill.
Host a Giving Party.
Have your family host a holiday themed party where admission is 2- 3 canned food items. During the party have children decorate cookies that can be donated to the local police or fire station.
Get up and Go!
There are several community walk/run fundraisers going on throughout the month of December. Bundle up and get your family active. The following races are held in Fairfield County in December.
- December 2: Jingle Belle Run – Westport
- December 17: Holiday 5K Run for Toys – Fairfield
- December 23: Santa Run – New Canaan
This is just a small list of things that you can do with your kids. The best thing that you can do is lead by example all year long. Talk to you children about non-profit organizations that have made an impact on you and why it is important to support those. There are both local and national non-profit organizations that you can educate others about.
My favorite local non-profit organization is Sandy Hook Promise. They work to prevent gun related deaths due to crime, suicide, and accidental discharge. Being a resident of Newtown, this one is near and dear to my heart.
Nationally, I am a proud supporter of many non-profit organizations including St. Jude, The JED Foundation, and Project Lead the Way. Recently I have invested a lot of time into learning about, supporting, and promoting the One Love Foundation, headquartered in Westchester County, NY. It is the goal of the One Love Foundation to honor Yeardley Love by bringing an end to relationship violence by educating, empowering and activating campus communities in a movement for change.
As a result, no matter what ways you decide to give or volunteer your time, treasure, and talent will be valued. What you do – no matter how big or small – always makes a difference. Take some time this holiday season to teach your children and families the ways that they can make an impact and spread some extra holiday cheer.