This weekend I posted the reason that we don’t follow the four gift rule and got a lot of negativity amongst the comments. Some seemed to think that the fact that we ‘spoil’ our kids at Christmas is creating these rotten little children that don’t know how to give back and that could not be farther from the truth.
These kids are incredible, inspire me with their graciousness and their appreciation, love and empathy for others around them. We are very generous to the kids at Christmas with gifts because as an agnostic family, well, lets face it – Santa Magic is the reason for the season.
When you’re a kid, the presents are the magic at Christmas (I know, I know, the family traditions and memories that we’re creating are important too but they’re kids – it’s all about that shiny wrap and the fact that Santa snuck in while they were sleeping to leave the gifts).
That being said, I wanted to share some of the ways that we teach our kids to give back over the holidays – maybe they will inspire you with some new ways to give back over the holiday season and I look forward to hearing some more ideas from you, the readers.
Donate Their Favorite Gift
Every year we take the kids to Toys R Us, (Target this year) where they can choose their favorite gift from all of the gifts in the kids’ section and toys. Olivia spends ages choosing this gift because there is much, much to choose from and at four, the options are endless. So, she chooses the gift and off we go to the spot in the Mall where the gift donations are being collected and we talk about the fact that somewhere out there, there is a girl, just like her, who might not have a Mom and a Dad to buy her all of the things on her list. Then, we talk about how much that this girl is going to enjoy the gift and the glowing look of pride on her face (after she gets it) is enough to make my heart sing.
We Help Fill Tummies
Not all families are fortunate to have a pantry filled with food, and she understands that as we talk about sharing and giving often (all year round). When we’re checking out we ask her to grab one of the pre packaged food bank donation bags and most recently, she wanted to add in a ‘treat’ the box of Dora snacks that she picked out on a quick trip to the grocery store.
We Help Cover Bottoms
This is something that we’ve begun to touch on now that she is starting to understand the premise of money and beginning to correlate how much things cost. On a recent trip to Sobeys, where diapers were half off I explained that diapers are expensive and sometimes, it can be hard to buy them for babies. We picked up a few extra larger sizes, the ones that are always in demand and more expensive to add in to the gift.
Donate their Gently Used Toys
This is something that I teach the kids to do all year round. When the house is starting to get filled with toys I give the kids a bag and ask Olivia to go find four things that we could give to another child that needs it, and may not have any toys. The first few times, she always chose Violet’s toys and her ‘baby’ stuff but now that she is getting older and starting to understand, she’s starting to choose more of her own.
Donate New Toys
As a blogger, we receive a lot of perks including a lot of items that are given to us in hopes that they will be featured on the blog. This means that the kids are getting to try new things, quite often, including toys throughout the year. Teaching the kids to give back means as something as simple as adding it to our ‘donate to other kids’ pile rather than giving it to our own, who are already fortunate enough to have parents able to provide for them.
New this year: Fill a ‘Santa Sac’
This is new, something that someone mentioned yesterday and I loved the idea. I will be adding it into our Christmas Eve tradition, asking the kids to choose items that are gently used and no longer played with that Santa can pick up and bring to kids that are less fortunate. This ‘Santa Sack’ is a great way to give back to local community organizations taking donations.
As the children get older, we will find more age appropriate ways for them to get involved, get back and ensure that nothing is taken for granted. I so look forward to cultivating an attitude of grace and empathy.
I firmly believe that you can be generous to your children, we are with love, time and ‘stuff’ and teach them healthy attitudes about giving back. What are some of the ways that you teach the kids to ‘give back’?