Sharing in the Spirit of Giving This Holiday Season

Ashley B | November 13, 2012 | 27 Comments

It’s the time of year when all of us sit back and count our blessings. Most of us also look for ways to share some of our “extra” with others who are not as fortunate as we are. It can be difficult for children to understand this type of giving, however: your kids might not be at the stage where they can empathize with those living in less favorable conditions. During the holiday season, there are a lot of organizations and special events taking place that your family can participate in in order to share in the spirit of giving. Of course, there are also a lot of opportunities throughout the year that don’t stop during the winter months. Here are some ways that you might be able to get your kids involved in age-appropriate ways:

  • Buy gifts for an angel. The Salvation Army and other charities often put up Angel Trees this time of year. Most of the time, it’s a Christmas tree with paper angel ornaments. Each “angel” bears the first name (or identification code) and age of a child who might not otherwise receive holiday gifts. Each year, I have my kids choose an angel, and we buy gifts for that child. Most of the time, they look for kids of their own age and sex, which really sends the message home that there are children just like them who won’t be waking up to a pile of gifts under the Christmas tree this year.
  • Fill stockings for the needy. This is another drive put on by various charities, but you can do it on your own, as well. Fill stockings with necessities for homeless children and adults, or perhaps for the elderly living in nursing homes. Some examples might be small toys, hairbrushes, toothbrushes, decks of cards, warm socks, hand lotion, hair accessories, pens and pencils, snacks like packages of crackers or granola bars, $5 gift certificates to the grocery store, etc. Bring the filled stockings to your local homeless coalition, battered women’s shelter or other community center that helps the needy.
  • Provide a poor family in another country with a hand up. One of my kids’ favorite charities in Heifer International. What this organization does is give livestock to families in developing countries and teach the people how to properly care for them. These animals allow the families to breed them for money or food, as well as sell (and use) any resulting wool, eggs or milk. This organization can help bring families, as well as entire communities, out of poverty.

Of course, your family can also participate in various drives for collecting food and funds for the poor in your area. Drop off donations at a food shelter, or donate to your local church; most places of worship have a box where community members and congregants can drop off non-perishable foods to be distributed to families who need them. Your child’s school might also be a donation point; ask his teacher for more information.

Are there any special ways that you and your family help the needy during the holidays, or throughout the year?

Comments (27)

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  1. Kelly R. says:

    Very nice post and great tips for ways to share some of our blessings with the less fortunate.

  2. Darlene Ysaguirre says:

    Love this post its always great to give to the less fortunate but especially around the holidays

  3. Dorothy Boucher says:

    Awsome information, i love it, i think its wonderful to give a little where you can, As a mother and a grandmother, i am very blessed, broke but rich ; ) i think the last time i went shopping for myself was probably 5 or 6 yrs ago, i try to do my best not only with giving to my family but to others, I could not see myself walking outside knowing my stomach is full , i have boots on my feet n a coat to keep me warm with out giving it to someone else…….. God has taught me a lot

  4. Amy Peschel says:

    I raised my children to appreciate what they do have and help out those they can who need help, less fortunate.

  5. Devona Fryer says:

    Thanks for sharing this post with us! Helps remind us to give back to those less fortunate this holiday season.

  6. ANN*H says:

    These are some great idea for donating or helping the less fortunate through out the coming holiday season. Our town has a donate used, good clean coats program. Its not just for the kids , adults can get a coat , hats or gloves sometimes too. I never throw any clothing out I always pass it on to someone else who would like it. Todays economy is hard but spend a few dollar and get some can good for a needy family. It is better to give as much as we can.

  7. Rebecca Sinclair says:

    Great ideas. My family is doing this – giving each of the kids a 10 dollar gift card and letting them pick out a toy for a needy child. Thanks for all the great ideas!

  8. Jo says:

    Nice to see the Christmas spirit lives on.

  9. Dorothy Boucher says:

    i don’t have much but i could not see myself sitting at a table eating knowing i did nothing to make sure someone else was able to do the same, i think if more people gave we wouldn’t have such hunger in our country.. if your not wearing your old coats or boots give them to someone who can wear them, anyway i share maybe not enough but i try…

  10. Lisa Schweizer says:

    My son and I volunteer for The ALS Association, by brother passed away last year from this incurable disease and we do all that e can to help

  11. lisa lo says:

    I hate always being the less fortunate.
    I sign up every year for the free dinner to take home with you.
    It is always needed and always apprecated.

  12. Chris says:

    Agreed, need to help others.

  13. it’s the best way to get in the spirit

  14. kimberly owens says:

    Love this post. I hope I can direct my children as they grow older to share with the less fortunate. I do and will continue to as much as I can

  15. emily barngrover says:

    I am trying to teach my girls first hand about helping people in need! They honestly enjoy every minute we help someone else!! GOD BLESS

  16. Jennifer Mae Hiles says:

    Thank you so much for the list. There have been times in my life when I had the money to give but wasn’t quite sure the best way to do it. I’d be very interested in checking out Heifer International. It sounds like a great charity.

  17. Debra Givens Wagner says:

    This season is all about giving and helping others

  18. Becky Davis says:

    You don’t know how much it means to people to be given help during the holidays to make sure the kids have a good Christmas. I was one of those at one time.

  19. Thank you so much for this post. It definitely makes me want to help those in need, sadly right now I can’t do that but next year I more than likely will give to those in need. Again, thank you for the ideas!

  20. amanda roach says:

    this is the number one thing we teach our kids

  21. Karen Glatt says:

    I always help out the Salvation Army with what I can. I am on a limited income, but I find ways to donate to the kettle drive each year. It is important to try to do what we can for the needy at Christmas time.

  22. Julie Wood says:

    I always try to help in any way I can during the Christmas season. I have a lot of family and friends that I help with, especially I make sure that some of the kids get a present.

  23. Robin O says:

    These are great ideas. We donate new, unwrapped toys to Toys for Tots so kids in need will have gifts on Christmas. Whatever way you choose, it’s so important to give back!!!

  24. ANN*H says:

    Lots of nice ideas you give here in your post. There are so many places to give to or to donate time to around the holidays and all year rounds. It actually does feel good to give instead of receiving at times. To help someone else that needs it even if its just a smile and a hi how are you doing today may make someones day alittle brighter. After all we never know when we may be done and out just like them – it happens

  25. Arlene Whitfield says:

    Great ideas to help those in need!

  26. Carol L says:

    Love this post. I think it’s so important to teach our children kindness in giving to others when they are young. When my own 7 were younger we would always go to the mall and pick out an Angel from their Angel Tree and they had a ball shopping for said item and wrapping it on their own.Thanks for all the great ideas on how to help.
    Carol L

  27. Chrystal D says:

    I try to donate my time throughout the year. It makes you appreciate things more!

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