It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas carols blare from the car radio and throughout the stores, houses are decorated with an array of Christmas lights, large inflatable snowmen fill the yard, and the smell of Christmas baking takes over our homes.
With the anticipation of the jolly man in the red suit arriving, Children have already been thinking long and hard about what they want to put on their Christmas list, dreaming of Christmas morning.
Many people find more joy in giving gifts than they do receive them, while children on the other hand cannot wait to see what they receive from the North Pole. And yet you wonder, how can I teach my children the importance of the true meaning of Christmas? The best way to learn is by doing, and there are several ways that families can share love, kindness, and hope with others.
There are several charities in communities that depend on donations to survive, reaching out during the Christmas season. It’s a great opportunity to remind ourselves that there are others going through hard times and could use a helping hand.
Food banks – Go through your cupboards as a family to choose non-perishable items. You will be pleasantly surprised by involving the family how quick children are to give up their snacks for other children who are without. Ask your local food bank which food items they are most in need of, and if you don’t have them and can afford them, go as a family to the store to buy them.
It is a well-known fact that food banks do well with monetary donations as they are able to buy wholesale and receive discounts, stretching the money even further. So if you have the means, slipping them a little cash with your non-perishable items helps them even more.
Shelters – Homeless shelters and women’s shelters are always in need of warm
clothing for men, women, and children, especially in the cold winter months. Have the family go through their clothes and pick a couple of items they can do without, as well as any winter coats, boots, and gloves they may have outgrown.
Have the family make up little bags with kleenex, toothbrush and toothpaste, lotion and chapstick for dry hands and lips, a warm pair of socks and scarf, and whatever else you choose. Then pack the family in the car and hand them out to anyone living on the streets.
Toy Drives – Salvation Army organizes angel trees, while many businesses hold a toy drive, ensuring families who can’t afford Christmas presents will still have something under the tree for their child to wake up to on Christmas morning! This is a fun activity as a family, as which kid doesn’t enjoy shopping for new toys!? There is no one better at picking out a present for a kid than another kid!
Food hampers – Gather the family to decide on all the trimmings needed for a Christmas feast. Make a list, buy all the ingredients, decorate the food hamper and pile the family in the car to drop it off. There is no greater feeling of the Christmas spirit.
Volunteering is a selfless way that we can make a difference in someone else’s life, through an organization, or by random acts of kindness such as shoveling a senior’s walk for them.
Soup Kitchen – With the rush of Christmas and extra get-togethers, events, and holiday travel, soup kitchens sometimes find a lack of volunteers at this time of year. The kitchen is the heart of the home, so a great way to connect with your family is by getting together and volunteering your time at a soup kitchen.
Seniors – If you are fortunate enough to spend time with grandparents at Christmas, consider the elderly in our community are living alone, widowed, or far away from their families. With icy roads and arthritis hitting hard in the cold winter, many seniors do not get out much. Make some cards and treats as a family, and deliver little care packages to a local senior apartment, but be sure to spend time visiting, as that is what will fill their bucket!
Giving up some of our personal time for someone else is one of the greatest gifts we can give. With the world demanding so much of us, time is something that we often feel short on. However, giving some of it up to help others in need is rewarding in so many ways, and puts the meaning of hope back into Christmas. When we take care of each other, the world becomes a better place! Let’s remember and teach our kids the true meaning of Christmas.
Enjoy giving back this Christmas season!
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