For most people, the holidays are a time to gather with friends and family. To enjoy delicious meals, thoughtful gifts and the company of others. But not everyone has a pleasant holiday season. We often forget about those who don’t have loved ones to celebrate with. We’re so busy focusing on what side dish we’re going to bring to grandma’s house, or which cigar dad would like best. Our society puts a lot of emphasis on the material aspects of the holidays, so our children get bombarded with toy advertisements, we receive tons of coupons in the mail, and stores load up on eye-catching aisle displays.
So how can we teach our children about the less fortunate? It’s not that difficult. In fact, it’s important that we start exposing our children to community service as young as possible, so that they develop a spirit of giving that will carry them through life with compassion. During the holidays, there are many opportunities to show our children what the holidays are really about. Start with these 5 ideas, and your children might be inspired to give back even more!
source: What To Write In A Christmas Card
1. Send A Christmas Card To A Soldier
The holidays can be extremely lonely for those in our military who are serving overseas. Even though they are surrounded by their fellow military brothers & sisters, it’s always nice to get a letter from home. Having your child hand write a Christmas card to a soldier will lift the soldier’s spirits, and also demonstrate to your child what a big sacrifice our military makes for us.
Check with the American Red Cross and other charitable organizations to find out how/where to send a Christmas card, and check out What To Write In A Christmas Card for some tips on what to say.
source: Mommy Has To Work
2. Feed The Homeless
Getting your children to eat their veggies is a struggle. But maybe if they saw how hungry the homeless are, they would realize what a blessing it is to have vegetables to eat. There’s no better way to show your children how lucky they are to have food to eat than by letting them experience a chance to feed those who don’t always have food. Head to the homeless shelter as a family, so you’ll be setting a good example that hopefully your kids will follow.
Find more ways to get your children involved in their communities by checking out Mommy Has To Work.
source: Little Sous Chef
3. Hot Chocolate Charity Bar
If you have a little entrepreneur on your hands, they can put that business-minded spirit to work during the holidays. Have them set up a hot chocolate bar instead of a lemonade stand. They can collect money that will go to the charity of their choice. When people see children engaging in philanthropic activities, they are more likely to contribute. Let your children see how good it feels to give a monetary donation to an organization in need.
Get more great ideas that will inspire your children on Little Sous Chef.
source: Peter Howland via Huffington Post
4. Visit A Retirement Home
Nothing can put a smile on a senior’s face quite like interacting with a child. That’s why a senior living facility in Seattle started an Intergenerational Learning Center, where seniors and preschoolers spend time together. This experience has proven to be beneficial to both the children and the seniors. During the holidays, seniors can get very lonely, so having children visit them, even children they don’t know personally, can really make them feel good.
Learn more about the ways child-senior interaction helps children evolve from Huffington Post.
source: Kitsap Sun
5. Take Treats To People In Uniform
We all know that police officers like donuts. So why not pick some up and bring them a box for Christmas? Your children will think it’s so cool to talk to police officers on a personal level, and the officers will feel appreciated by your gesture. With the way officers are currently being perceived in our society, it’s important that they know how many people appreciate them.
See how one community showed their law enforcement officers appreciation, and be inspired by their story on Kitsap Sun.