Holidays for children generally revolve around getting presents. Unfortunately, sometimes the focus on getting over giving leads to “gimme” attitudes and disappointment, leaving kids cranky and parents exhausted. We’ve noticed an awesome trend of families trying out creative methods of charitable holiday gifts with their kids during the holiday season.
The Two for One Approach
If your kids normally make a list for Christmas, this year have them make two shorter ones—one for themselves and one for children whose families can’t afford to buy presents. Take them with you to the store and have them help pick out toys to give away, maybe to Angel Tree, which helps people in prison “give” their children gifts during the holiday season, or the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation which collects gifts for children who come from economically disadvantaged families. This makes the holiday season bright for these children while helping your kids to embrace a spirit of generosity.
Out with the Old, in with the New
This strategy helps children to be involved in giving without feeling overly deprived of their normal holiday routine. For every present they receive, they choose one of their older toys or stuffed animals they no longer play with to give away. They can even write a Christmas or holiday card for the child who will benefit from their old toy! Many charities run toy drives during this season, or you can use the Zealous Good site to donate.
Presents with a Purpose
For families with older kids, take a portion of the money that would have been spent on presents and have them help you select a charity to donate to! There are many organizations that allow you to buy “gifts” in the name of family members or friends that go towards clean water projects, paying school fees for disadvantaged children, and buying farm animals for families in developing countries. Check out World Vision’s gift guide, CareGifts, the Oxfam shop or other similar organizations. These gifts change their recipients’ lives and show your children how to be generous givers!
Lauren Anderson is a 2013 fall project management intern at Zealous Good, an in-kind donations marketplace in Chicago. You can find Lauren on Google+ or Zealous Good on Facebook and Zealous Good on Twitter at @ZealousGood.