For as long as I can remember, my parents taught me the importance of giving back during the holiday season. I think that it’s important as a parent to teach your kids that Christmas isn’t just about getting presents from Santa. It’s also about giving what you can to help others. It’s easy to forget to give when you are caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas, but we need to slow down and remember. It might be hard to justify giving a toy when you can barely afford to buy your own family toys and food. The nice thing about the holidays is that there are so many ways to give. It doesn’t just have to be monetary donations. You can also volunteer your time, drop off food to the food bank, donate a gift to places like Toy Angels in Calgary or give a gift to a child who needs it through your church or school (they usually have trees with a child’s age on it that you bring a gift for). It doesn’t have to be a lot, but if everyone gives a little, then there will still be enough for those families who really need it.
Volunteering is one of my fondest memories of Christmas for as long as I can remember. I used to help at Fort McMurray’s Festival of Trees for the hospital as my dad was ‘Sparky’. The guy who did all the electrical. I started off small, helping him run chords and ‘fluffing’ christmas trees. After ten years, I was an 18 year old running around telling people who were at least 10 years older than I was where to go, what to do, and who to talk to if I couldn’t help them. I even had a name tag and a radio. That meant I was important.
I loved knowing that the work I was doing was helping the people in the hospital. It was 5 long days of hard work, and it was totally worth it. Not only was I helping, but I learned so many life lessons about following direction, leadership, and organization. If you can find an organization that you really support, they always welcome volunteers. It doesn’t have to be at Christmas, obviously you can volunteer all year long, but it definitely teaches your children the value of hard work and helping others, which is what we should be focusing on during this holiday season.
Here is a list of places you who are always looking for volunteers!
Food and Toy Donations
We can’t forget those families that really need help during Christmas so that they can give their children those special memories we strive to give our children. Donating food to the food bank and toys is a way you can get even your really young children involved. Let them pick out a toy for a little girl or boy and have them give the toy away. Explain to them that some mommy’s and daddy’s can’t give their kids presents and that is why we give them presents instead.
Also get them to help you pick out some non-perishable goods and give it to the food bank.
This is something you can get your kids involved in too. Search your house and find all that spare change lying around. Maybe get your kids to empty their piggy banks. You can drop off the donation at whatever location you want. It may be only a few dollars, but it is a lot to your child, and every little bit helps anyone in need.
Second Hand Toys
With the knowledge that your kids are getting new toys over Christmas, you may want to go through their toys with them and get them to pick gently used toys that they don’t play with anymore. The website Money Crashers has an article about places you can donate second hand toys.
Whatever you do this holiday season, be sure to remember other families in need. Even if you can’t give a lot, something is better than nothing. If we all give a little bit, whether it is our time, money, food or toys, we can help make the world a little better for those who need it.
Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!