Giving back is a great way to spread holiday cheer and warm a few cold hearts. But let’s be honest, giving back is not a completely selfless act — you get something out of it too. A recent study (reported on by Newdream.org) suggested that those who volunteer, even in small doses, “experienced feelings of efficiency and competence.” It in turn provided people with the sense that a lot could be accomplished even in a limited amount of time.
As the holiday nears, people are more likely to seek out those feelings of efficiency, because the holidays can be a little overwhelming. Subsequently, it’s a great time to get your kids involved with community and do-gooder projects. It’s never to early to learn the importance of goodwill and helping others, nor to show your your kids how doing for others can fill them with a sense of pride they will never forget.
But where do you start? Here are six quick and easy ways to give back during the holidays that you and the kids will love being a part of.
1. THE TOY TURNOVER:
If your family celebrates Christmas, or any other gift-giving occasion this month, you know that the toys can pile up in a blink of an eye. Family, friends, and even you, are guilty of spoiling your precious ones this time of year. This time, take the opportunity to teach your kids about giving, too. The best part is, you get a clean closet out of it. Have your children go through their old toys, book, and clothes and make decisions about what they have outgrown. That way, the old can be donated to those in need before the new rolls in.
2. SEND SPARKLY SMILES:
Arts and crafts are the highlight of any kid’s day. Making greeting cards is one of the most exciting parts because, buried within the chaos of holiday prep, it’s the one thing you can do with your child that doesn’t feel like work. All over the world there are children who are not in good health and cold really use some happy mail. Services such as Hugs and Hope and Send Kids the World can help connect you to one of these children, so you and your little one can make them a special hand-made greeting card.
3. COLLECT FOR OTHERS:
Braving the grocery stores and markets this close to the holidays is already an accomplishment, imagine how much more fulfilled you and your child will be if you shopped for the hungry, too. The easiest way to go about collecting food for those in need is to grab an extra can here and there while you shop. Instead of simply dropping the food off at the food drive or shelter, you can even bring your child to help sort cans. Alternatively, have your child help you organize your own food or clothing drive this time of year.
4. WARM UP THE WINTER:
Blankets are in high demand during the holidays, especially in colder regions. Pick up some fabric and sit down with the kids to make blankies for those who are not fortunate enough to stay warm this winter. It’s simple, cut up the fabric to create a fringe on the edge (arts scissors will allow you to get even more creative). The blankets can be dropped off at homeless shelters, or even animal shelters. The activity will be fun, but will also remind youngsters to appreciate what they have, and be willing to share it.
5. HEAD TO A GIVING-TREE:
You may have seen giving-trees in public areas or local malls. These are trees with Christmas wishes hidden in them from families in need. If you haven;t the resources to spend extra money this year, consider having your little ones buy giving-tree gifts in place of your own or other family members. It’s an interactive way to get kids thinking about the purpose of gifts. Many wishes on the tree will be of the necessity variety, so evryone can feel good about it. Can;t find a giving-tree? Visit theboxproject.org.
6. CHRISTMAS FOR CATS AND DOGS:
Unsure what to do with old household items and clothes? There are many online resources for how to make them into nifty pet toys that can be brought by animal shelters anytime. Since most kids are enthused and intrigued by animals, it’s always a very exciting ordeal for them to do anything pet-related. It is a powerful and effective way to nurture that adorable desire to take care of things smaller than themselves.