Christmas is a wonderful time for us to show our thankfulness by giving to the ones we love. However, it can also be a great opportunity to teach children about the joy of giving to those that they don’t know—to those who are in great need but don’t have the means to provide for themselves. Providing your children with the opportunity to help others will give them a greater appreciation for the true reason for this season.
Here are 15 fantastic ideas for ways that your family can “pay it forward” this Christmas:
1. Sponsor a child through one of many giving programs. This is an awesome way to continue your giving throughout the year. Here are several noteworthy programs:
2. Collect cans of food and donate them to a local church or food bank. Feeding America provides a nationwide network of food banks.
3. Visit a local assisted-living facility for the elderly. Bring along some Christmas cookies to share. Click here to find a nursing home near you.
4. Assist your children in making blankets for Project Linus. The blankets are then donated to seriously ill children in hospitals, social-service agencies, and shelters. Check out their “Patterns/Links” page for inspiration.
5. Help your children pick out affordable toys to donate to Toys for Tots.
6. Bake cookies, pies or casseroles and take them to your local fire department, police department or hospital.
7. Pay for the meal of another family at a restaurant or leave a larger-than-normal tip for the waitress.
8. Help your children go through their toys and deliver some to a local children’s hospital.
9. Collect baby items and donate them to a local pregnancy center. Take a look at this newborn essentials checklist for some ideas.
10. Donate to children of prisoners through the Angel Tree Program.
11. Donate a care package to a service member or first responder through Operation Gratitude. A $15 donation will send a care package to a service member deployed overseas or three care kits to first responders here at home.
12. If your children are old enough, volunteer at a local soup kitchen. Try the “Soup Something” page to find where you can help.
13. Create and leave festive random holiday greeting notes on windshields.
14. Make some simple lunches (sandwich, chips and a water bottle) and deliver them to a street corner panhandler.
15. Share your skills through Catchafire—an organization that will connect you with volunteer opportunities based on your skill set and interests.
2017 is just around the corner. Consider making it a year of financial literacy for your children by teaching them the important principles of money management. Check out our award-winning money management program for kids.