“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”
– Marcus Tullius Cicero
Grow in Giving
On January 1st when you look back at the holidays, what will you be glad that you prioritized? For our family, the holidays are a time of traditions and family time, but also a wonderful time to prepare our hearts and minds for being grateful and giving back to others. Our children will of course remember visiting Santa, viewing Christmas lights and baking cookies. If we are intentional about incorporating service into our December, we can also show our children how Christmas is more about giving than receiving.
Choose one or all of these fun and meaningful ways to give back this holiday season!
12 Days of Giving
- Carry candy canes and give them out to children or someone that may need some cheer
- Make a “Backwards Christmas List”- have your child identify someone to whom you want to 1. Give a greeting card, 2. Give a treat, 3. Do something special
- Leave snacks and bottled water on your porch with a note for delivery workers to enjoy a treat, thanking them for working extra hard this time of year
- Bake or purchase cookies and deliver to places where first responders work on Christmas- hospitals, fire stations, police stations
- Offer to feed a pet or get the mail for a neighbor or friend going out of town during the holidays
- Deliver a meal to support someone going through a hard time
- Be an Elf- USPS Operation Santa helps Santa by selecting letters written by children in need so you can be an elf and mail a gift directly to a child
- Write a note of appreciation to people with great Christmas lights and decor
- Mail a holiday card to a hospitalized child or nursing home
- Food pantry advent calendar- collect a nonperishable item daily during the month of December to donate at the end of the month
- Contribute an unwrapped toy to Toys for Tots
- Make a care kit for the homeless- in a Ziploc bag, include necessities like travel size shampoo, soap, comb, etc. Kids can help stuff the bags and draw a picture to include. Donate to your local homeless shelter or give directly to someone you see in need.
After the holidays, spend time reflecting on your giving activities as a family and consider some family New Year’s Resolutions for how you want to continue serving others in 2023!
Jen Bennecke is the Founder of Growing in Giving, which is a community where families can unite in their desire to cultivate gratitude and empathy in their children by building knowledge of community issues and mobilizing into action through volunteering. Find out more about her efforts at www.growinggiving.com or on Instagram at @growingiving.
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