5 ways to show your kids how to give back

christmas giving

We all know what excites kids about Christmas – the presents. The anticipation of waking up to a tree full of wrapped goodies on Christmas morning is enough to send any child into and excited frenzy, but  there is more to Christmas than receiving gifts from Santa.

Christmas is also about giving and giving back. As adults we understand the good feelings and satisfaction that comes with the experience of giving someone a gift. We also know the importance of helping those less fortunate and thinking of those who may wake up to an empty tree on Christmas morning, or no tree at all. And so as parents, it is our job to teach our children about the other part of Christmas – the giving.

Here are five ways to get your kids involved in understanding the true meaning of giving at Christmas time.

1. Buy a gift for the K-Mart wishing tree.
K-Mart has been running the Wishing Tree appeal in conjunction with the Salvation Army for 26 years and last year received 450,000 donated gifts for people in need. It is a simple way that you can involve your child in the spirit of giving. Simply choose a gift tag off the tree which specifies the gender and age of recipient and help your child choose and purchase a suitable gift. Then place your gift, wrapped or unwrapped, with the tag attached under the wishing tree in store. Gifts do not need to be purchased from K-Mart and they can even be handmade.

2. Visit a nursing home or children’s hospital
For those who are not able to spend Christmas at home this time of year can be a very sad time. For many of our elderly citizens in nursing homes, their families may not be around and the days can be long and lonely. Why not take your child along with a painting they have done and visit someone who may not have any visitors this Christmas. The joy on their faces will warm everyone’s hearts, including your child’s, and it is something so simple. You may find a trip to your local children’s ward is another option for older children.

3. Donate to a charity
The Salvation Army, the Red Cross and other local charity groups are always looking for donations and at Christmas time even more so. Why not have a good clean out before Christmas and donate any clothing, blankets, toys and books in good order to your favourite charity. Many are also after donations of food and food hampers for those less fortunate at Christmas time.

4. Help out at a Charity event on Christmas Day
It may be a local event, at a soup kitchen or carevan but why not volunteer an hour of your time on Christmas day to help serve others who may be homeless or without a meal on Christmas day? The simple fact of taking an hour out of your day to help bring a smile to someone’s face is the true meaning of giving.

5. Anonymous Giving
Why not give something to someone anonymously. It may be the homeless person you walk past each morning on your way to work, your elderly neighbour who has no family around, or an anonymous donation to a family who you know is doing it tough this year. It can be anything from a donation of food, money, a gift or voucher or even something as simply as a hand made card letting them know that someone does care.

Teaching our kids about giving at Christmas time is such an important thing to do. After all, they will be the adults of the world one day soon and the ones who will make a difference.

How do you teach your kids to give back at Christmas?

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Jodi is a freelance writer, self-published business author, blogger and aspiring novelist. She also juggles being a wife and mother to four girls. You can read her blog here, or follow her on Twitter @jfgibsonwriter

{photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc}

  • LydiaCLee

    I have to play devils advocate – we give to an orphanage at xmas, but the kids don’t really take an interest, because there is no impact on them. They may see it, and be there for the delivery, but I don’t think they learn anything from it. The volunteering however, would have a greater lesson in it.
    Nice post.

    • http://www.jfgibson.com.au/ Jodi Gibson

      They probably get more out of it than you think Lydia. :)

  • Alicia-OneMotherHen

    Teaching them about giving at this time of year without the pretence of receiving anything but a good feeling that they made someone else happy is a wonderful lesson.

    • http://www.jfgibson.com.au/ Jodi Gibson

      Absolutely Alicia.

  • http://www.threequartersfull.com/ Three Quarters Full

    This year was the first year we got D involved with the KMart wishing tree and he wasn’t quite old enough to get the concept (not yet 4) but we picked out presents for a little boy and a little girl who don’t get any presents and he helped wrap them before we put them there. I think it’s so important that at this consumer-crazy time of year he spends some time thinking about others even if he is to young to understand why!

    • http://www.jfgibson.com.au/ Jodi Gibson

      It’s a wonderful start and I’m sure in years to come he will understand.

  • http://samanthastone.com.au/ Sam Stone

    These are great ideas Jodi! This year we have started giving to a charity. This year we chose The Indigenous Literacy Foundation. Hoping next year that we can sponsor two kids through World Vision.

  • http://mumstakefive.blogspot.com/ MumsTakeFive

    Excellent post :) This year we left a couple of gifts at the Kmart wishing tree and we spent alot of time making a parcel full of tree ornaments and wrapped little gifts and pictures and some nibbles and tea. We sent it to my Nan the kids great nan in her nursing home for her and her friends. Apparently we are very popular this year :) x merry christmas to you and family x

  • Samantha Turnbull

    Lovely ideas – it was my birthday recently and I received a card that said I’d given a bundle of books to a girl in southeast Asia – it was awesome. I think I’m going to take up your tip of giving an anonymous present or two this year.

  • Vicki @ Knocked Up and Abroad

    I think this is so important. We always give presents to charity and this year I got my 3 year old to choose things to go in them and he also delivered them with me. It’s so imperative to teach them young.

  • http://mylittlesunshinehouse.com/ Zanni Louise

    I really loved this post Jodi. Reading a number of posts today, I am touched how thoughtful and aware people are. You might be forgiven for not seeing that as you walk through the local mall – thousands of people zipping about buying so much stuff. THIS – what you are writing about – is exactly what it should be about. Thank you so much for linking up with Sunshine Sundays at My Little Sunshine House, and have a wonderful holiday. x

  • Stephanie Jefferson

    A great list of thoughtful ideas Jodi. My little guy and I shopped to put together a box of things for another child this year. It was a good thing to teach him to be generous to others.