Giving; A Holiday Tradition That Impacts All of Us

by Amy Hannold

24/7 MOMS Editor

The holiday season is a great opportunity to demonstrate to our children, the power and value of giving.  Often children surprise us in their generosity and compassion.  Parents can lead the way towards their family making an appreciated, powerful impact on their communities.


Giving does not have to cost a whole lot of money.  The process of making a homemade gift or card for any holiday emphasizes thoughtfulness and compassion.  Setting aside a portion of allowance or spending money towards a “Giving Goal” is a great way to model both delayed gratification and goal setting.


Gifts of time, treasures, or words are always needed somewhere.  Our own personal talents as individuals may improve and shine when we give to others. Children may find an interest or trait they have which we can foster as they grow – it may grow into something pertinent to their future.


How You Can Give Where You Live:


Give of Your Stockpile – Ministries and other organizations can use the abundance of (new) everyday items you may have.  Use your local telephone book or utilize Charity Navigator online to find a reputable charity near you.  This link will take you to the page where you can search by state:


Give Items You Can Get For Cheap:  Food banks often need “staple” items.  The holiday season is an affordable time to buy these items.  Using the same resources listed above for finding charities, chose one and contact them to get their “Wish List”.


Grow a Giving Fund:  Work as a family to trade a usual convenience or luxury for a savings account you accumulate to give to charity.  Show your children how we can say “No” to ourselves, on behalf of others.  When you reach your donation goal, present to your children how you are going to take that savings to the charity.


“Adopt a Family/Child for the Holidays”:  Similar to growing a “Giving Fund”, if your circumstances allow, enlist your children in adopting a family/child in need.  Visit a local “Giving Tree”/”Angel Tree” or contact a local helping organization to choose who you will shop for.  Include your child in the shopping for the gifts, paying in cash the amount you’ve saved to spend on your charitable gift.


Here is a list of charitable organizations:

Ronald McDonald House Charities Toy and Food Donation Program:


Ronald McDonald House Charities, in 52 countries, house families whose children are being cared for at hospitals.  Each house needs basic essentials, as well as comfort items such as new toys, games, and entertainment items for all ages.


Ronald McDonald House’s Pop Tab Collection Program:


Many local chapters of Ronald McDonald House Charities distribute house-shaped collection boxes for aluminum can tabs.  Local chapters of RMHC take the collected tabs to recycling centers and receive a check for the weight value of the tabs.


U.S. Marine Corp Reserve’s Toys for Tots Foundation:


“Toys for Tots” collects new, unwrapped toys in October through December and distributes them to needy children in the communities across the country. If you are in need of toys for your family, or a family you know of, you can make your request from  Groups or businesses who wish to hold a collection drive, may also contact the chairman in charge for further information.


Food Banks and Related Ministries:  Food banks are being hit hard in these times with more people in need of basic necessities. In nearly every church, there are ministries which serve the non-food needs of families.  When you’re getting great deals on food or health and non-food items, consider donating them to these helping organizations. 


Coats and “Keeping Warm” Necessities:  Shelters, churches, and other charities need donations of blankets, hats, coats, and other cold weather wear.   Go through your closets to find items you could donate.  Contact shelters and get a list of their needs.


Supporting and Encouraging Our Troops (and Their Families):

Contact your local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post, American Legion Post, or Fleet Reserve Association to find out if they are conducting a care package program.  As a family, donate some of their needed supplies.  You may be inspired to start a care package item drive at your school, church or social organization.  If you’re living near a deployed soldiers’ family, offer to babysit or include them in your holiday events.  For a list of donations you can give (reading materials, care package items, or air miles) – and the opportunity to Adopt a Soldier, visit one of these websites-be aware that mailing deadlines are coming up fast!:


Animal Shelters:  They’re In Need of a Warm n’ Fed Holiday Too!

Animal shelters near you may be in need of funds, food, toys, blankets or other supplies.  If you don’t own a pet, but love to be near cats or dogs, consider “adopting” an animal in a local shelter.  Contact your local animal shelter to find out what their needs are.


“Be a Santa” For Someone Near You:

Holidays are a time of giving – and your time as well as your items would be very welcome to someone around you.  Older adults and families may be reluctant to ask for help, but if you know of a need, find a way to help.  Offering to help someone with their errands, Christmas shopping, or simply leaving a basket of necessities at their door will brighten a holiday – and keep the spirit of giving going in your community.


Make a Difference – in Your Community, and Make it a Tradition:  Families can make a difference year-round, in the lives of their neighbors.  Working together as a family, enlisting the help of everyone and focusing on the memories you make while giving, ensures that others will be helped by our children’s children in generations to come.  Look out into your community and “adopt” a favorite organization or charity.  Challenge your friends and/or co-workers to also make “Giving Goals”.

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