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The Joy of Giving: 5 Ways to Give with the Whole Family
11/30/2018 12:36:58 PM
Joy of Giving

Each year, we are teased earlier and earlier of the impending holiday season. Then suddenly, time flies, and we find ourselves right in the middle of the hustle and bustle. Creating a signature family tradition of giving is not only fun, but it can be calming and deeply fulfilling. Carve out some family time to brainstorm ideas or adopt one or more of the ideas below and make them your own. 

Write a Reverse Christmas List. The holiday season is custom-made for list making. For children, those lists usually include the gifts they wish to receive. Instead, encourage your kids to make a "reverse Christmas list” after they’ve penned a list of their own wishes. A reverse Christmas list includes things they’d like to GIVE to others this holiday, whether the recipients are family, friends, or gifts for those less fortunate than them.

The Yard Un-Sale. Begin by choosing a date for your "un-sale.” You may want to recruit your neighbors or friends to participate. Collect several empty boxes and mark each box with the name of a room in your home that you wish to de-clutter. Don’t forget to include the garage and attic. Inventory each room and pack anything you no longer wish to keep. Make sure each item is in "givable” condition. On the day of your yard "un-sale,” organize the items by category. If you live in an area frequented by people walking their dog, add a water station to encourage dog walkers to stop by. Enjoy the day meeting people. Watch as your customers smile when they realize that everything at your yard "un-sale” is FREE!
Create a Family Giving Advent. Fill twelve of your advent calendar slots as usual with simple treats or small gifts. Fill the other twelve with notes describing a single act of giving. For example: "Give five heartfelt compliments today.”  Or "Give your turn to someone else today.” Or attach a $5 or $10 bill to a note asking that it be used to treat someone else. Once you have filled all twelve slots, tear an ordinary sheet of paper into twenty-four squares and mark them from 1-24. Fold and place the numbered paper into a bowl. Take turns with your family selecting numbers until you have gone through all the folded paper. The numbers on the papers you draw correspond to dates on the Giving Advent calendar. With this advent calendar, your family can experience the joy of both receiving and giving.

Adopt a volunteer. Millions of people volunteer for various organizations all year. During the holiday season, many of those volunteers are a bit more visible. You may see them outside stores ringing bells. Others will spend time delivering food to the elderly. Some will devote extended hours in hospitals, and others will give care in animal shelters. This year, why not adopt a volunteer? Create a holiday box filled with treats, magazines, and other goodies to thank them for their time. Pop in on the local animal shelter with treats for volunteers, as well as the animals in their care. Offer a hot beverage to volunteers working outside in the cold. Your kindness is sure to be appreciated by people accustomed to giving!

Random Acts of Kindness. This can be practiced any time of the year, but the holidays are a perfect time to get started. Encourage your children to look for opportunities to give back randomly and anonymously, and model these acts for them. It could be a simple gesture such as buying a coffee or a fast food meal for the person in line behind you. Often, people who witness this type of giving follow suit. 
The holidays are filled with so many gifts. The gift of giving is one gift to truly cherish. It is the only gift that gives back with dividends. This year, make lasting memories with your family while paying it forward and watch as the real magic of the season unfolds before you.

Simone Mets is the author of Very Christmas.
Posted by: Simone Mets | Submit comment | Tell a friend

Categories: Parenting  |  Relationships

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