25 answers

Good Deeds for the Holidays

I would really like some suggestions as to charity, deeds of kindness that I can involve my children in this holiday season. They are very young, but I want them to know off the bat that Christmas is about giving more than receiving. Any input will be helpful. No idea is too small.

Thanks,
A.

1 mom found this helpful

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So What Happened?™

Thank you everyone for your responses! We live in a small town where we don't often see poverty face to face. My heart was so touched by those of you who help the homeless with blankets and gift certificates and so on! This year we are going to send a postcard to the troops, bring money for the bell ringers, pick a toy for toys for tots, and donate a whole box of used toys to St. Vinny's. We also have gathered some bags of food for the food pantry. It is such a blessing to see that there are Moms out there who are teaching the next generation the true spirit of Christmas! Thanks again! God Bless and Merry Christmas!

Featured Answers

My sister adopted a family and asked the nieces and nephews(7-9 yrs old) If they would be willing to give up one of their gifts so she could buy for this other family. I think it's through the salvation Army. They will go with her to deliver the gifts prior to Christmas.

1 mom found this helpful

My lids and I make cookies, bread and pick up stockens and fill them with little candys, nail stuff, hair brushes, cross word books ect and take them to the old folks home. There are a few residents that dont have any familey so it really makes them happy to see us. My kids think it is the best because to them its just like having more grandparents to love on them. We also collect for the food bank and help put the packages together. We do this all year around. Just acouple ideas hope it helps.

Have them help with Meals on Wheels. This gives the kids a chance to meet some older people and they really enjoy seeing the little ones. Happy Holidays.

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what we did one year is made up bags with tooth brushes tooth paste comb and brush maybe some cookies soap and under arm stuff then took them down to a shelter they were a big hit this year we are taking some gifts down to the vfw children home ,i to think it inportint to show love and good will maybe pick up a dozen blankets walgreen had them 3 for 10 pr 2 fpr 10 and pass them out to the homeless there are lts of ways to help

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Wow A.,
Here's to you. I dont know what your local area is like or even how into the charity thing you want to go. Good Samartin's has a adopt a family for Christmas program or if you have a local shelter you can alway volunteer there. If nothing else there is alway the toys-for-tots program. Good luck and Merry Christmas.

J.

1 mom found this helpful

My sister adopted a family and asked the nieces and nephews(7-9 yrs old) If they would be willing to give up one of their gifts so she could buy for this other family. I think it's through the salvation Army. They will go with her to deliver the gifts prior to Christmas.

1 mom found this helpful

There has been many great suggestions. My family and I go to the local nursing home and sing Christmas carols. That might be an option, and you can see the light in their elders eyes. I would call around to your local homes there and see if that is an option. Good Luck with your selection and thank you for thinking of others this Holiday Season. J.

1 mom found this helpful

We just took our kids to buy presents that we're going to donate. We let each kid buy one present between $10.00 and $15.00 for a boy/girl their same age. They had fun doing it and really like the idea of giving to a kid that doesn't get many presents. They picked presents that they would like to have personally.

1 mom found this helpful

Your kids are the perfect age to start teaching them these kinds of things!! We give money to the Salvation Army bell ringers whenever we see them...can't be much since they are everywhere, but it adds up. Every Christmas we also make christmas treats for our neighbors and then have fun delivering them. Someone told me once that they buy a few $10 giftcards to local diners and if they see a homeless person, they give them the gift card for a warm meal instead of money. If you belong to a church, there are usually elderly shut-ins that can't get out much. They always love visits and you could take them a poinsetta or bread, etc. Have fun spreading cheer!!

1 mom found this helpful

I volunteer to ring the bell for the salvation army with my daughter. She's only 8 months old but I hope it will become a yearly tradition for us and I think people tend to donate more when they see a baby or young child there :-). We have a couple of the kettles in our mall so I don't have to worry about standing outside in the cold with her. She even gets excited now when she hears the bell ringing.
I also like to participate in the "angel tree". It is where you pick a tag off a tree with a specific child or person requesting a gift, go buy it and then return it. It doesn't have to cost much but gets them used to the idea that christmas is about giving, not just receiving.
Lastly, I think baking cookies for an elderly neighbor, or anyone who may appreciate it is fun & easy.

1 mom found this helpful

I second what Jennifer said. Usually I let my kids pick a name off the local Angel Tree and put money in the Salvation Army buckets. This year we're helping my local Moms Club provide Christmas to a dying mother and her childen. I let my kids pick out the gifts we are donating while explaining that some family are less fortunate than we are and it's always nice to help others. I don't know how much they really understand but I think if it's a tradition you follow-through with each year, then they'll eventually get the idea.

And check out letssaythanks.com You can send a postcard to a serviceman/woman for free. Your kids can pick out the card and say whatever they want.

1 mom found this helpful

Another idea I heard about on a radio program last week (although I know its not a new idea....) is that of the "Christmas Jar". Its probably too late this year to do it, but it would be a great idea for next year, and is something I want to incorporate into my family.

Basically the premise is that you find a large jar (pickle jar, whatever), and starting in January and all throughout the year, everyone in the family (kids included), empties out the change in their pockets at the end of each day into the jar. No bills, just change. Toward the holiday time, start thinking about a person or family that may benefit from such a gift, such as someone you may know through church, work, etc. Someone who may be going through a rough time. Then on Christmas eve, you take the jar to the person's house and ANONYMOUSLY leave it on their front door step, ring the doorbell, and then get out of site quickly (idea is for this to be anonymous). Or just give it to someone you don't know, but who may appear to be a worthwhile recpient for whatever reason.

The man who started this idea also wrote a fictional book about the concept (also called the Christmas Jar). I think you can read more about it and about some great personal stories people have sent in to him who have tried this in their house on the website www.christmasjars.com

Idea for next year for me for sure :)

1 mom found this helpful

A.,

Each year I go to the Hy-Vee store here in town and they have a christmas tree set up with paper ornaments hanging on it. On each ornament is the name of a local senior citizen and a gift idea for that person. It is called Be A Santa To A Senior and it is sponsored by Home Instead Senior care. I see on the ornaments I picked up that there is a web site of Homeinstead.com . Maybe if you go to that web site it might have something similar where you live that you can participate in. I am able to teach my kids that giving is important and at the same time we are making the holidays a little brighter for a senior citizen in our area that may not have gotten a gift otherwise. I hope this helps.

L.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A. ~

What a great thing to teach your children. This year I did the some things for my son (although he's only 10 months old this Christmas).

I don't know if the hospital where you work has a children's unit. Maybe you and kids (have each child pick out a toy or book) for some kids in the children's unit who won't be home in time for Christmas. Or you could do the same for toys for tots too if that's easier.

I actually donated to make a wish foundation on behalf of my son a saved the letter for his scrapbook to read when he's older.

Good Luck!
Have a safe and happy holiday!!
K.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,
It's a terrific idea to start young teaching your children about community service and awareness. There are lots of things you can do this season. I was going to suggest sending cards/gifts to soldiers in Iraq, but as your children are so young, perhaps something a little closer to home would be appropriate. If you attend church, they could put you in touch with a family that may need help this season. They could select gifts, make cards, help you bake a batch of cookies to send to the family. Toys For Tots is another great way to help. Having the kids choose gloves, hats, coats, shoes, boots for other children in need is another way.

I hope some of this helps. Good luck with this task. It's a special one!

1 mom found this helpful

Wonderful! A great national organization to check out is Heifer International (www.heifer.org). Last year we set up a family gift registry and the kids helped us pick out animals that we wanted to gift to families through the project. Some of our family members then could purchase those "for us" instead of giving gifts to us. My mom got us a goat and sent us a card she printed out from the Heifer website with a little girl holding a goat. I think we purchased a lamb, and my kids helped us pick that gift. We talked about how we were helping another family somewhere else in the world take care of their family.

There's another site that allows you to choose various non-profit organizations and set up a "gift" registry for donations to those organizations of your choice:

http://www.changingthepresent.org/

On the local front, if the kids like animals, you might want to donate to your local Humane Society or animal rescue. The kids could volunteer their time to play with the animals and walk the dogs, too, which they can do anytime of the year.

Have fun with it! ;)

Peace,
K.

1 mom found this helpful

One of my friends suggested calling the Salvation Army and volunteering to be a bell ringer.

1 mom found this helpful

Well, since your children are quite young, I think having them pick out a toy for toys for tots is great! Or contact a Foster Care agency or homless shelter to get ages of kids that are in need of gifts. When they are older and can really work, Foster agencies are always in need of volunteers at the yearly Christmas parites, and this is a great activity for the whole family to get involved with.

1 mom found this helpful

Barnes and Noble collects books for children in foster care- for holiday presents. Many of the books are around $3. Most churches have an Angel Tree- where you pick off a name and buy a gift for a particular needy child or family. We usually pick kids who are around our children's age, and have our kids pick out the presents. We also give the children money to put in the bell ringer's red bucket at most stores. I am sure there are also many programs for sending cards or cookies or something to our troops overseas, but I do not know of any specific ones. Good luck. You children are lucky to be able to learn such wonderful things.

1 mom found this helpful

ok this is so easy sweety, i do a lot with my daughter to make sure that she knows about giveing. do the angle tree, and toys for tots, both easy ways to help other and teach your kids about giveing. we do both nonthing huge but a little bit helps. we also give to food drives she gets to take some cans in for the one at school and church. the helps too and teaches about shareing what you have to help is a huge help. also if you and your family go to a church or other place of worship talk to your leaders about a tree that the people of your church decerate with gloves hats and scarfs taht are that are giveing to a local shelter or food pantery. our church also dose this, and it helps teach kids about the value of shareing warmth. teaching about giveing and shareing is 2ed nature to most just think about it and start local so your kids can see it actually working.

My lids and I make cookies, bread and pick up stockens and fill them with little candys, nail stuff, hair brushes, cross word books ect and take them to the old folks home. There are a few residents that dont have any familey so it really makes them happy to see us. My kids think it is the best because to them its just like having more grandparents to love on them. We also collect for the food bank and help put the packages together. We do this all year around. Just acouple ideas hope it helps.

Every year we make tuns of Christmas cookies for school party's, work partys, family partys, we alway make sure to drop off a plater to our local firefighters. Just something to thank them for doing their jobs and keeping us safe. You can also drop them off at police stations too.

Have them help with Meals on Wheels. This gives the kids a chance to meet some older people and they really enjoy seeing the little ones. Happy Holidays.

A.,

Every year I take my kids shopping and I give them each 10-20. depending on my budget for that year. They pick out toys that they will give to toys for tots. They have a blast and its also very educational because they can pick out one expensive game or they can pick out a few smaller toys and get more. I'm always surprised they choose to get more. They are 9,6 and 2. they older children help out the younger ones. We than take the toys to our local fire station and drop them off. I think its more personal than dropping it off in a bin at your local store. The fire fighters all make a big deal about it and to top it off they usually get to tour the station if they are not to busy. We have been doing this for years and my kids love it...

I've started this years ago w/my kids and that is I have them choose a name of a girl or boy around their age from that list in the paper (comes out right after thanksgiving) and take them shopping for the child's gift, we wrap it and deliver it as well. The older they get the more they understand. You can call salvation army and see if there is anything you can do for them?? Or find out from your childs school if there are any families in need that you could secretly put together a basket and give anonomously. I say start the traditions while they are very young so they are appreciative and want to give to others less fortunate and it can start right here in our own community! Goodluck and happy holidays.

Hi,

This may sound silly, but since your children are so young, as is my daughter, maybe taking some food/blankets/newspapers to a local animal shelter would be a good idea. I know the animals could use some extra love this time of year too. And the kids could pet the puppies or kittens, maybe even the older pets. I know my daugheter would love that, and now that I'm writing this to you, I think I'll take her! Otherwise, maybe visiting an elderly home will cheer up the people staying there. I hope this helps!

I thought I would share what we do. Each year I have taken my two children (7 & 2) to the store and let them pick out a toy or game to donate to toys for tots. We talk about how some families have a hard time during the holidays and this is how we can help them out. It is hard when they are little because they want to keep the toy but I just told them that we were giving a present to another little boy or girl and they seem to be okay with that. I even give them the money at the checkout so they can pay for thier 'gift' themselves.

Hi A.. I have always had the some concerns as you do. I noticed my kids too focused on their own gifts and they became unappreciative and were developing a sense of entitlement. They are now 6,4, and 14 months. This year we are trying something new. We discussed that Christmas was a celebration of Christ and His birth so we should give Him gifts. We talked about what kind of gifts He would want. We used scriptures to draw the link between serving others and serving the Savior. We hung up a paper Christmas tree in our kitchen and every time they do something, big or small, the serve someone else they get to put a present under the tree. I know they are still very young but I hope if I emphasize these things starting now, they will understand it better as they get older. They have seemed relaly excited so far. On Christmas morning we are going to talk about hoe the presents under Jesus' tree are more important than the ones under the rela tree. I am hoping that by doing this, they will be thinking of serving all the time, and in small ways, not just one big service project. Good luck!

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