The holidays are approaching fast! It is a time when traditions are carried on as family and friends gather to celebrate the love the holidays bring. We decorate our homes, make our grandmother’s sugar cookies and gift our children, family, and friends. It’s simply the most wonderful time of year!
If you are like me, you don’t want your children to believe that the holidays are all about receiving gifts from Santa. There is so much more to Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa . While we all celebrate differently, I believe the one thing we can all agree on is we want to raise children that are thoughtful and caring people. We want our children to spread their love and joy to others and the only way we can raise children to have these character traits is to lead through example.
I started brainstorming ways we can spread our love to others without simply writing a check. Physically helping others is important to me because I get to experience the goodness through my actions. It uplifts my spirits and makes me feel good! Plus, my son has no concept of money, but he does understand a helping hand. But most importantly, when our children witness us helping others, they too learn to help others.
Here is a list of ideas for you and your family to spread love and joy this holiday season:
Christmas Caroling: Gather friends and family from church, school, or the neighborhood and spread the joy of the season through singing. One place to consider is a local children’s hospital or nursing home. Seeing the smiles this brings is the best feeling ever!
Make Cards: Our children love to be crafty. Gather around the kitchen table and make cards for children and adults in the hospital.
Decorate Paper Grocery Bags: My classroom did this for Valentines Day one year and it was so cute. I contacted the manager of a local grocery store and we colored and decorated the bags so when guests received their groceries they had something to warm their hearts on Valentines Day. I am sure a snowman or reindeer would brighten anyone’s day this holiday season!
Hand out Candy-canes: Children love to give and this is one way to share the joy of the holiday season. Buy a few boxes of candy canes and pass them out to strangers as you do your grocery shopping or shop at the mall.
Donate a Toy: Many organizations are collecting new toys for children in need.
Canned Food Drive: Collect cans for local food drives. One family I know collected peanut butter and jelly for families in need.
Collect Hats, Mittens and Gloves: Many different organizations will collect hats, mittens and gloves. Help them out and collect these from your family members and neighbors.
Soup Kitchens: As a family spend a Sunday afternoon working at a local soup kitchen.
Rake Leaves for the Sick or Elderly: The leaves are falling and many need your help. Pitch in and help your neighbors.
Shovel Snow: Once the leaves fall, the snow will soon fall too! Grab your shovel and help a neighbor.
Pay it Forward: Buy coffee for a stranger. It will make anyone’s day!
Make, Decorate and Deliver Cookies: Make cookies as a family and deliver them to neighbors. Who doesn’t love the door bell to ring and cookies being delivered?
Collect Dog Food and Toys: Don’t forget about your local animal shelters. They too are in need of some help. They are always accepting donated toys, food and supplies to care for the animals.
Bottle Drive: Organize a bottle drive and use the money to donate to an organization that is important to you or your family.
Can you help me add to this list? What are some ways your family spreads love and joy during the holidays?