The holiday season is fast approaching, with big meals, family get-togethers, bright lights and holiday gifting. As a parent, it’s often difficult to get children past their own wish list, and focused on the “giving” part of the holidays.
Here are a few ideas that you, your children, or the entire family can do to help make the season brighter for others - and teach a lesson or two in the art of doing something good.
- Send a holiday card to someone stationed overseas. Being stationed far from home during the holiday season is no picnic. Imagine getting a heartfelt message of thanks and well wishes at mail call! You can send a card to active service members, veterans and their families via the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program. Contact your local chapter for information.
- Start a PJ drive in your community. Often times when families are faced with hardships, they leave a situation with the clothes on their back and not much more. Imagine being a child in a strange place with no comforts of home. Now imagine the idea of not even having PJ’s to sleep in. That’s where Jaz’s Jammies comes in. They have all the information you need to start a pajama drive in your community.
- Commit to a day of Random Acts of Kindness. It doesn’t take much to brighten the day of a stranger. Taping a few quarters to a soda machine, helping someone empty their grocery cart (and then returning the cart for them), leaving a letter in a library book for the next reader to enjoy, or writing uplifting chalk messages on the sidewalk can be just the thing someone needs on that day.
- Visit a nursing home. Many elderly residents of nursing homes have no family or visitors for long stretches - if ever. Taking an hour to visit, perhaps bringing along a tray of cookies and a favorite book is something both the residents - and your family - will never forget.
- Find a new lunch buddy at school. Finding a new lunch buddy can be scary for kids, but imagine you’re the kid without a buddy, sitting by yourself. Encourage a “lunch buddy” day at your school where NO ONE sits alone. You might be surprised at who you meet!
Encouraging the entire family to get involved makes for a merrier and brighter season for you, as well as the recipient of your kindness. It just feels good to do good things! Have small children talk about the good feeling they have in their tummies and hearts so they recognize how giving can fulfill them even more than getting!