Encourage your child to weed through her ever-growing toy collection and make a pile of toys she no longer uses to donate to less fortunate kids. Explain the process of donating and how it benefits others who are not as lucky as she is. It doesn't hurt to remind your child that clearing out old toys makes room for the new ones on Santa's sleigh, but it's more important to hit home the message of doing good for others without the material incentive.
Giving back doesn't have to mean dragging your toddlers to a homeless shelter to serve hot meals to the hungry. Think about the people in your life that do good for your family (teachers, local police officers/firefighters, doctors, etc.), and talk to your child about doing something nice to thank them for their hard work in the community. A handmade card or a plate of homemade cookies is a small gesture of giving back that will send an important message to your child about giving thanks. It will also bring big smiles to the faces of your town's local heroes.
No shopping mall is complete during the holiday season without a Salvation Army bell ringer collecting spare change or a Christmas Angel Tree filled with tags completed with an underprivileged child's name, age, clothing size and toy request. Choose a tag together with your child, then enjoy shopping for that child with your own child.
If personally know any military personnel, help your child come up with a personal way to give thanks for his/her service to our country. Or seek out an organization such as Give 2 the Troops to find out how to donate needed items for military over seas or send cards/care packages.
What young kid do you know that isn't attached to a blankie or a lovey? That special item may get taken for granted every now and then, but when push comes to shove, that lovey provides your child with something very important -- security. And that's something that many underprivileged kids just don't have... in any form. Project Linus aims to put a warm, homemade blankie into the arms of every child in need via its many chapters in every state across the country. The site offers many downloadable pattern ideas, including a no-sew one for easy-peasy (and kid-friendly!) blanket making.
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