Christmas is the time of year when our shopping and spending extend a little more to include those less fortunate. Though many of us try to give year-round, whether it be through volunteering our time or donating used clothes and toys to a shelter or sending money to international charitable organizations, it’s often this time of year when we feel the need to give a little more. There’s something even more heart-wrenching about a hungry or homeless child at this time of feasting and family and gift-giving.
In our family, we try to teach our kids about giving back all year round. We try to impress upon them just how privileged they are to have all that they do – a family who loves them, a lovely home and neighbourhood to live in, a good school with caring teachers, lots of toys and clothes and good food to eat, extras like sports and field trips and vacations. We teach them that not all children have these things – not only the extras, but even the very basics.
We donate monthly to a children’s charity. Twice a year we cull the kids’ clothes and toys for good quality items they’ve outgrown or are willing to part with and donate them to a local women’s shelter. I volunteer my time toward a couple of non-profit community organizations, since at this point in our lives we are a little richer in time than ready cash.
At Christmas, we put together baskets to be donated to families in need – kitchen and household goods, clothes, toiletries, some food items. My sons’ soccer teams do an enormous toy drive which the boys are very involved in – we feel it’s important that the players understand just how privileged they are to get to play sports at all, and particularly for an elite team with private coaches and turf time and all the other perks that go along with it. The boys use their own money that they earn through allowances to buy gifts to go under the school tree, which are then donated to underprivileged kids.
We do our best with what we have to give what we can to those less fortunate, and we try to teach our kids how important it is to do the same.