Five ways for families to give back together

Updated Nov 22, 2017
10-minute read
I believe that love can heal, empower and transform people’s lives. That’s why I feel extremely compelled to teach my daughter what it means to show love, compassion, generosity and empathy towards others. And what better time of the year to put this into action than Christmastime?

Here are 5 ways for your family to give back this season.
1. Build an advent calendar. Instead of filling your calendar with chocolate and candies, fill it with actions that will help someone else. Some examples include things like shoveling a neighbour’s driveway, donating much needed items to a food bank or having your child set some gently used toys aside to donate.
2. Involve children in the tradition of gift giving. There’s no doubt that kids take special pleasure in writing their Christmas lists, checking them twice (and then a third, fourth and fifth time.) Why not ask them to also think about giving a special gift to a child in another country? The World Vision gift catalogue has some unique ideas, from the fuzzy and cute (i.e. goats and chicks) to the practical (i.e. warm winter clothes or rain boots.)
It’s also a great opportunity to talk about gratitude and the lives of children living in other places. To help you get the conversation started, here’s a great story about how children celebrate Christmas around the world.

Close up of wrapped Christmas gift and cup of coffee with snowman marshmallow 
3. Create a holiday-themed “generosity jar.” On a particularly chilly day, tackle a DIY craft project between sips of your hot chocolate by decorating a generosity jar for the holidays. Throughout December, encourage your children to raise money to put into the jar by doing extra chores or donating a portion of their allowance. Just before Christmas, discuss what causes are special to your family and then donate the proceeds.  
4. Volunteer at a community event. For one week leading up to Christmas, our church hosts Christmas dinners for families in need within our community. If you have older kids, why not volunteer at a community dinner outreach – it gives you a chance to lead by example and show your children that giving back is also about giving up your time to make others a priority.
5. Invite someone in. Most of us can probably think of someone we’ve been meaning to invite over. Maybe it’s a family you don’t typically hang out with. Or maybe it’s someone who doesn’t have much family around and seems kind of lonely. Now is the time to open up your home and invite that person in for a warm meal and hearty conversation.
Think about what a great example this sets for your children, who may feel more encouraged ask the new student at school to play at recess.
With files from Fifth Story.