Give Back

Doing things for others is one of the best ways to feel good. Every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I asked my boys to choose a charity that THEY would make a donation to during this season. Yes, I said them not me. They would earn allowance throughout the year, and they would have to set aside 10% of their allowance to go to the charity of their choice. Yes, at times, like around February,  they would mumble when they would have to do chores and knowing that a percent of their allowance would go to someone else, but I would remind them on how good they felt giving a gift to someone who didn’t expect anything, ( as parents we would always match their amount at the end of the year so they could contribute a little more.)

My son, Addison always gave to the ASPCA, he loved it when it came time to donate his money, he would call the local ASPCA and ask them what they needed, then we went shopping for the animals in the shelter. On the day he delivered his gifts, the ASPCA would allow him to take a dog bone, or cookies, whatever he bought that year and allow him to go around to each cage and feed them a treat. ( *Special Note: Before you do this call the office first, some ASPCA’s have restrictions on what to feed the animals.) I still get goosebumps when I remember how important and proud he felt offering these treats to the animals. It still makes me cry, I am so proud. He would then share his story with his friends and family the entire holiday season, believe me its a gift that keeps on giving long after the treats are gone. To this day, he still makes a donation and volunteers occasionally at a shelter.

As a family we always “Adopted a Family” during this time, this was set up through our town, to help other families enjoy their holiday too.  I would go to City Hall, and they would select a family for us to buy presents and food for during the Holiday season. My children and I would would head to the store and buy the things our “adopted family”  list. Usually it was things like, athletic shoes, clothes, basketball, small things like that. The parents usually asked for table cloths, pillows, bed linens, and food.

Think about others this season, if you don’t have money to donate  perhaps you can use your talents or gifts in other ways. There are always ways to use your gifts for good. For example, grow a garden and donate some of the produce to a local homeless shelter. Or donate your time to build a website for a small non-profit. your children can draw Christmas Cards to give to your local Senior Center. Be creative.

[rad-hl] Let me know how your family gives to others during this season and beyond, so we can share your ideas with other families. [/rad-hl]