7 Ways for Kids to Give Back this Christmas
The festive season is a magical time of family gatherings, plentiful food and of presents. It’s also the perfect opportunity to develop your child’s social conscience: a time for giving as well as receiving. Take some time to talk about those people who are less fortunate and how it’s important to share our own good fortune whenever possible. There are many ways we can give back to our communities, even as children, and charity doesn’t have to mean large financial donations. Help your little ones to spread some love during the season of goodwill with these small acts of kindness:
Visit elderly friends or relatives
Lot’s of old people find themselves alone over Christmas so why not give the gift of your time and company. Visit an elderly relative, neighbour or friend and make their day. Little helpers can offer to cook them a meal, play a game, or deliver some groceries. If you don’t know any lonely seniors then there are plenty of organisations such as Contact The Elderly who will help you to make a connection.
Bake treats for rescue dogs
Animal rescue centres are always in need of food for the many dogs they care for. It can be expensive to buy dog food from the shops so homemade doggy treats are a wonderful alternative. Prepare some tasty treats for the furry friends at your local dog shelter using this simple recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
Explore the idea of earning and giving
Assign some household tasks to your children in return for a small amount of money. Explain that them half of their reward will be donated half to a charity of their choice. This is a fantastic way to introduce the concepts of sharing, selfless giving, charity and also earning money through work. Kids could use the Internet, under parental supervision, to research which charity they would like to give their money too.
Have a clear out
Sort through your wardrobes and collect old books, clothes and toys that the family no longer uses. Take a family trip to deliver your donations to a local charity shop or drop off point. Children can somehow find it hard to part with old toys even if they don’t play with them anymore. Remind them how their unused possessions will be able to help other people who are sick or needy.
Answer the door with cookies
Pass on some Christmas cheer to everyone who knocks at your door! This is a particularly busy time of year for postal staff and delivery drivers so why not greet them with a smile and a cookie? These Santa star cookies by Red Ted Art are fun and simple to make. The best bit is this good deed doubles up as an enjoyable (and yummy) family activity too!
Fill a shoebox
A shoebox filled with goodies is gesture of Christmas goodwill that you can prepare for throughout the year. Collect all of your sturdy shoeboxes, and if you have difficulty getting your hands on one try asking at a local shoe shop. There are so many great crafts that use shoeboxes so always keep your spare ones! Kids can use their pocket money to buy items to fill the box and think carefully about what the recipient might need. Link to Hope collects shoebox presents for struggling families and the elderly in Eastern Europe, and Support Our Soldiers sends their shoebox donations to soldiers on the frontline.
Post a letter
Sometimes the seemingly smallest gestures can be the most meaningful. Receiving a letter can be a big boost of morale for somebody isolated, lonely or unwell. There are some non-profit organisations that will send your heartfelt letters to people who need a little sunshine in their lives. More Love Letters runs a '12 Days of Love Letter Writing' campaign every December, and Silver Line will match you up with an elderly pen pal with which to exchange friendship letters. Alternatively your tots could pen a letter to surprise long-distance friends and relatives.