There is no a better time of the year to teach children about the true spirit of Christmas then during the holidays. World Vision offers five great ways for parents to lead by example and teach their children the true spirit of the holidays:
- Consider do-it-yourself gifts, like no-sew fleece blankets that you can make with your children. Donate those blankets to a local homeless shelter.
- Cherish the stories of your family. Have your children talk to their grandparents and write down the stories of their past. Create a book to share with the entire family or record it online.
- As a family, select a charitable organization you’d like to support. Use online tools like Charity Navigator to find an organization that you trust. Give your children a budget and encourage them to decide how your family will donate to that organization this holiday. For example, flipping through the World Vision Gift Catalog will give children an idea of the difference they can make in other people’s lives.
- Work with your children to create a coupon book for your neighbors that might need an extra hand this year. Coupons could include shoveling their sidewalk, watching their children or providing a meal.
- Bake cookies or sweets with your children and deliver them to your local nursing home or school-in-need. Get started with this list of holiday recipes.
If you have teens then it’s equally important to show them how to give back during the holidays. Here are some great tips to teach them how to give back.
- Start with conversation. Watch the nightly news together, and take time to discuss stories that touch on people struggling with poverty, unemployment or other tragedies. Let your teen lead the discussion and listen for them to express interest or passion in a particular social issue.
- Begin to give teens a voice in family giving. Let your teen know you would like to give a charitable gift as a family to mark the holiday season, but that you’d love to let them be the final decision maker.
- Take advantage of volunteering requirements that your teen may have to fulfill at school. Offer to help your teen find an organization that fits their interest. Keep in mind that teenagers are eager for authentic, powerful experiences. They will respond best to opportunities that allow them to experience poverty firsthand.
The holiday season can be stressful, but when we help our neighbors in need, we can experience the holidays in a more meaningful way. Last year alone, World Vision’s Gift Catalog raised $32 million and provided assistance to more than 800,000 people worldwide. The Gift Catalog launched in 1996, and while a goat is still World Vision’s number one seller, there are many affordable items for $35 or less.