With thoughts of exchanging gifts and the mass consumerism during this time of the year, it can be easy to forget about a big part of the holidays: tis the season to give back! It’s the perfect time for giving back and supporting the community that you live in. This is a great time and opportunity to lead by example and show your children how to get involved.
There are so many possibilities for giving back during this holiday season. Here are some of our favorite ways.
We really identify with this particular way of giving back. Here at Fine Choice Foods, we believe in giving to our community and donate our products to worthy causes in our area year round.
Take a look at what you have on hand in your pantry. With your children, decide which items would contribute to a healthy meal. This is an opportunity to discuss the food groups as determined by Health Canada and how different items can come together to create a healthy meal.
The same thing can be done while in the grocery store. Pick out healthy non-perishable items to donate. If you have an older child, you can even set a budget and with your child put together a basket full of healthy foods, bringing in lessons about money management as well as what it means to eat healthy.
Enlist the help of your children to sort and box up your donation. Bring them along to the donation point so they can see where the food is going. Discuss with your kids the importance of helping the people in your community.
Alternatively, you can organize a food drive. Encourage your neighbors, those on your street block or apartment building to join in and contribute what they have.
One of our team members had this experience to share:
“I had the opportunity one year to volunteer at a local food bank through my work and it really made me realize how much those food donations helped. Every donation, no matter big or small, contributed to another person or family. Seeing the faces of the people coming to receive their food was one of the most gratifying experiences and made me want to include this in our family traditions each year. It also made me reflect on the types of food to donate. We used to rummage through our cupboards looking for those odd ball items that we never ate to donate. It has given me a whole new approach to donating food and now I consciously donate trying to take into consideration that the food I donate should contribute to a balanced meal for the recipient.”
Go shopping with your children and pick out gifts to be donated. Or you can take a look at your child’s current toy box by asking them to pick out a gently used toy to be donated. Discuss with your child about which ones they don’t play with and can give to another child to love and care for. Parting with a toy can be particularly difficult, but this is a great opportunity for discussion.
While you’re at it, you can organize your child’s closet and give away any clothing that doesn’t fit or has been unworn for more than one year.
One of our team members had this experience to share:
“Each year as Christmas rolls around, when we shop for gifts for the children of our friends or relatives, we encourage our kids to pick out a gift each so that it may be donated to a little girl or boy at our local mall toy drive. We also encourage our kids to choose 3 toys each that they haven’t played with for a long time and donate it. The rationale of Santa bringing new ones to them at Christmas usually does the trick!”
Choose charitable gifts
Buying gifts and giving back to your community doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. There are plenty of gift options that are eco-friendly or benefit your community. Discuss with your children what the gifts mean and how they help the environment or society. Alternatively you can make a donation to a cause that the individual is passionate about.
The holidays can be a lonely time for some, especially those who have recently lost a loved one or don’t have any relatives in town. Reach out to these individuals by inviting them out for coffee or lunch. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, invite them over for Christmas dinner if you’re hosting.
Or alternatively you can reach out to senior homes in your community. One of our team members has this experience to share:
“My brother and I grew up playing the violin and every holiday season for as long as I can remember, we would go local senior or assisted living homes to play. Along with a few of our friends who played other instruments, we formed a chamber group and played the holiday classics. Everyone needs a little bit of Christmas cheer around this time of year and it is so rewarding to be able to share in the joy of live music. The best part is when they hear a familiar carol and decide to sing along.”
For a more hands on activity, donate your time to a local charity – they are always looking for more volunteers around this time of the year. Find ones that are willing to have your kids volunteer as well and make it a family activity.
Keep it up the rest of the year
Following this holiday season, continue the habit of giving back and being involved in your community throughout the year. Try to do something monthly with your children – it makes a great weekend activity and gives opportunity to reflect during the whole year, instead of only during the holidays.
What are you doing this holiday season to give back?