With so many messages bombarding us to hit the stores and buy, buy, buy, it can be hard to re-focus on a deeper meaning of the holiday season. One way to tune out the noise of consumerism is to get involved in giving back to others through community service or philanthropy.
The holiday season is the perfect time to "shop" for a worthwhile cause that suits your family. Whether it's adopting an animal at your local zoo or aquarium, sponsoring a child in a developing country, rounding up canned goods for charity or visiting a senior center, you don't have to look far to find meaningful ways to show genuine charity.
The holidays can be a stressful time for children as well as parents. There's so much going on. The expectations are high. And Santa is making his list and checking it twice! Slowing down and connecting with others in the community is a great way to bring some normalcy to the season.
As surprising as it may seem to parents who are keeping track of their kids' ever-expanding holiday wish lists, children get a huge kick out of giving--they just need to be introduced to the habit by an adult who has experienced the joy of giving and wants to pass it along. It's contagious!
There are so many benefits for children who are socially conscious. KidsHealth lists these perks:
You can feel confident about being generous when you research charities in advance through Charity Navigator. The site ranks non-profits on a variety of things including how much of your donation goes to provide goods or services and how much is spent on overhead. To get ideas for family friendly volunteering, check out this e-book from Volunteer Spot.
This time next year that must-have gift of the season will be long forgotten but the values and memories made by getting involved in giving back will last a lifetime.
Image credit: insideakronchildrens.org
Contributed by Danyelle, Fairmont Private Schools