Everyone knows that Christmas is not just about getting gifts, eating great food and spending time with family. Down deep, most people realize that it’s not about the gifts but about the thought behind the giving. But how do we teach the next generation of kids the spirit of giving? Here are a few ideas to teach kids the spirit of giving that won’t cost you a fortune but may ultimately be the best gifts you can give.
How to Teach Kids the Spirit of Giving
Don’t give Kids everything they want.
Let the kids make their Dear Santa list. Encourage them to dream big and share the things they would love to have. Then go back through the list and talk about why they want these things. Is it because the commercials on TV are pushing these items? Do they really think they are as cool as the actors on TV say they are? Help them prioritize the items on their wish list so they can see that some things are not as important as others.
Attach a Dollar Amount to their Wish List
Once the kids have made their list and prioritized their items, help them go through and write down an estimated dollar amount beside each gift. Then talk about how much money this whole list would cost. Sure, parents can find sales and discounts, but kids need to understand that money doesn’t grow on trees. If you are teaching about Santa, then now may be the time to start helping them understand that even Santa can’t provide some gifts that are too expensive.
Make a 2nd List
Now that the kids have decided what they want for themselves, have them make a 2nd list of the things they want to give and do for others.
Ideas for Kids and Giving:
- Help make cookies
- Draw a picture and mail to someone serving in the military.
- Take a card or gift to an older relative
- Visit a nursing home
- Go caroling
- Shop for a toy drive
- Do an Angel Tree Donation
- Give loose change to the Salvation Army bell ringer
- (For older kids) Help serve a meal at a local food bank/shelter
Give Toys to Santa
I heard about one family who had their young children go through their toy box in the weeks leading up to Christmas. They used this time to clean out the toys that were no longer being played with. The toys were then put in a big box or bag with a bow and note to Santa.
Thank you for the new gifts you are bringing this year. Here are some of the things we no longer need so we are sharing them with you to give to some other kids!
This served several purposes. It helped the kids clean out their toy room while they also learned the important concept that you can’t keep everything. If you don’t teach about Santa, then you could have them donate the toys to the local thrift store instead.
Write Thank You Notes
If a person takes the time to give you a gift, it is imperative that you find time to say thanks! Teach your kids when they are young to say thank you with a personal handwritten note. If the child is too young to write a full note, it may simply be your note with them coloring a thank you picture.
Christmas is not all about getting for yourselves. It’s important that we take the time to teach our children the spirit of giving while they are young. How do you plan to help your children give back this holiday season? I’d love to hear!