Giving back as a family is important all year long, and not only during the holidays. However, as Christmas, Hanukkah, Three Kings Day and so many festive celebrations approach, it’s a great moment to teach our children to help others, to be compassionate, and above all, be thankful for everything we have.
I am all too aware that our world seems to be lacking in the kindness department. As somebody who leads a public life and works in social media, mean messages seem to be amplified even more, and some revel in insulting and humiliating others. Since I cannot control what others do, I prefer to focus on concrete actions that can have a positive effect. I do believe that positivity can be contagious, just like kindness.
So, I start at home. My kids have not only seen me volunteer for different charities, they have witnessed how I lend my voice to causes I believe in. That’s why this holiday season I partnered up with Heifer International.
Do you want to join me in spreading kindness and joy this holiday season? Here are 3 simple ways that you can begin giving back as a family:
- Volunteer. Don’t make it a chore, but rather a family activity. You can cook or deliver meals for those in need, collect items your local shelter needs, or visit elderly patients in your community. Bonus? High school students earn service hours, everybody feels great about doing something concrete, and you help others.
- Choose gifts that keep on giving. There are so many gifts that empower others! Prefer items that benefit the artisans who created them or that unlock donations for reputable charities. A few companies that support artisans: Heart of Haiti, To The Market, LiveFashionable, and The Akola Project.
- Donate. Give whatever you can to those in need. A toy can bring much joy to a child, but keep in mind that a donation can actually help feed kids or an entire family. Check out Heifer International’s gift catalog s you can help empower families to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity by providing livestock, agricultural training, tools and education to small-scale farmers. In my family, since we celebrate Hanukkah, we dedicate one night to gifting those who need it the most. No amount is too small, which is something you can teach early on to any child.
Keep in mind that giving back as a family doesn’t have to be a huge project. You can start with baby steps. Have a discussion about thankfulness with your children, or ask them about what they think is a great way to help others. Make them a part of the process, so they feel ownership. My own kids feel extremely proud and empowered after we volunteer or deliver donations, to the point that they have inspired some of their friends to also be more active in our community. You never know who might be inspired to spread even more holiday cheer!
Disclosure: special thanks to Heifer International for inspiring and sponsoring this post. My family is super excited to be able to donate a goat to help another family achieve self-reliance.