While our kids may be excited to unwrap whatever is under the Christmas tree (and we can't wait to see their faces light up), it's important to teach them that this season is also one of giving.
It's very easy to get caught up in the rat race of Christmas, concerned about finding that one particular present, and we can get distracted from the holiday's true meaning.
This season is tough for the great number of people who find themselves lonely or unable to give their families the Christmas they wish they could. It's amazing to see what we can do to help brighten their holiday.
Here are just a few ideas for how to spread Christmas cheer to those in need.
1) Visit a hospice or senior living facility
Many elderly and sick people find themselves alone during the time of year that we most like to share with our loved ones. Visiting people in hospice or senior living facilities shows our children how important it is to care for those who no longer are able to do so themselves. Sometimes we forget that presence is presents enough.
You can get in touch with your local hospice or assisted living facilities and ask them if and when your family could visit.
We suggest singing Christmas carols to the residents because hey - the best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear!
2) Volunteer at a soup kitchen
While we may be excited to stuff our faces full of turkey, there are people out there who don't know where their next meal is coming from. You and your children can help fill the bellies of the homeless people and those in need this year by volunteering at a soup kitchen.
3) Donate gifts to families in need
Get in touch with a local charity to see what gifts you can get for families who can't afford the extra expense this holiday season. This is one that children get extra enthusiastic about, as they hunt for the perfect presents for others!
4) Write letters to people who need a kind word
There's something extra special about receiving a handwritten letter. We so rarely actually communicate via pen and paper it's a great treat to get actual mail.
Letters Against Depression is an amazing organization that puts you in touch with a person suffering from depression. You and your child can work on the letter together, though considering the serious subject matter this may be an activity to reserve for older kids.
As well, you can think of someone in your life who would appreciate receiving a handwritten letter. Older friends and family members, in particular, appreciate receiving mail.
5) Donate unwanted toys after Christmas
Teach your kids the importance of not wasting what they are given by donating any presents they don't want.
Another child will be very happy they did so!
6) Run (or walk) for a cause you care about
If you feel like you can brave the cold, your family can exercise AND help others by signing up for a charity running event this holiday season. There will be any number of local charity runs in your area, but here are a couple we know of to help get the wheels turning.
The Jingle Jog 2017 takes place in Surrey on December 17 this year. The 5K run aids the Frimley Health Charity Stroke Appeal at Frimley Park Hospital, and kids under 16 can enter for only £5!
The East Coast Santa Dash 5k & 2k 2017 is also on December 17 in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. The run is benefiting the East Coast Hospice. What a worthy cause.
Let's give back this Christmas!