Tuesday, December 12, 2017

How To Teach Your Kids To Give As Well As Receive

My kids have two Advent calendars this year. They each have the simple cardboard variety with the chocolates inside. For the past six years, we've also been using my rustic DIY Advent calendar. Each day, the little bags on the calendar offer up two treats, one for each child. Sometimes it's candy canes or chocolate, sometimes it's packets of gum or lip balm or hand cream.

One of my children complained early in the month that there were too many repeats in the calendar bags. I gently reminded my child that these Advent gifts were meant to be small tokens and that the recipient should demonstrate gratitude no matter what she or he might think of the gift. As a family, this got us talking about gratitude and the spirit of giving during the holiday season. My daughter came up with a wonderful idea. We should have seven days of giving prior to Christmas.

Absolutely feel free to write up a list to Santa, I told the kids (who are both teenagers, haha), but let's also think about ways of giving to others. It could be others inside our home, others in our community or others in the wider world. We came up with the idea of filling a jar or tin with slips of paper, on which are written simple ways of giving. Each day over seven days, we pick a slip of paper from the jar. (Or you could have each family member pick their own individual act of giving.)

Ideas For A Giving Jar

Here are some ideas to write on the slips in your giving jar (or tin or bowl):

  • shovel your neighbour's sidewalk
  • make cookies for a friend, school bus driver or other deserving individual
  • call a relative you haven't spoken to in a while
  • collect clothing you no longer use to give to a family shelter
  • write a thank you card for a coach, teacher or somebody else who has given of their time and talents to you
  • walk your dog or give her a bath
  • take over somebody else's chores for the day
  • collect food to deliver to your local food bank
  • order a Red Cross Holiday Survival Kit to help those in need in Canada and/or internationally; the kids can help pick the gift(s) or even contribute a small amount from their allowances or birthday money

About Red Cross Canada Gifts

Visit the Red Cross Canada gifts website to choose from gifts such as warm blankets, food and water relief, mother and baby health packs, groceries, infant care and disaster relief. There are gifts from $15 to $60, or you can donate an amount of your choice.
  • Your donation gives Red Cross Canada the flexibility to rapidly respond to emergencies or emerging humanitarian needs at home and throughout the world. 
  • 91.3 % of every dollar donated goes directly towards program expenses. 
  • Nearly 34,000 people are forcibly displaced every day around the world. 
  • Natural disasters and extreme weather destroy food and water supplies each year. A gift of $60 provides water and food for a family of five for a month.
  • You can build a full survival kit for $200.

Aviva Will Match Your Gift

Aviva Canada is matching all donations from now until Christmas (to a maximum of $30,000), so your gift will be doubled!

With all of the hustle and bustle that surrounds Christmas, sometimes we forget to be grateful for the simple pleasures we enjoy. I know I get carried away (and a bit stressed out) with my to-do list. We are extremely fortunate to have access to clean water and to be able to afford gifts and healthy food during the holiday season. 

Why Not Choose A Charity To Support As A Family?

If you haven't already, it's the perfect time to choose a charity to support as a family. With all of the good fortune that many kids (including mine) enjoy, they (like many adults) sometimes need a gentle reminder to focus on the spirit of giving. Even just having these sorts of family discussions can have a positive impact on the future. A 2013 study found that children whose parents talked to them about giving back were 20% more likely to give to charity than those from families who hadn't discussed charitable giving.

Do you have ideas for teaching your kids to give this holiday season and beyond? What ideas would you put in your giving jar? I'd love to hear them!

*This post has been sponsored by Red Cross Canada as part of a Thrifty Mom Media influencer outreach program. All opinions are authentic and my own.


  1. We have always tried to lead by example. We have also given kids money to spend when they were little, on donations. They got to chose what they donated and where. It's nice to see that they understand this is all part of life.

    1. That's such a great idea Margarita! I love that you gave them the choice to support the organizations that interested them. :)

  2. What a great gift idea!