Parenting Win of the Week: The Importance of Giving Back

It’s easy to lose sight of the holiday. Here's how you and your family can do more this season.

Female volunteers preparing Christmas gifts for poor people

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Female volunteers preparing Christmas gifts for poor people

Photo by: Vladimir Vladimirov

Vladimir Vladimirov

The holiday season can be magical in so many ways, but it can also be a time where there is just too much going on. Too many presents, too many sweet treats, and too many parties. I am not going all "Ba Humbug," but sometimes, it gets to be a lot. And in that overindulgence and overstimulation, it can be hard to remember that there are MANY others who have an experience nowhere near that.

We celebrate Hanukkah, and although it is nice to spread the holiday out over eight days, it can also make for eight days of what’s coming next and sometimes gifts that we don’t need.

My kids are old enough to start understanding more about those in need, so I make it a priority to teach them about giving back. We have always been philanthropic (and there are so many great ways to involve your kids when they are young), but now there are lessons in it. Sure, we have taken stuff to the food pantry this year, donated clothes we have outgrown to Goodwill and did a Toys for Tots drive, but this year we are planning to put in more time.

Today, we are volunteering at a place called Fill A Heart for Kids, a local organization that gives back to foster children and makes sure they have a holiday like everyone else. We volunteered a few years ago to make Valentine’s Day cards and baskets. They do an amazing job of putting together both necessary supplies and wish list items. We are going to be a part of their elves workshop to put together stockings for at-risk and foster children.

We have been chatting about what it means to be a foster kid as well.

So, will they fully grasp the magnitude of it all or just have fun stuffing stockings with their friends? The truth is, I am not really sure. But I do know that we are fortunate and the more I can work with them while they are young, the more they may be apt to give back in the future — and that to me is a win.

If you have the time or means this holiday season to volunteer or donate, please do!

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