Ask any child what they think Christmas is about, and there’s a pretty good chance that the word ‘gifts’ will feature somewhere in their response. And to an extent, of course, this is true – we demonstrate our love and appreciation for one another by exchanging presents. But it’s important that we appreciate the gifts for what they represent, rather than feeling that we deserve presents simply because it’s Christmas. Children are particularly prone to this mentality, and it falls to the parents to teach them the value of giving, and how to understand the concepts of charity and generosity.
We all want our kids to like the gifts they are given for Christmas – for parents, it doesn’t get much better than seeing their excited six-year-old rip off the wrapping paper, shriek with delight and then start throwing hugs at everyone in the room. For this to happen, though, it’s essential that parents impress the importance of charity, generosity and volunteer work upon their children. There are a hundred ways in which this can be achieved.
Firstly, you can bring your kids along to charity events and volunteer schemes. Common groups that organise events like these include local churches, village committees, and of course larger charities themselves. It will do your kids a world of good to witness the valuable work to which they can contribute, whether this is through helping at homeless shelters, volunteering to take care of sick or neglected animals or even something as simple as reading to the lonely residents of a care home.
Once your kids see first-hand the type of conditions in which other people have to live worldwide, they will appreciate the privilege of their own lives all the more – and suddenly that shiny Christmas present you’ve just given them will seem that much more special.
Encourage Them To Contribute
The end goal of introducing your children to the concept of charity is to instil a sense of empathy within them, that will grow and develop as they get older. You want your kids to want to help out the less fortunate, of their own volition – and this can only happen if you lead by example. Make a point of letting your children see you donating money to any charity groups you support, donating old clothes to Goodwill or Oxfam, or even something as simple as paying for a pack of charity Christmas cards. This is of particular benefit, as charity Christmas cards can really hammer home the extra importance of a ‘goodwill to all men’ attitude at Christmas.
Make sure that your children know why it is that you are giving away your material goods in this way – that you are doing it to help those in need. In time (although you should never force them) you will most likely notice that your kids are coming to you of their own free will, asking for help in donating their old toys to deprived children, or give half of their pocket money to abused animals.
Not only is this helping your children to become better people, but by giving away their older toys, they’re clearing space in their toy cupboards. This in turn makes any new gifts particularly special, as they come in to replace the old.
With so many options available to you, helping your children to become generous, charitable individuals doesn’t have to be a chore. Make a game of it to capture their attention, and have fun while you do it – but make sure that the child knows the important reasons behind these games. Lead by example, and before you know it, your little Dora the Explorer will be a regular Mother Theresa!
This guest post was contributed by Cards For Good Causes – specialists in charity Christmas cards. For more information on giving at Christmas and charity Christmas cards, you can visit the Cards For Good Causes website.