The holidays are an especially wonderful time to teach kids about giving and serving others. Learning that "giving" goes beyond buying presents for loved ones and really means helping those in need can be an especially eye-opening experience for children. Even better, doing something to help others as a family can bring your family closer together and allows your children to see you modeling the behavior as well. We have 7 ways your family can serve others this holiday season all the while you spend quality time together as a family.
1. Bake Something Sweet For Those Who Serve Your Community
Who doesn’t love baking during the holidays? This is an activity the whole family can get involved with (and have fun with!) Take a day to bake some cookies and deliver them to your local fire station, police station, hospital, senior center or somewhere similar. If you are able, consider making your delivery day on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, when employees working away from their families will be especially appreciative.
2. Prepare a Meal and Deliver It to a Friend In Need
Do you have a friend that you know will be alone during the holidays, or a friend who you know could use some extra support and love during this holiday season? Prepare a meal for them with your family and deliver it to together as well. This is a great activity for the family to do together, and even the youngest kiddos can get involved by making cards.
3. Leave a Hand-made Christmas Card In Your Mailbox for the Mail Carrier
The holidays are an extremely busy time for mail carriers. Giving them a special treat such as a hand-made Christmas card is a great way to cheer up their extremely busy days during the holidays. Have your family get creative and come up with something that will brighten your mail carrier’s day (maybe even include a little baked treat for an extra special touch!) Our mail carriers do so much for us all year long, but especially during the holidays they work extra hard to deliver all of our mail and packages. This is also a great time to talk to your kids about the importance of noticing when someone does a job well and complimenting them on their hard work.
4. Donate Books to Your Local Library
Encourage your kids to sit down and go through the books they no longer read as much as they used to, or those that they have outgrown. Once you have compiled a stack of books, donate them to your local library. This is a great family activity because it also allows you to go down memory lane and reminisce on your kid’s favorite books all while helping others in your community have access to books.
5. Go Caroling at a Local Nursing Home
Nursing home residents are often very lonely during the holidays. Take the opportunity to show your kids the meaning of providing company and joy to those who don’t have many loved ones around them during the holidays by taking them to a nursing home and sing carols to the residents.
6. Make Wreaths for Your Neighbors
There are so many cool native plants in Santa Cruz that can be used for wreaths, and kids love scavenging for things to decorate with. Pinecones, redwood branches, those red Pyrocantha berries, succulents - you can make a wreath out of just about anything!
7. Volunteer to Babysit
As a family, offer to babysit for a couple who has small children so that they can have the opportunity to go on a date during the holidays.
Whatever you decide to do, remember that the most valuable gift any of us can give is the gift of time. Spending time with your family will create memories and provide valuable opportunities for teaching moments.