Holiday Helpers

We’ve all heard that the holidays are a magical time. But why leave all the magic for Santa to do; there are so many ways each one of us can create a little magic. So put your Santa hat on and think of ways you can make the world a little more magical, a little more kind. Here are some ways to start:

Help an elderly neighbor: If you know of an elderly person living on your street, help your child offer their time this holiday season. Simple things like getting their mail so they don’t have to venture out in the cold or shoveling their driveway will go a long way in brightening up someone else’s holidays.

Become Santa’s elves: Take your child to the store and have him or her choose toys and clothes, but not for themselves. Have them pick a charity and teach them the importance of giving by personally donating the items.

Make holiday cards: Make holiday cards together and take them to a kids’ hospital and a nursing home for the elderly. Better still, volunteer your time because nearly every nursing home or children’s ward at a hospital will be organizing a Christmas celebration and could do with some hands-on help.

Learning to be grateful: The holidays are a perfect time for some self-reflection. Have your kids write up some heartfelt thank-you notes for people who provide a service in the community but are often overlooked, like the garbage man and the mailman.

Be a secret Santa: Pick out some warm slippers and leave them at a few doorsteps on your street with a kind note. Especially if you know of a needy person in the neighborhood, they would love to open their door to a surprise gift left by ‘Santa’.

Remember our veterans: It’s important to remember and thank those who stay away from their own families to protect us so we can enjoy a safe holiday season. Make a care package and take it to organizations that look after military families.

Charity begins at home: The seeds of gratitude and giving are sown at home. When children feel grateful for a loving, safe and privileged home, they realize its value and spread the kindness. Involve your children in holiday budgeting, meal planning and doing chores so that they see the hard work that goes into making a family home.