The most wonderful time of year has finally arrived. Christmas is here with all of its frills and excitement. By now, our kiddos have scoped out the newest edition and latest versions of their favorite dolls and action figures, and they have compiled their wish lists and written their letters to Santa. And us parents – some of us have been saving all year to make our little ones’ Christmas dreams come true. We’ve been early birds and door busters at all the best sales. Everyone is counting down the days to Christmas, including me.
BUT… As my son and I indulge in every Christmas festivity possible, I also want to make sure he starts to understand the importance of giving back. He’s only 3, but it’s never too early to encourage charity and kindness, right? This year, I’m adding giving to our Christmas to-do list. If you’re wondering how to get your littles to recognize that giving is what Christmas is all about, then the following list of creative ways toddlers can give back is for you…
5 Ways Toddlers Can Give Back This Christmas
1.} Clean out the toy chest before bringing in the Christmas loot.
Explain that while he/she is fortunate enough to have lots of toys of play with, there are some children who only have a few, and some don’t have any at all. Ask your child which ones of their toys they’d like to give to the children who don’t have much. Let them choose what goes and what stays. With a little encouragement, you’ll have a box full of gently used toys to donate to a local agency.
2.} Donate those too-little pajamas.
My son was so excited to see last year’s winter pajamas after they’d been stored away all summer. There was Mickey Mouse and Paw Patrol and practically every other character that strikes the fancy of most 3-year-old boys. The Problem :: The kid has out grown every pair of PJs he owns. The Solution :: I talked to him about donating his old pajamas and showed him a few pictures from the Carter’s Sweet Dreams Program. Although I know he doesn’t fully understand, it’s another opportunity to practice giving. I also let him pick a new pair of PJs before we left the store. This one may be a new tradition for us. Carter’s encourages you to post a picture of you kiddo in their pajamas or donating their old ones using the hashtag #carterssweetdreams.
3.} Give a bag of quarters for donating to Salvation Army bell ringers.
This has become a fun little game for us. My son keeps his baggie of quarters with him, and every time we see a Salvation Army volunteer, he gets to make a donation. This is pretty cool because he feels like a big boy and gives a donation from his personal stash of quarters. It’s pretty special watching him dig around in his little pockets for quarters to help someone in need.
4.} Do a Christmas cooking craft for someone in the service industry.
This could mean cupcakes for the mailman or baking cookies for police officers. It’s important to remember these folks year-round but especially fun during the holidays. Choose a cooking craft that your little guys and gals can participate in, and then let them hand deliver the goodies to someone special.
5.} Make Christmas care packages for the homeless.
Homeless care packages can be as expensive or inexpensive as you’d like, but they make a big impact. Simply fill a gallon sized zip-lock bag with whatever items a homeless person might need during the winter months and pass them out while you’re doing your holiday shopping. Small children pick up on this kind of thing rather quickly. My son has been known to motion for someone to come over to our car because he’s seen me give food or bags before. Care packages are perfect for Christmas giving because you and your little ones can prepare them early and keep a few in your vehicle to distribute as you come across people who need them. Consider including socks, peppermints, and hand/feet warmers, and you can even have your little one write a note or draw a picture to include in each bag too.
Our little ones are watching, and their personalities are sure to soak up the sentiments we share in providing giving opportunities during the holiday season. How does your family include little ones in giving back at Christmas? Do tell!