With the Christmas season quickly approaching (sorry Halloween, you’re cool and all but no match for my enormous love of Christmas), I’ve been thinking of what values I want him to learn during this season. Of course I’m going to tell him about Santa and all but I want him to know there’s more to Christmas than receiving the latest toys. I want him to learn to really reflect on others during this time of year.
My coworker Sylvia has a niece and nephew, twins, who are about 7 or 8 years old. Every year since they were little, around Christmas time she would take them for a day and do something charitable. Usually it’s something like picking out a gift for toy mountain but this year, now that they’re older, she wants to take them volunteering somewhere, or possibly doing one of those operation shoebox things where you fill a shoebox full of goodies for a child in a developing country. She’s even tailoring the volunteering to their interests, so something sport related for Ryan and something animal related for Ava. Sylvia’s one of my “you’re awesome!” people and when I found out she does this, it made her more awesome in my books.
I’d love to start a tradition like that with Henry. Something that he can get excited about but which also teaches him about charity and selflessness. I remember as a little kid myself, going to the santa claus parade and bringing my jar of pennies and doling them out to the firemen who went by with their hats collecting for charity. It was such a good feeling being able to help out others, even if all I had was literally pennies.
This year at work, we’re providing a Christmas for a family from a local woman’s shelter. Our team did it last year (while I was on mat leave) and it was a huge success with everyone getting into the spirit and providing food, clothing and presents to a local family in need. I’m so excited to participate in it this year. I have a fair bit more than pennies to spare this time around and am happy to contribute.
I know Henry is still young to fully get behind this idea, but I’d love suggestions from others if they have some on how to teach your toddler understand helping those in need. What do you do as charity this time of year? I’d love to hear about that too…