This post was sponsored by the USO. All opinions are my own
During the holidays it is very easy to forget just how fortunate we are. The whirl of activity, the lavish decorations, and oh yes — the presents — take all our attention and distract us from the fact that not everyone has these holiday indulgences. It’s even harder for children to remember this.
But children even as young as two years of age can begin to learn about the importance of giving back in their communities.
Every year my family participates in at least one activity where we can give back in form or fashion. (For instance if we do an angel tree, we will normally choose 2 or 3 names off of the tree and purchase a gift for them.) This has been a tradition of ours for 5 years now, and my kids look forward to it every year.
This year my family is participating in Giving Tuesday and will be supporting the USO; this holiday season and particularly on Giving Tuesday, let’s give back to the men and women who give up so much.
What is Giving Tuesday?
Giving Tuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world.
USO Giving Tuesday
The USO’s mission is to strengthen service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. During the holidays, hundreds of thousands of service members will remain on duty, away from home; this means they are missing precious moments and favorite traditions.
In the spirit of wanting to connect service memebers and their families during the holidays, the USO asks all military supporters to join in as a Force Behind the Forces®.
The USO Wishbook helps to deliver care packages that provide comforts of home, prepare warm meals, bring entertainment tours to troops to boost morale and provide technology that enables connections to family and friends.
You can choose from sending comfort food packages to supporting the Bob Hope Legacy Program: Long Distance Bedtime Stories; which allows one recording of a service member reading a bedtime story on camera to send home to their children
Opportunities to Give Back Throughout The Holidays
Teaching your children to be charitable doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money either. There are several other options for those who wish to be charitable with little to no out-of-pocket cost.
- Donate Clothing and Toys: Goodwill is an amazing place to donate. By allowing your child(ren) to select which items they would like to donate to another child, it allows them to be actively involved in the process and adds value to the task they are doing. Doing it for them diminishes the process and doesn’t give them any incentive to enjoy it.
- Offer a Meal: If you have an elderly neighbor, or if you know a family in need of a meal, donating non-perishable food items or cooking a meal is another way to teach charity. Whether you put together a basket, cook a hot meal, or donate to a food bank, you can also use this particular opportunity to talk to your children about being thankful as well.
Doing It Right
Make giving a family affair for your children. Include them in the process of deciding how your family can give back during the holidays. It’s also important that kids know why they are doing it and not just going through the motions. Young children may not fully understand, but they will understand that they are helping (and at a young age they always want to be helpful as much as possible).
Lastly, don’t forget to make them feel appreciated for their hard work; no matter how big or small their gestures, they should know that whatever they did, it was amazing.
Does your family have a charitable holiday tradition? Share yours in the comments.
Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.