Things To Do & Places To Serve with Your Family in Indianapolis During the Holiday Season
The holidays. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with obligations, gift-buying, party-going, and just plain surviving. We watch our kids get swept away with wanting gifts, gifts, and more gifts. One great way to push back at the constant demands is to turn the focus off ourselves and onto others. I know it’s not easy to volunteer with toddlers and young kids. If we’re being real, it’s not even easy to get out of the driveway with little ones, so the thought of adding one more thing to your “to-do list” can seem overwhelming. That is why I’ve broken down for you the easiest, most family friendly way you and your kiddos can give back this holiday season!
Write a Card, Guarantee a Smile!
Kids love stamps, stickers, and glue sticks. Three items guaranteed to make a superb holiday card! Sit down with your kids (or let the older ones work their artistic mojo on their own) and create bright, cheery holiday cards to send to people who could use a smile. Not sure where to start? Here’s a list:
- Soldiers stationed overseas always love to receive letters from home. Visit www.Redcross.org to learn about the American Red Cross’ program and how to send Holiday Mail to a Hero.
- Nursing homes or hospitals always have individuals who are unable to come home for the holidays and would love to have a little bit of extra cheer this year.
- Thank those who keep your family safe by delivering cards to the local fire stations and police departments.
If your kids aren’t sure what to say, ask them what they would want someone to tell them in a card, and see if that gets their juices flowing. Other fun ideas include having your child write his or her favorite knock -knock joke in the card or have friends come over for a “holiday card party”.
Find a local food pantry or shelter and help out
The holiday season can be especially trying for those who don’t have enough to eat, or a place to sleep. Block off a Saturday morning and give 3 or 4 hours of your time helping at a food bank, or even serving soup at a food kitchen. Watching their parents volunteer alongside them will make a big impact on your kids and create a sense of family pride.
If your kids are too young to volunteer at the facility, make a morning of going through your pantry or hitting the grocery store and picking out non-perishable items and toiletries. Make sure you bring your child go with you to deliver the goods.
Clean out those closets and toy rooms!
Give your kids the opportunity to pay it forward and donate some of their gently used clothes and toys to family shelters or coat and holiday drives. Have they moved on from the Doc McStuffins craze? Great! Donate that doctor’s kit and let a different child play doctor. If your kids grew out of their coat in a matter of months, don’t let it go to waste – find it a good home this winter!
Task your kids with picking out five toys, books, or other items that they want to give to another boy or girl in need. Talk about why they’re doing it, and how it’s important for everyone to help each other.
Find your kids passion and run with it.
Have a future pop star on your hands? Hit the streets or the nursing home in your town and go caroling! Who can resist little kids belting out “Joy to the World?” The more off-key the better!
If you have a little one who loves to bake, then the sky is the limit – Christmas cookies, homemade candies, and holiday breads. Everyone, from your pediatrician, to the librarian who makes the silly voices at story time, to your kids’ daycare teacher loves a sweet treat. Get baking! As an added bonus, let your kids decorate the packaging.
Whatever it is you decide to do this holiday season to teach your kids the power and importance of giving back, make it fun! Kids feed off your vibe, so try not to make it another chore but instead a fun family activity. As much as is practical, put the decision-making in your child’s court. Let them pick the carols to sing, toys to donate, type of cookies to make, or canned goods to purchase. Make them feel empowered, and hopefully instill a sense of giving that will last them a lifetime.
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Lindsay Blythe is the mom of a very nosy 13 month old boy, Linc, and wife to her long-time crush, JBB. Since having her son, her days are now spent as a stay-at-home mom and part-time nanny. She is constantly surprised by how much more fun – and messy – motherhood is than she expected.