Dreading all the gifts you’ll receive this holiday season that are probably just going to collect dust on a shelf? Why not start a new tradition with your family and friends while also teaching your children the importance and joy of giving?
* Donate money to a cause. Instead of spending your money on gifts for each other, pick a charity or organization that you all believe in and donate the money to them. This time of year, shelters for both people and animals could use an increase in donations as the weather becomes colder.
* Go through your old clothes and toys and pick what to donate. Your children will be getting many new toys this holiday season. Go through their older clothes and toys with them to pick out items that they no longer use. Anything that is still in good shape and has all its pieces can be donated to a family in need through local organizations.
* Donate gifts to kids in need. Bring the kids shopping for gifts for each other as well as for kids and families in need. Many organizations and churches take part in giving trees each holiday season. Pick a child from the tree and take your child to shop for him. Tell your child how lucky he is to have a home, toys and clothes while other children aren’t as fortunate. You can wrap the gifts together and make a party out of it.
* Donate time at or participate in a fundraiser. Instead of donating money or items, you and your family can give your time and talents this season. Volunteer to work at a fundraising event, a shelter or a soup kitchen and teach your children the importance of helping others.
* Pick a cause and hold a holiday fundraiser. You can really get into the spirit of giving by picking an organization and holding a holiday party fundraiser for it. Wine and cheese parties are popular, but if you want to include your kids try a bowling party or family fun day.
* Give the gift of hope for families of children with special needs. This one is particularly close to my heart as we work to find a cure for cystic fibrosis and my daughter, Maggie. Choose an organization working to find a cure for childhood conditions or one that is researching new treatments to help children with special needs. Every dollar counts on the path to curing childhood cancers, cystic fibrosis, and a variety of genetic diseases effecting children. You can also donate toys to children who will be spending the holidays at the hospital this year, and while you’re at it, help hand them out on Christmas as well.