For me, Christmas is a time for giving, spending time with family, friends and celebrating life. I confess I am a big kid at Christmas, I don’t know who is more excited, my family or I! I love putting up the Christmas tree while listening to daggy Christmas music, dressing it with ornaments, tinsel and lights, putting the Christmas cards on display around the house, experimenting in the kitchen and giving gifts! I love seeing my children’s face light up as they see the presents under the tree on Christmas morning. The excitement is infectious as they dive into the presents, not knowing which one to open first. Do they open the shiny red one or look inside their Santa bag and sort through the goodies inside?
In our beautiful children’s lives Christmas is about having a photo with Santa Claus and opening presents on Christmas day. I believe as a responsible parent, I need to teach my children how to give not just receive presents. On Christmas Day we encourage our kids to give a present to someone from under the tree (including our dog!) and then they can open a present. We believe it helps to teach them the act of giving not just receiving at Christmas.
At the shops the other day I saw a wishing tree for children who otherwise would not be receiving a gift on Christmas Day. Imagine not being able to give your child a Christmas present because you have barely enough money to put food on the table, let alone buy gifts. I imagine I would be heartbroken to be in this situation, to not be able to give one present, not because I didn’t want to but because I COULDN’T. Unfortunately this is the reality for many Australian families. Luckily there are some charities that help families in this situation that we can donate a gift to.
After a bit of research here is a list of my top 5 charities to donate to this Christmas that will help teach children the art of giving. What are you waiting for – it has never been easier to give back at Christmas and teach your children about the art of giving!
The Kmart wishing tree – Salvation Army
Take the kids to Kmart and choose a nametag with a child’s name to give a gift to from the Wishing Tree. Go shopping, choose a gift and place it under the Kmart tree, or drop the gift off at the Express Drop Off point at the front of the store. You can also donate online or at any Kmart store. Gifts do not need to be purchased from Kmart.
The Smith Family Toy and Book Appeal
The Smith Family aims to help 638,000 disadvantaged children in Australia this Christmas. Donating has been made easy and you can now contribute in three ways:
- Get the kids to help choose a new toy and/or book online and purchase from the Simply Giving website. Gifts are sent directly to the Smith Family who give the present to a child in need.
- Make a donation to the Toy and Book appeal. Funds raised are used to purchase a gift for a child.
- Register to collect and buy toys and books in your community.
Go to www.thesmithfamily.com.au for more information.
Buy two ducks, a pig and a goat with Oxfam
That’s right, the cleaver people at Oxfam have found a creative and ingenious way of raising funds for specific purposes for communities in developing countries!
The kids will really get into this and it is a great way of teaching them about the needs in developing countries in a relaxed way. Why not buy a goat for a community in Mozambique or a well for a village in Sri Lanka and give it as a gift to a friend or family member?
Go to www.unwrapped.oxfam.org.au for more information.
Starlight Christmas Appeal
Become a “Starlight Wishgranter” when you fundraise or donate to the Starlight Foundation helping kids with cancer. Set up a fundraiser or donate online and help Starlight Foundation grant a once in a lifetime Starlight Wish and make a child’s dream come true!
Go to www.starlight.org.au for more information.
Barnardos Gifts for Kids
Donate a physical gift, buy a gift or donate money online and help Barnardos give presents to children who are suffering from homelessness, abuse and neglect who are in their care.
Go to www.barnardos.org.au for more information.