Spread the joy at Christ­mas

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - BOOK BEANS -

THE hol­i­day sea­son can be a jum­ble of ex­ces­sive con­sump­tion. And even more so for lit­tle peo­ple, who view this as an ex­tremely ex­cit­ing and spe­cial time of year.

But what does this teach our chil­dren, if they view the fes­tive sea­son purely as a time to re­ceive? That’s why us­ing Christ­mas (or the hol­i­day sea­son) as an op­por­tu­nity to teach them about giv­ing, is a much more use­ful at­ti­tude to take. Here are some ideas on how to do this:

This char­i­ta­ble gift­ing ini­tia­tive is so pop­u­lar for many rea­sons: one be­ing that’s it’s a sim­ple, ef­fec­tive way to teach your chil­dren about giv­ing to oth­ers who are less for­tu­nate than they are. You sign up on their web­site and pledge your boxes, know­ing the name, gen­der and age of the chil­dren you are gift­ing to.

You then wrap a box and fill it with quite spe­cific items in­clud­ing toi­letries, sta­tionery, sweets and a gift. You drop it off at a drop-off point and the boxes are then dis­trib­uted to the chil­dren be­fore the end of the year. From a mod­est 180 boxes in 2006, this in­cred­i­ble ini­tia­tive now dis­trib­utes over 600 000 boxes in South Africa and Namibia.

If they’re go­ing to be re­ceiv­ing new toys or books over this time, it makes sense to clear out some space in your home.

Ask your chil­dren to choose three high qual­ity toys that still work per­fectly, and donate them to a nearby chil­dren’s home. Get them to sort through their book­shelves and find good books that they can spare, and donate them to or­gan­i­sa­tions like Lit­tle Li­braries who stock up creches and day­care cen­tres around Cape Town, which are all in des­per­ate need of books.

In many homes, there is ex­cess food around dur­ing the hol­i­days. Don’t waste this food by throw­ing it out. Slice ex­tra meat and put it on sand­wiches, wrap up ex­tra cake and fill con­tain­ers with sal­ads and then dis­trib­ute these to peo­ple on the street, or neigh­bours or friends who you know are strug­gling.

Many shel­ters or churches could also dis­trib­ute this food if you’re not sure how to do it, plus you could also vol­un­teer (with your kids) to help out.

Teach­ing your chil­dren to give can be as sim­ple as en­cour­ag­ing them to make gifts for other fam­ily mem­bers. This may only work when they’re slightly older, i.e from the age of 5, but you could en­cour­age them to bake bis­cuits for their grand­mother, make a beaded neck­lace for their sis­ter or even spend their pocket money on small items.

Help them wrap up the gifts with rib­bons and pa­per, and draw pic­tures or write cards.

This will teach them how much joy there is in giv­ing, not only in re­ceiv­ing. – JBJ Re­porter

If you have any food, toi­letries, books or toys to spare, then donate them to the needy. Christ­mas is, af­ter all, a time of giv­ing. PIC­TURE: ITUME­LENG ENGLISH

Santa’s Shoe­box is a char­i­ta­ble gift­ing ini­tia­tive.PIC­TURE: AN­DREW INGRAM

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