The Sprit of Giving

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Joan Lunden

Food & Home / / December 16, 2014

Holiday giving1

This time of year it’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of holiday gift buying, however it's important to remember those who are not be able to buy gifts and are in need of help and compassion. As parents it is up to us to teach our children about the spirit of giving.

Each holiday season my husband and I try to instill this value in our young children and this year we are taking part in local service projects around our community, together as a family. 

If you would like to pass the sprit of giving along to your children this holiday season here are some ways to get them involved:

Donate - help your children go through their old clothes, toys, and games. After choosing the items they no longer want/need, pack a bag and help put smiles on the faces of children in need by donating these items.

Cook – baking cookies or cooking homemade dinners is a great way to get your kids to give back their time. Baking cookies for an elderly neighbor or cooking a casserole to drop off at a food bank will help your children appreciate all that they have a realize some people are less fortunate and can’t afford to feed themselves or their families.

Visit – Schedule a trip to a nursing home in your area with family - or with a group of your kids’ friends. Bring holiday decorations and lights to embellish the community with holiday cheer. Singing carols and making holiday cards will bring joy to all residents, especially the ones who spend the holidays alone.

Sponsor – churches, synagogues, other religious groups and organizations in your neighborhood can help you sponsor a family or individual during the holidays.  Once you become a sponsor, collect clothing, food, and gifts (anything your sponsored family might need) and present it to them during the holiday season.

Philanthropy – The holidays are meant to be about giving, not getting. Whether it be volunteering or making a small donation, have your children give back. This holiday season speak to your children and ask them what they are most passionate about. Then, research the issue and discuss the best way your family can help.

Most charities and non-profits could use donation year round, but the holiday season is a special time of year. If you are thinking of donating to those less fortunate (canines, other pets and wildlife included), the Salvation Army, the Wounded Warrior Project, UNICEF, Make a Wish, Toys for Tots, the ASPCA, and Saint Jude’s are some, just to name a few.

To find an organization take a look at The 50 Largest Charities in the U.S according to  If you would like to search all charities or search for an organization you have in mind, Charity Navigator can help find the perfect charity for you and your family.

Remember, pets, wildlife and endangered species, need help too. If your family chooses to help save and protect the animals in our world, find an organization by clicking HERE.

If you have trouble choosing just one charity, a terrific new website called Dollar a Day allows you to automatically donate one dollar to a new nonprofit everyday. For more information on how to sign up – visit 

It's important to remember to teach children what this time of year is truly about - altruism. Although they may be fixated on getting the most popular toy, being generous and caring towards one another will bring them a long way.

Categories: Family, Holiday
About The Author
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Joan Lunden truly exemplifies today’s modern working woman. An award-winning journalist, bestselling author, motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, one of America’s most recognized and trusted television personalities, this mom of seven continues to do it all. As host of Good Morning America for nearly two decades, Lunden brought insight to top issues for millions of Americans each day. The longest running host ever on early morning television, Lunden reported from 26 countries, covered 4 presidents and 5 Olympics and kept Americans up to date on how to care for their homes, their families and themselves.

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