The gift of giving


The holiday season is upon us and receiving is all the buzz. Santa fills the minds of young children, dreaming about what toys might be under their Christmas tree on Christmas morning.

Black Friday kicks off the buying season, as parents race around from store to store for the greatest deals in hopes of finding just the right gift for their children. From an early age we are taught to say thank you when receiving gifts from others, even if it’s “just clothes”, but are we taught “The Gift of Giving” with the same enthusiasm? In many cases, we are not.

Giving, starts with a conversation. Children who are raised in an environment where their daily needs are met, and Santa is expected to deliver presents Christmas Eve, need an opportunity to learn there are children in this world who do not know when they will have their next meal. To those same children, Santa is an illusion and only delivers presents to lucky children whose parents do not have to choose between heat or presents. The conversation might be difficult, yet important.

There are great ideas to rejuvenate the gift of giving in young children. First, if money is tight, donate your time. Donate time to the local food pantry, homeless shelter, and/or Salvation Army’s bell ringing. If time is tight, donating non-perishable food items is a great conversation starter about food disparity in your community. In addition to food, many places, especially women’s shelters need necessities like toothbrushes, hairbrushes, shampoo/conditioner, toothpaste, diapers, wipes…etc. Lastly, if capable, allowing your child to shop for a child the exact same age as them for Christmas. This time can be spent explaining how this gift might be the only present a child receives for Christmas and to know it was picked with love is everything.

In closing, children are naturally kind, and this is an opportunity to instill the value of giving. Giving does not have to be expensive but it must be mindful. Children are always watching the adults in their lives, let this Holiday season be an example of the world we want to live in by allowing our children to help their neighbors.

Aysha Koszla

Northern Lights YMCA childcare director


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