© 2013 Catherine L Pittman
All children are born with compassion. We tutor our children to talk and help them learn to walk. We also need to provide them opportunities to give with grace.
Giving with grace is the ultimate gift of love and compassion. It cannot be bargained for and has no hidden motives. Grace lies at the heart of every true gift, embracing warmth, compassion and love to the one who gives and the one who receives.
Many believe that the need for giving to those in need is greater during the holidays. While the holiday season heightens both the need and desire to give, it is important to give with grace year round. The spirit of Christmas should bless your child’s life all year through, and it is important to involve your child in where and what they wish to give. It doesn’t have to be complicated to give. Here are twelve ways you and your child can give with grace all throughout the year.
1. Create a School Giving Box
Take your child to your local Dollar Store and allow her to select school supplies for children in need. Many local schools and shelters take school supply donations for low-income families in the area. Portland, Oregon’s Schoolhouse Supplies offers a free store and takes regular donations from local families and businesses.
2. Help Thy Neighbor All Year Through
Raking leaves for an elderly neighbor, baking homemade bread or cookies to send to our servicemen and women or delivery to a homeless shelter. Making homemade soup for an ill neighbor or friend. Bake treats and take them to a senior home. These are easy gifts for our neighbors.
3. Snuggle Blankets
What toddler do you know who isn’t attached to that special “blankie” that offers security , warmth and love? It is something that many underprivileged kids just don’t have. Place the gift of warmth with a homemade or purchase a soft blanket in the arms of needy children. Project Linus provides easy to make no-sew blanket kits.
4. Breaking Bread With Others
Arranging a food drive, serving at a homeless shelter or building food baskets for needy families is looked-for year round. Involve your child in selecting canned foods, fruit and other treats for the basket. During the holidays, decorate the gift package. Your church or school can help find families in need.
5. Bank the Change and Make a Difference
Even our loose change can make a difference! Creating a charity jar for the entire family to put their loose change in for donating to a charity.
6. Animal Pampering
Local humane societies and animal shelters are always in need of volunteers and supplies. Animals at the shelter need play time while waiting for their forever home. Make and deliver kitty toys. Buy kitty litter and kibble and let your child spend time with the animals receiving their gift.
7. Donate Used Toys and Clothing
Your local Good Will and similar organizations are always looking for gently used toys, shoes, coats and clothing. Have your child choose toys and clothing that they can pass on to these organizations. Take him with you when you drop off the gifts.
8. Make a Joyful Noise
Children love to sing. Join other parents and put on a music concert at your local school auditorium or church, with the proceeds from ticket sales being donated to a local children’s charity. During the holidays, go caroling at a local seniors home or children’s hospital. Many seniors are delighted to have young guests, particularly if they have no grandkids of their own and nothing touches the heart more than to bring a little joyful noise and a teddy bear to a child in a hospital.
9. Make a Bunch of Smiles
A handmade holiday or “just because” card with a gift of homemade cookies or bread can bring a smile to your child’s local champions, such as a teacher, local police officer, pediatrician, or school bus driver. These local heroes are an important part of your child’s life!
10. Clean-up Walk
Take a walk in your neighborhood or local playground, and pick-up the trash you see along the way. This is a great family outing that provides a service to your community and exercise too!
11. Throw a Charity Birthday Party
Birthday parties are a great time for giving to others. When hosting your child’s birthday party, ask guests to bring a new or gently used book or toy to be donated to a local charity or shelter.
12. Be a Christmas Angel
Most shopping malls have a “Christmas Angel Tree,” filled with tags that hold a child’s name, age, clothing size and special toy request. Have your child choose a tag and shop for the needy child together.
It is a parent’s job to teach their child to give cheerfully and with grace. Each of us should “give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
 Corinthians 9:7
About the Author
Catherine currently resides in Tualatin, Oregon and is the owner, songwriter and main vocalist for her children's music production company, Pitter Patter Productions (www.pitterpatterproductions.com). The company has specialized in original award-winning music for children from newborn through kindergarten since 1992. We’re living green! Our music is available for download at: CD Baby (www.cdbaby.com/artist/catherinepittman), Amazon.com), and iTunes (search Catherine Pittman). CD’s and music streams are available at http://www.pitterpatterproductions.com. Download music now!