Thanksgiving: How to Cultivate the Giving Spirit in Yourself and Your Children

Mom's Talk columnist Lisa Schwartz concentrates on giving this holiday season and how to pass the giving spirit on to children.


I give thanks for the simple things during Thanksgiving, like my family, my health, my home and my job. However, in addition to being thankful for what I have, I also use this time of the year to think about giving to others.

I don’t mean the type of giving that consists of hitting up a Black Friday sale at midnight or waking up at the crack of dawn to get a great deal on this year’s hottest items, though I know that is exciting for many. I’d rather sleep in.

What I'm talking about is giving to those less fortunate, which doesn’t always mean monetary giving.

No matter how bad you have it, there’s usually somebody else who has it worse, so I believe we all should take the time to give this season. Here are a few suggestions.

1. Donate.

Whether that is going through your closet and donating a used coat to a local coat drive, donating other clothing, donating food from your pantry to a local soup kitchen or supporting a local diaper drive, there are simple ways to clean and clear out your closet or pantry while helping others.

2. Give of yourself.

Go visit a lonely elderly friend at a nursing home. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.  Offer to babysit for an hour or two for a stressed out friend. Call somebody that you know needs a pick-me-up. The only thing you spend while doing this is time! Too busy to give up time now? What about a New Year’s Resolution?

3. Motivate.

Join or get involved with an organization that focuses on giving back to others in your community. You’ll be surprised at how great this will make you feel and you never know who you might meet there. Maybe your next employer? A new friend? A future spouse?

Cultivating the Giving Spirit In Our Children

In addition to not spending money, a benefit to giving is that you can also easily involve your kids in these endeavors.

Most of us would love for our kids to grow up thinking of and caring for others. They say kids learn by example, so even if they aren’t participating, let them come along.

Thanksgiving. Be thankful. Be giving. You’ll only find more to be thankful for.


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