Holiday Balance: 3 Tips to Teach Kids Generosity & Appreciation

Holiday Balance: 3 Tips to Teach Kids Generosity & Appreciation

As parents, we’re often caught between two very seemingly disparate goals — giving our kids everything they want… and teaching them to appreciate what they have. Ugh, how do you balance the two, especially at Christmas?

Well, we have a few suggestions…


  • Donate Gently Used Toys & Books. Pick a Saturday before Christmas and clear your schedule. Have a lovely, kid-inspiring breakfast, like donuts or cinnamon rolls, then get to work. Task your kids with making three piles — things they absolutely can’t bear to part with, things they no longer play with or books they no longer read (in decent enough shape that a less fortunate child might enjoy), and garbage. Not only will it clear out some of the clutter and make way for this year’s haul, but it will teach them to share, and it will give them some perspective. Yes, there are children who would actually treasure your castoffs!



  • Shop for and/or do service for others. This one pertains to giving to both family members and people in need. Get the kids to help you create a list and shop for some of the family and friends on your list. And, likewise, get them to pick an angel from an angel tree and shop for the gifts, or join you in delivering food to a food bank or participating in a service project. Key to each of these is discussing the goal — to do something nice for someone else, and how good that feels. This might start them on the path to truly understanding the concept that it is better to give than receive.



  • Adopt the four gift rule. This concept has gained popularity over the last few years, because it’s a good one — but a challenge to those of us (me, included!) who have gotten caught up in the excess of Christmas. The goal is to restrict the gifts to… one item your child wants, one they need, one they can wear, and one they’ll read. It’s quality over quantity, right?


If you’re looking for worthy charities and organizations that could use your donations and service hours, please revisit our GRATEFUL GIVING blog post.