A message popped up on my Facebook this morning, letting me know a friend is asking for donation’s for her children’s school in celebration of Giving Tuesday. I personally don’t wait for an official holiday to do my charitable giving, but I do use the holiday season to teach my son the importance of helping others.
I’m very particular about who I donate to. I want to make sure my money is actually going to help the intended individuals. Here are a few of my favorite holiday charities that I currently give to or have given to in the past.
Salvation Army Angel Tree
One of my favorite holiday charities is the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree. This was a holiday tradition in my household growing up, and we now participate every year with Lil’ Man.
If you are unfamiliar with the Angel Tree, volunteers set up a tree in participating malls and hang ornaments on the tree that contain the child’s age, clothing sizes, and wish list items. We always purchase the child a coat, a shirt, and pants as well as one item from his/her wish list. While I make the ultimate decision regarding clothing, Lil’ Man is the one who is in charge of shopping for the child.
I like this charity because I decide how my money is being used and donate the physical items (I always include a gift receipt for clothing). I also like that it helps me teach Lil’ Man to show kindness to others, and that Christmas is not about receiving gifts, but giving to others.
Toys for Tots
With Toys for Tots you may choose to make a monetary donation or drop off new, unwrapped toys to participating locations. In the past, I have had Lil’ Man pick out the toy and drop it in the bin at a participating business. My husband told me how proud the Marines he works with are of this program. Their hallway at work was overflowing with toys by December of last year.
Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive
As a librarian, this charity is on my must-do list. Most years, the book drives I have donated to at Barnes & Noble have collected books for children’s hospitals. Each store collects books for a different charitable organization. Know that the book you donate will go to a child in need. For example, the book I donated this year will be given to a child battling cancer at Walter Reed Military Medical Center.
Blankets for the Local Animal Shelter
It’s cold this time of year, and the animals at the local shelter need to stay warm too! I take advantage of the holiday sales at my local fabric store to purchase deeply discounted fleece fabric. Last year we made fifteen no-sew fleece blankets of various sizes for our local animal shelter.
This is a great family project, and even our cats got involved by overseeing quality control. If you are interested in this project, you can find directions for no-sew blankets here. At four-years-old, Lil’ Man could tie a few knots before his fingers got tired. Older children should have no problem completing this project.
Of course there are many other great charities out there that we give to year-round, but the four discussed here make it easy for us to have Lil’ Man involved in the process. Also, charitable giving doesn’t have to be monetary. This former classroom teacher can attest to how valuable a volunteer’s time is!