Teaching Children the importance of giving During the Holidays

Every day there are opportunities to teach our children. As parents we are constantly being watched by them and without knowing it, our actions speak to them.

A few months back we walked past a homeless man while we were shopping. The man was bundled up trying to stay warm with a small sign asking for help. We walk past homeless people every day but for some reason this man stood out. His face looked weathered and he smiled slightly wishing us a nice day as we walked by. My husband pulled out his wallet and gave me some cash to give to the man. I walked back and handed him the cash. As he took it from me and said Thank you, a small furry face peeked out of his coat. He had a kitten in his coat that he very much cared for. Instantly my heart sank and my eyes teared up. I have a soft spot for animals and children. I pet the kitten and wished them both well. Headed over to my family and went into the store. The entire time I could not stop thinking about that little face. As we cashed out with our items, I placed some cat food on the counter. My youngest asked about it as we do not have a cat. Knowing me as well as he does, my husband knew it was for the man outside with his cat.

We left the store and my family loaded up in the car. I walked over to the man and gave him the cat food. He was very happy and immediately started to feed his friend. The love and friendship I witnessed that day is something I will never forget. I returned to the car and my youngest asked “If the man has no home, why did he have a pet?” My husband’s response to her “Everyone needs a friend”. Now months later, every time we return to that store, my youngest looks for the man and his cat. We often help people who are in need and are open with our children about it. I encourage them to ask questions and share their thoughts with us. It is a great opportunity to engage in a conversion we may not normally have.

Over the years I have had the opportunity to volunteer my time to support some great programs. I always try to involve my children when doing so. Involving your children and allowing them to witness these small gestures will help create empathy. Leading by example is one way I try to teach my children the importance of giving back.

This year, like many years, we have donated toys to local charities. We have donated our time and have given cash when possible. No amount is too small. I love seeing the look on my daughter’s face when she helps other people. She enjoys knowing that her actions make a difference in someone’s life.

This holiday season you can teach your children how to support others and give during the holidays. The Red Cross has been a charity close to my heart for many years. They are often the first on scene when disaster strikes and the last to leave. Your donation gives Red Cross Canada the flexibility to rapidly respond in the most effective way to emergencies or emerging humanitarian needs at home and anywhere in the world. With  91.3 % of every dollar spent going directly towards program expenses.

This year many of us knew someone if not ourselves who were hit by extreme weather. Flooding and fires were rapid across Canada and other arts of the world. I personally witnessed how they helped many of my neighbours during the fires in British Columbia. I saw how local communities opened up their resources to help complete strangers. Housing animals, giving money and supplies as well as volunteering their time to evacuees who had to leave their homes.

It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Many years ago I started to teach my children to give during the holidays. They do not need for anything and their ‘want’ list has shrank over the years. They now help others in our community and give what they can where they can. It feels good seeing them caring about others and sharing what they have so others do not go without.

The Canadian Red Cross has some great gift ideas for teaching your children to give during the holidays. Build a survival kit for $200, or choose an individual dollar amount or a gift such as 2 blankets ($15) to help keep refugees and migrants warm. Nearly 34,000 people are forcibly displaced every day around the world. They have many options this season for your donations and best of all, Aviva will match all gifts to a maximum of 30,000 in total. (Your gift doubles in impact.)

My youngest gets $5 a week for her allowance. She is exited to buy a blanket this holiday season for someone in need with what she has saved up.

You can see all the options and make a donation today at the Canadian Red Cross


Disclosure-This post has been brought to you by the Canadian Red Cross. All opinions are my own 


  1. Sarah alexis says

    This is so important – children are our future and we need the world to fill up with caring loving thoughtful people!!! Thank you for the reminder 🙂 <3

  2. I really love that your daughter sees this in action daily from you. I know because I read and follow your Facebook posts and you are a caring giving family. Love too that the kids get excited about giving back. This was a beautiful story about the homeless man and the kitten. Thanks for sharing. I keep coming back to the blankets on the Red Cross page too and thinking that would be a superb gift. I need to buy some of those as well I think. Just because it’s such a lovely kind caring gesture to think of someone from Red Cross racing out and wrapping someone in need in a blanket.

  3. This is definitely something close to my heart! I try to teach my kiddo about giving back to others and he loves to do it now! Great post and a wonderful reminder to give back to other!

  4. This is so important. We need to always teach our children about giving back. There’s too much taking in the world. We need to raise a generation of men and women who understand how to make a better world.

  5. I love this! The holidays are always a great time to show kids the gift of giving, too.

  6. I’m a big believer of setting the right example and having your kids contribute to the overall good in society. We are so blessed and life lessons like these will stay with them for well into adulthood. Nicely done!

  7. Having your kids watch you model generosity is the best way to pass along the gift! Holiday time always seems to give us great opportunities to show our compassion for other people.

  8. Reesa Lewandowski says

    My kids are both working on giving back with their respective scout troops. It really means a lot to me for them to see this!

  9. Pam Wattenbarger says

    It is so important to teach kids the importance of giving back. It sounds like you are doing a great job modeling the giving spirit.

  10. These really are such important lessons to teach our children. And the Red Cross is such a worthy charity to support. I know personally of great work they have done here in Canada.

  11. Amy Desrosiers says

    I always try to help teach my kids to give back. I think it is so important to do so.

  12. Our girls get frustrated when all of the extended family has decided on a no gift policy. We are able to give more to strangers then.

  13. Such a great inspiring read. This is so important for kids to learn. We try to instill this in our kids.

  14. It is really important that our children learn the joy and importance of giving to others. It’s great when they can be an active part of the giving.

  15. Teaching our children the importance of giving is so important. There are so many people in the world who want for the basics in life. Giving to the Red Cross is a great idea.

  16. Reading about the homeless man and his kitten had me tearing up. Last year my oldest went around delivering hats and mitts to the homeless.

  17. lori galbraith says

    The holidays are a great time to model giving to our children and get them involved in giving. Also a good idea to do this all year round!

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