Adopting Charitable Ways Can Begin with a Holiday

My daugher’s birthday is Dec. 25 — yep that’s right. Thanks to the wonderful Dr. Dean, some amazing nurses working on a holiday and mothenature, we received the best Christmas present possible about five years ago in the birth of our daughter, Maggie.

As the phrase goes, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” So, although Maggie only is five, we use the dual Christmas and birthday as a time to be thankful for what we have, but also as a time to think about those that don’t have as much. Does she need double the amount of gifts just because the two event coincide? No. As a parent of course you want your child to wake up to a mound of presents under the tree, but is that really what the holiday season is all about?

Since 2006 I’ve told my husband not to buy me a gift — he’ll never be able to compete with what I received that year. What I really want is for another mother who may need a little help to be able to give her son or daughter a nice holiday.

Our family participated in Adopt-A-Family this year and Maggie went with me to Target to buy presents for another little girl. Maggie asked me her name, how old she is, what she likes to play and what she likes to eat. Maggie choose a Rapunzel doll, a princess backpack, markers and some coloring books, along with some clothes. She kept eyeballing the doll but never said a word. Maggie also chose gifts for the little girl’s baby sister.

I think it’s important that children learn the concept of being charitable at an early age. They need to know there will always be people with more and less and it’s important to help those with less. Maybe the holiday season is the time to start this lesson?

At what age do you intend to introduce philanthropy to your child?

—Sara Locricchio, Parenting Program Volunteer

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