Giving throughout the festive season

Six days of shopping, five work parties, four loads of washing, three quarrelling children, two school concerts, one trip to Santa and a calendar bursting at the seams.
 
Phew!
 
Christmas is a magical time... right? All too often the madness of the Christmas countdown wins out, leaving us exhausted and stretched to the limit come the big day. So how can you bring the focus back to the true meaning of Christmas for everyone in the family?
 
The holiday season is a great opportunity to remind our children, and ourselves, of the importance of thoughtfulness, gratitude and giving. With this in mind we’ve found seven simple ways your family can embrace the true spirit of Christmas.
 

Kindness calendar

Like everything else, it seems that advent calendar is now all about getting. Shift the focus away from chocolate by adding activity cards to your advent calendar that suggest acts of kindness for the kids to do as they count down to Christmas. Simple things like call Grandpa for a chat, make your bed without Mum asking, read a Christmas story to your brother or sister. You can come up with your own ideas or draw some inspiration from clever mummy-bloggers like Mumtastic.
 

Local love

Make the most of local community events to spend time together as a family. Christmas pageants, carol nights and church activities are a great way to enjoy time together and re-connect with the local community.
 

School spirit

Create an opportunity to learn about generosity at home and school by working with your child’s teacher to set up a food drive for Foodbank. It’s an easy act of giving that the school community can take part in and a designated classroom makes the perfect collection point for non-perishable food. All you need to know to set up a food drive is on the Foodbank website. The food collected by Foodbank is distributed to charities to help feed more than two million Australians in need.
 

Gift of time and friendship

Try and find an hour or so to help a family member, friend or even an elderly neighbour. Simply helping with shopping, babysitting, cooking or cleaning can be a most welcomed gift and one that will be appreciated more than you could imagine. It may be a juggle to find the time but seeing the smiles it brings will be worth it.
 

Switch get to give

When your kids start hunting through toy catalogues and pester power hits its peak, take the chance to stop and flip it. Give them a budget and let them choose something from a charity catalogue. A $2 exercise book for a young student in Malawi, a $10 hot meal for an Australian doing it tough or a $45 beehive for a woman in Africa to produce honey and earn a living – these are just some of the life-changing gifts that can be purchased from the ADRA Christmas Gift Catalogue. They also make a great gift to purchase on behalf of family members that have everything or for Secret Santas.
 

Crafty kids

Making Christmas cards is a great way to keep the kids busy, especially when that Christmas excitement kicks into over-drive. Handmade cards are not only great for family but why not go for a stroll and pop them in the neighbours’ letterboxes? The kids will love making their special deliveries and what a wonderful surprise for your neighbours to find in the mail.
 

Christmas cleanout

Get the kids involved in going through their toys and books to find some ‘lightly-loved’ belongings to donate to charity. It not only helps to clear the clutter, but it creates a time to talk about giving, and those toys that have been sitting at the bottom of the toy box could bring a world of joy to another child.
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