The holidays are here, and instead of only looking forward to receiving presents, this can be a great opportunity to give back. Exchanging gifts is definitely a popular means of spreading happiness during the season - in fact, a research by personal finance site mintlife shows that roughly 729 billion dollars was spent during the holidays alone back in 2019! However, there are a number of other things that you can do to extend your blessings to those who can benefit from them, some of which may not even require you to spend a dime.
During this most wonderful time of the year, you can multiply the amount of joy and hope that you can share when you do it not as an individual, but as a family. In volunteering or charitable giving, it is important for all those involved to have a good grasp of the concept of generosity. While adults may find it easier to understand, children might have a harder time internalizing this virtue especially if certain causes do not have a direct impact in their lives. Before you make the holidays more meaningful by touching people's hearts through giving, make generosity more "real" in the eyes of everyone in your family by doing the following:
- Share your stories. Draw from your personal experiences that you gained while participating in charitable events growing up. This will allow your family to get a sense of what it feels to be a force of hope through your accounts, and even see another side of you that they may not know about. Try your best to vividly describe what you felt and how the community responded to your efforts so it would be easier for your listeners to visualize the events. Use video or audio footage if you managed to keep some.
- Be a model of generosity. The best way to learn is through experience, so let your family get an idea of what it feels to receive blessings or accept an act of kindness. Just by spending extra time with them and giving compliments and praises will already go a long way in filling up their "feel-good reservoir". Once it overflows, it will be much easier for your family to take a scoop and pour some in someone else's happiness cup.
- Have patience. At first, children may not find it easy to let go of their possessions, time, or money. They may even resist by throwing tantrums. When they exhibit these behaviors, parents should take the high road and patiently teach them about thinking of others' needs, too. If parents can lay down the foundation of giving earlier, there will be more opportunities for their children to help others and learn from their own experiences.
- Spot kind acts. When you observe or see your family demonstrate kindness and generosity, highlight it and express how much it makes you happy. This would encourage them to do the same over and over again, and most likely inspire them to be even more generous in the future.
As you enjoy the holiday festivities, think about the people around you, as well. Together with your family, be a beacon of light that will provide further warmth and happiness to the community. In preparation, start at home. Relive past encounters with generosity, demonstrate kindness, be patient in educating family members, and compliment those who exemplify generosity. After, witness how the simple act of giving can create a ripple of positive change that can transcend generations.