Holiday Giving: a gift worth repeating each year

Thanksgiving is over and the season of giving is most definitely here. We’ve had a long standing tradition in my family to give to kids in need every holiday season.  My husband and I started buying toys to toss into the Toys For Tots box when we were dating and passed the tradition onto our daughters once they were born. It’s a great feeling to know kids in need will have a toy to open during the holidays and families will have food and clothing.

I’ve been promoting the need to give since going online in 2006. As a pediatrician, I truly can’t help but want to help the world’s kids. This time of year, however, I think locally. There are so many children who need a boost during the holiday season from food to coats to gifts. Whatever you can do to help, please try and do it. I don’t have a stake in any of the charities whose links I’m sharing with you – I just feel these are reputable groups who strive to help kids and families in need this time of year.

Last year we added a new tradition to give to a specific child in need through toy drive sponsored by my husband’s company. This toy drive is a lot of fun because the child supplies a wish list and we go shopping from that list. It’s exciting to know that the child we are helping will have a couple items under the tree that he or she has been wanting. For a child who has had a rough go for a while, having those wishes come true helps them in more ways than any of us will ever know. Our child is a 6 year old boy who loves Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Shopping for him was a blast, especially since we raised daughters. Knowing we’ll be making a difference in his life and putting a smile on his face made the shopping adventure truly fun. If you have a charity in your area to help out a child in a specific way, I’d encouarge you to do so. It’s a great feeling.

This time of year there are so many ways to give and help out families in need. You can drop off food at your local grocery stores. You can drop off unwrapped toys in Toys for Tots boxes. There are coat drives are Burlington Coat Factory. You can drop a few cents or dollars in Salvation Army Red Kettles, which you can donate to in person or online.  In Massachusetts, one of my favorite is Globe Santa. Hunt online in your area and I have no doubt you’ll find some fantastic charities to donate to.

Helping other families is a great gift. Get your kids involved and I promise they will continue to pay the gift forward for years to come.

Happy holidays.

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