12 Ways to Add Meaning to the Holiday Season

  1. Reflect. Have a family discussion about what everyone is thankful for this year.
  2. Experience diversity. Incorporate other cultural and religious customs into your holiday celebrations. Find ideas from the National Geographic Holidays Around the World book series.
  3. Volunteer. Assist at a soup kitchen, children’s hospital or animal shelter. Search for family-friendly volunteer locations at www.thevolunteerfamily.org. Get a state listing of soup kitchens or find animal shelters.
  4. Pick a family cause. Collect loose change and allowance money and donate it together.
  5. Give gifts that count 1. Instead of material items, give charitable donations in the names of friends, family, teachers and coaches. Visit www.justgive.org and search 1,000,000 worthy organizations.
  6. Give gifts that count 2. Buy fair trade and ethically-sourced products from retailers such as World of Good, Trade as One and Ten Thousand Villages. Find a complete listing at www.fairtradefederation.org.
  7. Share. Contribute new or gently used clothes and toys to the Salvation Army, Goodwill, toy drives or families in need.
  8. Spread joy. Ask your child’s teacher to have students create handmade greeting cards. Then deliver them to a local senior citizen’s home.
  9. Spread love. Compose a poem, song or testimonial telling someone that they’re special. Create an eco keepsake: write it on recycled paper and put it in a reclaimed wood frame.
  10. Spend family time. Cook together, talk with the TV off or just get on the floor and play. Find meaningful family activities specific for the holiday season at www.freedomsfeast.us.
  11. Care for the earth. Conserve wrapping paper, reuse ribbons and bows, buy “green” whenever possible and send e-cards or recycled paper greetings.
  12. Celebrate your family, and appreciate the gift that they are.