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Starting a Family Tradition: 12 Days of Good Deeds

As the holiday season begins, I hope to teach my kids how important giving is. But reality kicks in about one hour after the Thanksgiving pie is eaten.  Relatives start asking my kids, “What do you want for Christmas?”  Any hope I had about teaching giving, not getting, is gone.

lafayettekidsI finally decided to buckle down and start a new family tradition; one that takes our focus off the wish list and onto a giving list.

1.  When the giving season begins, gather your family and together decide on twelve ways the group can help others. Ideas can be easier for young children such as brushing the family pet a few extra minutes or dropping coins in a Salvation Army bucket.  Ideas for the entire family might include shoveling a neighbor’s driveway or baking cookies for the mail carrier.  Each family likes to help out in different ways, so think of what will work for your family.

2. List the ideas on paper. Children or adults can write the list. Have a child who’s artistic? Encourage him or her to spruce up the list with drawings or stickers.

3.  Post the list in a spot that’s visible to the entire family, such as on the refrigerator door.

4. As a family, choose a good deed to do each day. Is your weekday schedule already full? Good deeds can be done over a weekend, too.

5.  Check off each deed as it’s finished.

6.. Finding you can’t get to a deed you chose? Erase it off and add a new one that your family can do. You might even do the same activity twice, such as shoveling snow during a snow storm.

Once you have completed your 12 Good Deeds, break out the hot cocoa and gingerbread men and give a toast! Compliment your children on working together as a family to help others. You may find your children continue to have ideas for more good deeds. There’s no reason to stop in December.  Keep a list going into the spring and summer. Shoveling snow might turn into mowing lawns or raking leaves. Just don’t forget to switch the hot cocoa and gingerbread men for lemonade and ice cream.

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1 comment
  • This is a great idea!

    In our house, we also try to draw the kids into the business of buying gifts for family. Buying hard candy for my 96-year-old grandmother, or a chew toy for my brother’s dog, can be depressing when I do it by myself on Amazon at 11:30. When I bring my girls into the process, shopping becomes a lot more fun. For them, it blends the love-of-shopping and joy-of-giving in a nice way and also gets them to think about their extended family in a new way.