By the time you are reading this article, most of your holiday preparations will be done. As we enjoy our families and friends, our gifts, our comfortable homes, and delicious feasts, we are reminded that others cannot afford these things. So, we dig into our pockets and give of our time so others can share in these same joys.
What a great example to set for your grandchildren! Going one step further, involving your grandchildren in donating time, money, food, and gifts makes for an even better life lesson they will long remember.
However, many of the donations made this time of year fill only immediate needs – trees, toys, and turkeys. But what happens after the tree goes out to the curb, the toys break, and the last of the turkey leftovers are gone? There is no specific season for need – people, animals, and planet Earth all require help year-round.
And as you gather with your grandchildren (in person or online) this holiday season, take some time to discuss what all of you can do throughout the new year to make the world a better place. Have a brainstorming session where you discuss and select causes you would like to support. Set goals to strive for with your grandchildren for giving back in the new year.
There are many ways to make your contributions stretch beyond the holiday season. For example, talk with your grandchildren about donating a portion of their allowance or earnings to a charity monthly. Also, try pairing a toy with fun gloves, hats, coats, backpacks, etc., to make more of a lasting impact. And of course, as a librarian giving books is top on my list.
There is much evidence that having ready access to books in the home leads to success for those children in the future. And books are a gift that keeps on giving every time a child reads them. Unfortunately, so many children have no books in their homes!
There are so many ways to support literacy now and throughout the year. Give your grandchild two copies of a book and have them donate one. When you buy your grandchild a new book, ask them to remove one from their bookshelf to donate. Literacy organizations such as Reading is Fundamental, First Books, and Reach Out and Read welcome gently used books and new books.
Sharing a few good books that focus on those less fortunate go a long way in opening hearts and cultivating compassion. Find books that provide suggestions on practical things you and your grandchildren can do to make a difference in the world.
Read books to your grandchildren that tell the stories of kids whose actions have impacted the world so they, too, can feel empowered. Below are some book suggestions to help you get started.
Helping Our Planet is a helpful guide that provides practical ways to care for the Earth. Included are “planet-friendly” ways to eat, shop, and travel, tips on saving energy and cutting waste, and “…advice on getting drastic about plastic…”. In addition, links to websites for additional information are provided.
My Panda Sweater tells the story of Top of Form
a young girl who loves dancing in her unique Panda sweater, despite being teased by her classmates. Inevitably she outgrows the sweater and decides to donate it so someone in need can wear it and enjoy it as much as she did.
This book packs a punch. It gives an overview of what needs to be done to save our planet. It also offers specific practical ways to help the world that you can do at home.
Generation Brave introduces the reader to activists, mainly Gen Z, from around the world “…with diverse racial and economic backgrounds, causes, and experiences.”
101 Small Ways to Change the World teaches children of all ages that they can take simple steps to make the world a better place. It can be as easy as making a stranger’s day with a single act of kindness, stopping using plastic, making food, clothing, and book donations, or buying locally grown food.
You Can Change the World is another book that can empower your grandchildren to do their part. This book provides ethical and sustainable ideas of what children can do. It also supplies background information and statistics to help understand what is causing the issues and why we all must do something now.
Wishing you happy reading and a healthy, joyous holiday season!
What causes are important to you? What do you do to support these causes? Why are they important to you? Have you shared this with your grandchildren? Do you know what causes are important to your grandchildren?