Wednesday, 16 November 2016

'tis the season for giving

I've been thinking about the values that we teach our children and one of the main reasons I share ideas for things to do with kids is to encourage others to do the same. A big part of our family life is giving to others. I want to raise my boys to be men who are valued members of society and whose worth is measured in more than monetary terms - not that there's anything wrong with that too of course. So, it's important that I lead by example and show them how being kind is important.

Recently we talked about how many toys they have and how they are so fortunate to get new gifts for birthdays and at Christmas. We agreed that the toys they no longer play with - only if they are in good condition - could be donated to other children who don't have much. The boys were very generous in their decisions to give things away and I almost had to hold them back from giving everything away. I posted on a local freecycle site and was contacted by someone from a local refugee charity that supports families in the local area. Blue Bear and I went on Monday with bags of children's shoes, toys., handbags and some clothes. We get to clear space and someone else gets to play with the toys and wear the shoes. Double bubble.

When we go food shopping we put a few extra things into the shop to donate to the food bank. At Christmas I like to include some treats like mince pies, chocolates, an advent calendar or two and some posh biscuits or crackers for cheese. Our local food bank also collect toys and clothes at Christmas to give to the families who rely on their support.

Every year the Metropolitan Police run a Christmas campaign to give presents to children who might otherwise not get anything. Last year 11,000 presents were given out so it is a big thing and worth taking part in. You can donate to one child or a few - it is entirely up to you how much you spend and last year we were given a lovely Christmas card from a police dog as a thank you. It's the little things that make me happy.

I'm sure I've mentioned before that blood donation is an incredible gift. If you are able to donate it's particularly important at this time of year as stocks run low during the winter months, but the demand for blood products does not. It doesn't take long to donate at all and you can make an appointment in advance. If you're a bit funny about needles just tell them when you arrive - they are really nice and want to make it as easy as possible for you. Once you've donated you get to have a drink and a snack - I love the tea and biscuits afterwards. Honestly if you can give blood I cannot express how important it is that you try.

Lastly, it's getting cold and there are charities that collect coats, blankets and clothing for people who are sleeping rough. If you are in London you can donate a coat at an allocated donation point until this Friday (18th Nov). If you have clothes you no longer wear that are in good condition there will be a charity that can take them. The Salvation Army in Croydon accept clothes for men and women and give them directly to people in need.

These are a few of the ways that we give. I hope that when my boys are all grown up they will still think about others and want to keep this family tradition going. I'd be so proud if they did.