The holiday season is a magical time for most kids, filled with gifts and goodies. And, even though it’s good to make the holidays special for your little one, it’s also important to show them that giving back is what truly makes the season wonderful.

Giving back can be done in a number of ways that cost little to nothing, and these small acts of kindness can become holiday traditions that carry on for years to come. Your local area may have special opportunities for volunteering or holiday programs; check with churches, schools, and local organizations to see if they have ways for you and your child to get involved.


Check out these ideas from other parents and let us know what activities you’ve done with your child in the comments section!

Give a Shoebox: Programs like Operation Christmas Child give your child the opportunity to gather small, simple gifts that you send off to a child in need. Also, a lot of youth- and family-serving organizations have wish lists for items they need on a regular basis. If you’d like to give to the Crisis Nursery serving Wright County’s wish list, contact Abby Dahl at

Adopt a Family: You can adopt a less fortunate family that is unable to buy gifts for their children. Your child can help pick out gifts for the other children and know that they are doing a good deed by making someone else’s holiday special.

Clean out the Closet: Have your kids sort through their clothes, toys, books, or athletic wear, and donate the items that don’t fit. The Crisis Nursery serving Wright County is always looking for new and gently used toys, books, pajamas, and blankets.

Make a Visit: Take your little one to a local senior home to help serve lunch, pass out bingo cards, or take part in their holiday celebration.


Give Cards: Have your kids make or color their own Christmas cards for neighbors, or send them to active service members, veterans, and their families through the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes.

Help Animals: Make homemade dog treats and toys for shelter pets. Rachael Ray has a simple recipe for Pupkin Dog Treats, and a toy can be made by braiding socks. Check with your local shelter to make sure they accept these donations.

Quick Acts of Kindness: Teach gratefulness by having your child leave thank you notes for the mailman or trash removers, create uplifting sidewalk chalk designs, or bring thank you cards or treats to people who work on the holidays (like gas station employees).

Be Santa’s Elves: This is a fun and silly way for your child to have fun giving back by doing little acts that can make someone’s day. You could have them tape quarters to a vending machine for the next person to use, put a few extra coins in an expiring parking meter, ask your child to hold doors open for others, and wish everyone “Happy Holidays!”


For more information on donating to the Crisis Nursery serving Wright County, contact Abby Dahl at or call 763-271-1681.