Kick off the Giving Season by Helping Kids to Think Globally on “Giving Tuesday”

By Wendy As we get closer to Christmas, it’s hard to get my kids to see beyond their wish list to think about giving rather than “gimme”.

For them, “thinking globally” extends about as far as figuring out where we live in relation to the North Pole; in a big world of over 7 billion, it’s a growing concern whether Santa will be able to make all the rounds in one night.

When it comes to living close to Santa, it’s pretty sweet for us Canadians – we’re pretty much next door neighbours – and it shows by the bounty under the tree on Christmas Day.

Maybe, my kids wonder, it’s because they live so far away from the North Pole that children in some countries don’t get any Christmas gifts…

“So maybe”, I say to my kids, “Santa can use our help.” They look at me quizzically: But how?


Enter the charitable gift giving catalogue. There are many to choose from, but here are a couple to get started:

Canada Food for the Hungry “Gifts for Change” Gift Guide; and Plan Canada Gifts of Hope

I love these catalogues and what they have to offer: meaningful gifts – many under $30 - for the hard-to-buy-for person on your Christmas list; and hope for those who receive much needed training, equipment, supplies and animals. Many of these gifts are matched with a donation by a government, foundation or organizational partner that extends the reach of a gift to help even more people and communities.

My kids enjoy looking through the catalogues and choosing gifts that match the people on our list:

• seeds or gardening tools for a grandparent or neighbour with a green thumb

• school supplies or uniforms for a favourite teacher

• sports equipment for an awesome coach

This year they will get a kick out of trying to decide who most deserves “a piece of crap” – a gift that turns poop into environmentally friendly organic fertilizer for growing veggies. No doubt they will point at each other!

For bigger ticket items with an even bigger impact – like filling a stable with animals or a medical clinic with supplies – it’s fun to browse the catalogue at a family gathering, or at the office and decide on a gift as a group.

This week, Tuesday, December 2 is Giving Tuesday, which - following Black Friday and Cyber Monday – kicks off the giving season from now until Christmas. Giving charitable gifts that help our global neighbours is the perfect way to give and give back at the same time!

And there are plenty of other great ideas at Whatever you choose to do, make sure to get the kids involved - and don’t forget to Tweet your #unselfie to @GivingTuesdayCA!

How will you encourage your kids to focus on the giving, not the getting, this Christmas season?

Fundraising for Candlelighters: Supporting Children with Cancer

by Andrea As life gets busier with growing kids, getting together with your core group of friends becomes quite the challenge. But when you do manage to pull it off, and see the kids laughing and playing together while you share a glass or two of vino with your besties, you ask yourself and each other: Why don’t we do this more often?

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We all feel that part of being a good parent is providing activities for the kids: sports, music, dance, and the list goes on. But then it begins to seem “quality time” with your kids is spent mostly in the car. And quality time with friends happens only on birthdays or holidays. So let’s add this to the New Year’s Resolution List: spend more time with friends and quality time with kids actually doing activities with them instead of always driving them to one.

This sentiment snapped into focus for me after I received an email from one of those friends (because that is the only way we catch up these days) that says her daughter - one of the special, wonderful, brilliant kids that I have seen grow up - has been diagnosed with Cancer. I am stopped in my tracks.

After taking time to absorb and re-absorb this news my mind springs into action: how can we help, what can we do – there must be something? There is nothing we can do about the Cancer and this is a hard pill to swallow – nothing to help this little 6 year-old except be there for her and her family that we hold so dear.

Ways we can help

We can raise money and awareness about some exceptional local organizations that help support families through this difficult period, organizations like Candlelighters and their Childhood Cancer Support Programs. Candlelighters puts a smile on the kids’ faces when they receive iPads and other support – and in this situation it means a lot to see a child smile.

We can give blood, because who knew that your little 6 year-old friend would need blood transfusions?

We can get together with friends, make time before or after activities, schedule in some parent and kid activities.

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As small business owners we are in a position to hold such events, which we are doing Sunday November 16th 1:00-3:00 with all kinds of services: mini manicures, deluxe French braids, funky hair with temp colour, face painting, treats and more all for donations to Candlelighters.

We also organize events that can make it easy for you to spend time with your children or have your children spend time with friends (and maybe have that glass of vino next door).

Check us out (and like us) on our Facebook page  or email us at for more information.

Upcoming Events include: Frozen Spa Evening – Nov 14th 1st Birthday Celebration for Candlelighters – Nov 16th PD Day PJ Day at the Spa – Nov 21st Happy Hour Fridays – Book a Mani Pedi with your BFF between 3-6 and receive 50% off December Birthday Parties – Birthday Girl receives a deluxe up-do for free! And many more specials and events!


Tysen's Mission to a Million

Every once in a while we hear about great kids doing great things. These are the inspiring stories of young entrepreneurs and activists, and can make us stand up and pay attention. But even rarer are the stories about super, awesome, AMAZING kids doing unbelievable things - the kind of things that make us both cry and laugh. That's how I felt when I started reading about Tysen's Mission. When Tysen was born he was diagnosed with Pieffers Syndrom Type 2, and had his first surgery at just nine days old.  Since then he has had more than 20 trips to the OR, at both CHEO (Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario) and Sick Kids in Toronto.  As Tysen's Mom wrote to me in an email:

"This has never stopped our little man from looking at life in a positive way and wanting to help others.  I know that every mom is proud of their children as they should, but I consider myself extra lucky to be blessed with an amazing kid who reminds us every day that we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff!"

In November of 2012 Make-A-Wish granted Tysen’s wish to meet Adam Sandler.  The trip was game changer for Tysen, and he still dreams of his special day with his man Adam!  When Tysen found out he was going to be granted a wish, he decided he wanted to ‘pay if forward’ and wanted to raise money for Make-a-Wish.  But instead of raising a few thousand dollars, Tysen decided that he wanted to raise 1 million dollars for Make-A-Wish Eastern Ontario - enough money to ensure that 100 other local children get their wish granted.

With help from Make-a-Wish, he  launched Tysen’s Mission to a Million, and has already raised over $190,000. You can follow him and the wishes he adopts on his Facebook page. His first anniversary for this mission is October 29th, and he hopes to reach $200,000 by then!


Want to help Tysen on his mission? Until November 1st, you can donate $5 via text. Simply text "Wish" to 45678, and help him reach 200k!

Boomerang Kids Charity Strollerthon

I don't know about you, but when my kids outgrow their clothes without ruining them I do a happy dance because I know I can either pass them on to friends or consign them and make some money. I always turn to Boomerang Kids when I want to consign. I like how easy it is - I drop off the clothes I want to consign, look around for new clothes for my kids, and get credit for the clothes that sell. It takes the stress out of getting rid of the outgrown clothes, and gives me credit when buying more. It's perfect. Something I didn't know about Boomerang Kids is that they're celebrating their 20th anniversary this August. They have 7 locations across Ontario and Quebec. Another thing I didn't know is that they love to give to charity. A popular program at Boomerang Kids is their free strollercise classes. These 1-hr classes let you get out with your baby or child, meet other parents, and get some exercise.

To celebrate Boomerang's 20th anniversary, they are combining strollercise with charity by hosting a kids charity strollerthon. In 2004, they set a Guinness World Record for number of people pushing a stroller in one location. They want to break that record this year and they need your help. They are hoping to have more than 746 people register, which you can do right on their website. If you register before June 15th you'll be entered into a draw to win a $100 gift certificate for Boomerang.

The Strollerthon takes place from 10am-12pm on June 22nd on Parliament Hill. The entry fee is $10 and that gets you a Me to We wafiki friendship bracelet and a coupon for Boomerang Kids. All money raised goes towards Free The Children's Sacred Circle program. For more information and to register, please visit the Boomerang Kids website.


download (2)Have you heard about the new movement that encourages people everywhere to band together and support those charities and organizations that they feel are worthy? GivingTuesday, initiated in Canada by CanadaHelps, GIV3, and several other partners, marks the opening day of the giving season. After you've done all your holiday gift buying on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it's time to pay it forward  on GivingTuesday.

Giving Tuesday is a day for each and every one of us to really make a difference. It's also a great way to get your kids involved in learning about helping those who are less fortunate.

Be a part of this new tradition of generosity and give back to a cause that matters to you.

Who will you support today?