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?