This is my twist on the traditional holiday gift guides you see around the blogosphere. A great way to get your family involved in giving rather than just receiving in the holiday season is to shift the focus to giving back. As with any giving, it is best to know the group you are giving too. Call ahead to find out what is most needed and how items can be dropped off. Think local and find smaller groups in your neighbourhood that often need more support and whose clients are people in your neighbourhood.
The Cloth Diaper Family
Did you use cloth diapers with your children? Consider purging your cloth diaper stash to help families in need start their own cloth diaper stash. Find a local Cloth for a Cause chapter to donate to. This non-profit organization collects new and used diapers, they even do repairs, and passes them on to families.
The Pet Lovers Family
Does your family love pets? Call your local animal rescue centre to see what is on their wish list. Items can include bags of kitty litter, pet toys, old towels and blankets. Check out the Toronto Humane Society‘s wish list.
The Commuter Family
Do members of your family commute? Imagine you are on your way home from work and you spot someone asking for money. What if you had a bag of needed goodies that you could pass along instead? Items in the bag can include toothbrushes and toothpaste, new socks, deodorant, shampoo, coffee shop gift card or even pack it all in a reusable mug! Try and get a few commuter neighbor families involved to share the cost on creating the bags and have everyone bring a different item for the kits.
The Foodie Family
The obvious giving solution for the foodie family is to donate items to your local food bank-items that you would normally buy for your own family. Or take some special treats to your local meals on wheels type program to add to their deliveries. But how about donating either a new appliance or kitchen items you no longer need to the a social change program like The Kitchen Library, a lending library for small appliances!
The Outdoor Family
If your family can’t get enough of the outdoors than consider collecting coats and outdoor gear for a local shelter or a community organization that helps people new to Canada. Another option is to host a swap at your school so that all the kids have access to good outdoor gear and there are some financial savings for everyone involved!
The Playful Family
Are you a family who can’t get enough playtime and have an abundance of toys? Collecting new toys for a toy drive or dreidel drive helps make sure that all children get something new during the holidays. Another option is having your kids gather up unwanted and unneeded toys and donating them to your local thrift shop. This means that preloved shops will have a a good selection of toys for people who are choosing to give secondhand items.
The Teen Family
Are there teenagers in your family? I spotted this post over at Our Feminist Playschool that reminds us that teens are often extra neglected during the holidays. Collect gift cards for teens in foster care or contact a local LGBT teen support group to see what items they require.