Gifts that Give!

Birthdays mean many things to many people. They are joyous, celebratory, exciting, stressful, depressing, miraculous, etc. For some, birthdays are welcomed events year after year. For others, birthdays mark milestones that can be uplifting in hard times. And then there are those who view birthdays as a constant reminder of a rapidly aging body. No matter how you view birthdays, coming up with presents for loved ones and wish lists for yourself each year can be difficult.

Perhaps you have heard of all those generous children who are wise beyond their years and have used their birthdays to do good deeds. Some kids have hosted annual coat drives on their birthdays; donated time at a soup kitchen, instead of having a party with friends; asked family for money or supplies to donate to local food banks and animal shelters; and even donated gifts they receive to children who are less fortunate.

While it is important for your child to feel special on his or her birthday, it is equally important to teach him or her that others are not as fortunate. However you decide to teach this special lesson, implementing this lesson into a child’s birthday can have a lasting impact year after year. It can even lead to bigger and better efforts in the future and create a tradition of giving for your child.

But donating birthday gifts is not just for the little ones. We can all take part in giving back on our special day. How many times have you found yourself struggling for birthday gift ideas when asked? Those of us lucky enough to want for nothing can certainly make a huge difference by thinking of others.

This year, consider filling your wish list with items desperately needed at the food bank, local animal rescue or homeless shelter. Items can include non-perishable food, blankets, coats, socks, dog and cat food. If you are having a party or get-together with family and friends to celebrate the occasion, include a message on the invitation like: “In lieu of gifts, please consider bringing or donating items of need to a local charity of your choice.” It will certainly make the gift shopping easier on your guests and will do immeasurable good in the community!

If you really want to get creative, consider asking around to local businesses to see if any of them would like to donate items or goods to your collection. You may even be able to find some that will match your collection with donations of their own.

Think of how much good could be done if we all donated even one birthday’s worth of presents to those in need. Every little bit helps, so why not make your New Year’s resolution a great one by doing more to help others?