As a child, the holiday seasons brought me joy because I got a new toy. I remember my mother started a new family tradition, to get a new toy, I had to pick one to donate. As an eight-year-old that was an outrageous thought—Why? My toys are mine, all mine! My mother would go on to explain that other children are less fortunate and don’t have any toys at all to play. The thought of how unhappy I would be without my worn-out doll; I quickly selected a toy to donate. As my mother gathered the donated toys from my siblings and I, she arranged with a friend to pick up the toys. When my mother handed a bag full of toys to her friend—she beamed with happiness. Now as an adult, I still remember the reaction of my mother’s friend to the gesture of generosity, a value my mom taught me.
The holiday season is overwhelming—making list, buying gifts, or planning family visits—who stays where and when--whew! However, the holiday season is a great way to instill a family value: generosity. A study done by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, 2018, showed that charitable giving is passed from parents to children. Growing up, my mother taught me to donate toys, time and gifts to others that are going through a rough situation. Although as a child it was difficult to comprehend giving away “my stuff” to strangers, now I cherish those teachable moments. Whether you’re buying a gift or picking from the Angel Tree’s Salvation Army Program for someone special or volunteering is a great way to pass on the legacy of generosity to family members.