Share The Joy This Season

imagesEvery year as I begin my Christmas shopping for my children I reflect on how lucky they are to have as much as they do. For me it’s important to remember  that there many people in the world with very little, including a number of local families that struggle during the holiday season.

I believe that it’s very important for my kids to understand how lucky they are and to “share their joy” with others.  That’s why I always volunteer at my children’s elementary school for the Stocking Program.  It’s a great program where each grade at the school joins together to fill a huge stocking, or cardboard box that is decorated like a stocking, with presents for a family in need.  The presents can be anything from winter clothes to toys to grocery store gift cards that can be used for meals over the holidays.  As a school we always fill about 8 or 9 stockings.  As a family we always give generously to at least one family.

I make sure that my children are very much a part of the giving process. We talk about the ages of the kids that we are buying for and what they might like and need.   Then my children and I carve out a day to go shopping for relevant and fun items for each family member.  We always help to decorate the stocking (box) and we actually deliver the stocking right to the school that the family belongs to.

The whole process is designed to be as valuable to the volunteers as it is to helping out a local family that may not have the means as others do in providing a wonderful Christmas for their family.  For my kids it’s a great way to understand the meaning of giving back to the community and the true spirit of the holidays.

397719_518717761494344_51720000_aSimilar to my local efforts, and as a KINDER Mom, I like to share with you another great holiday kindness program that KINDER® has on right now.  For the second year in a row, KINDER® has partnered with Children’s Miracle Network with the “A Joy To Share” program.  The “A Joy to Share” program is one of the ways KINDER® is helping bring joy to families this holiday season.  As families come together this holiday, it is a wonderful opportunity to teach our little ones (and loved ones) about what it means to help others.  This isn’t just a donation – but a call to action for Canadian moms and children to create a greeting card as a means to share some holiday joy to  children and their families at Children’s Miracle Network hospitals this holiday season.

Starting Friday November 22nd, for each greeting card that is created, KINDER® will donate $1 to the Children’s Miracle Network.

Have fun creating your greeting card and remember to Share The Joy this holiday season!

Disclosure: I’m part of the KINDER® Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

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Baby’s First Christmas

Picture the happy, heartwarming, festive scene: it’s Christmas day and the family gather round in anticipation as the new mom opens Baby’s gifts on this, his first Christmas. The baby is either sleeping, or at best semi-attentive and drooling (much like Great Uncle Albert who had one too many pre-dinner sherries). The gift wrap falls from present #1 to reveal a super cute sleeper with ‘My First Christmas’ emblazoned on the chest. Cue the ooohs and aaaahs from the audience. Present #2 is an even cuter teddy with ‘Baby’s first Christmas’ stamped on its paw. Present #3 is a not so cute, in fact rather gaudy, felt star Christmas tree decoration embroidered with, guess what? Yup, ‘Baby’s 1st Christmas’. And so the ‘First Christmas’ gifts follow – a hat, a onesie, a bib. The next step: the poor unsuspecting little mite is bundled up in all his first Christmas paraphernalia and blinded by the flash of five cameras taking pictures simultaneously. Sure, it’s adorable, but to be frank, what use are these gifts after December 26th?

Baby has no idea whatsoever what his first Christmas is about, look at him – he’s already gone back to sleep after spitting up on his Christmas outfit (as has Great Uncle Albert), so if there’s a new baby in your family this Christmas, here’s a thought: why not stick to more practical gifts? Boring? Maybe. Saving money and resources in tough times? Definitely.

We thought we’d throw out a few suggestions of practical gifts to buy for Baby’s First Christmas. It’s a good idea to also consult with the new parents and other relatives to avoid duplicate toys or too much clothing in the same size.

  • Club together with other family members and buy a bigger, useful item of baby kit like a high chair, Exersaucer, baby carrier, Jolly Jumper OR
  • A really cool diaper bag such as Petunia Pickle Bottom (OK, technically it’s for mom, but Baby will benefit from mom being extra contented when she’s toting her chic accessory)
  • Buy clothes that will fit later down the line. If everyone buys clothes that fit now it will be a waste, so instead buy something that will fit in the spring.
  • For maximum usage, buy toys that baby can grow into rather than something for now.
  • Supplies such as diapers, wipes or formula
  • Something innovative that mom wouldn’t necessarily buy for herself (e.g. an organizing journal from HealthPod, funky baby food containers from Wean Green)
  • A family pass to the local zoo or aquarium.
  • Gymboree classes for the Spring or Summer.
  • A photo session to capture some baby or family memories.
  • Photo frames to show off the favorite baby pics.
  • Fun kids’ CDs or soothing baby music to help with getting Baby to sleep.

There is one more special and inexpensive gift that you can give when there’s a new baby in the house at Christmas. Give your time and help. Offer to baby-sit so the new parents can go out or simply take a break. Healthy, happy, relaxed parents make the perfect Christmas gift for a new baby.