Holiday Family Giving Ideas

During the holidays, families have a unique opportunity to be together, give together and share special moments. This time of year allows families to talk about things that really matter--values, family legacy and philanthropy. Below is a list of articles and ideas to help you have these important conversations with your kids and grandkids.

Holiday Activities   


1. A Night of Giving

    Time:   Takes about an hour. You can do this on Thanksgiving, or as a Christmas Dinner pre ritual 

Each kid is given an envelope with five $20.00 bills. On the table are about 5-10 solicitations that were collected in the past few months. These can be pamphlets, follow up emails from donations they gave or an email request for funds.
The kids place their money next to the organizations they want to support. After lively discussion and much moving around of bills, the kids are encouraged to go to their rooms and get their personal funds that they wish to add to the giving table. For all personal funds added to the table, the parents match 10:1. This incentivizes personal giving.


2. Family Blessings  

         Each member of the family writes a note to every other member of the family highlighting what they are grateful for about that person (it can be as simple as, "You let me sleep with your teddy bear.") One night during the holidays, everyone gathers around and reads their blessings (each person gets to read the notes that were written to them) out loud. At the end, have a discussion about the many blessings in your family and brainstorm what would be a joyful and authentic way that your family can celebrate those blessings by giving to your community.

3. Celebrate Thanksgivukah

    Rabbi Mishael Zion, co-director of the Bronfman youth fellowships and co-author of the A Night to Remember Passover Haggadah, has written a wonderful Thanksgivukkah manifesto. He has also begun compiling a list of ideas for family Thanksgivukkah conversations and rituals.

4. Quick Ideas  

  • Get One, Give One: For each gift received over the holidays (or birthdays), one is given by the recipient. It can be to anyone (friend, family member, pet, stranger, organization, temple, church) and it can be anything; a compliment, your time, compassion, love, something tangible, a note, etc.
  • Another take: give gifts that benefit others (i.e. a company whose model is 1 for 1; for every item purchased, one is donated). Here is a list of companies whose model is buy one, give one.
  • Clean Up For a Cause: Spend time together going through clothing or household items you may no longer need and donate them together locally.
  • Cook For a Local Family or Cause (or volunteer at a soup kitchen)
  • Bring Gifts Or Good Cheer To A Hospital

5. Adopt a Family 

    Last year our family called our local Jewish Family Service and “adopted” a family for Chanukah. We got a description of the family and their Chanukah wish list. We went to Target with our kids’ tzedakah money (plus some extra from my husband and me) and bought each member of the family a Chanukah gift (plus a gift card for the parents). My kids are so excited to do that again this year.

6. Gifts and Tools


Source: 21/64 Consulting Group  

Katie KuehlKatie Kuehl
Scholarship Associate

Contact me if you are interested in involving your family in your philanthropy.

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