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This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Bright Endeavors but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

6 Ways to Give Back With Kids at the Holidays


The Everymom’s product selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

give back at the holidays"
give back at the holidays
Source: Shutterstock
Source: Shutterstock

I want my children to be grateful and to give back (don’t we all?). I want to teach them to value experiences over things and quality time over quantity of gifts. And I want them to know how good it feels to give to others instead of receiving for themselves. But I also want my children to experience the pure childhood magic of rushing downstairs on Christmas morning to see what Santa brought and to tear into beautifully wrapped gifts.

I can’t be alone in trying to straddle this line with a 1-year-old and 3-year-old who are still learning that the world does not revolve around them. Here’s what I’ve decided: there is a place for Christmas magic and a place for the magic of giving back at the same table at our home. These things are not mutually exclusive, and there are age-appropriate ways to start instilling the value of doing for others now.

If you’re looking for ways to get even the littlest of ones involved in giving back this holiday season, below are a few ideas to get started.

1. Shop Brands That Give Back

A pretty simple way to help kids give back to others is teaching them to support brands that value the same. As you curate your gift list this holiday season, involve your kiddos with picking out presents for loved ones and explain to them why you’re choosing to shop from certain small businesses or companies with important missions.

One of our editors’ favorite shops to support in the Chicagoland area is Bright Endeavors, a social enterprise of the Chicago nonprofit organization New Moms, that’s dedicated to empowering new moms and their kids. Their signature product is a line of handcrafted candles that are hand-poured by young moms in the company’s paid job training program. Not only do the candles make great gifts for grandparents, mom friends, teachers, caregivers, and more, but the job training program directly helps participants learn comprehensive skills, gain confidence, and forge career paths.

And, when you purchase something from the Bright Endeavors website, 100 percent of the profits support New Moms’ nonprofit programs that provide housing, job training, college success, and family support for young moms facing barriers caused by systemic poverty. 

Ready to shop great gifts that give back? Check out our favorites from Bright Endeavors below!

bright endeavors candle set
Bright Endeavors
Holiday Signature Glass Candles Gift Box

The perfect gift to send to anyone that lives out of town, this set includes three of Bright Endeavors’ signature holiday scents: Almond Berry Galette, Holiday Citrus, and Whitebark Pine. The candles come packed in a pretty package that includes a matchbox and product card—and the box ships for free!

Shop now
bright endeavors candles
Bright Endeavors
Juniper Berry & Fir Candles

Available in two sizes (a mini 7oz and a two-wick 17oz), this Bright Endeavors candle features an invigorating combination of fir needle, juniper berry, and cedar leaf scents.

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bright endeavors candles
Bright Endeavors
Pomegranate & Champagne Candles

This celebratory candle—available in two sizes—includes cheery notes of pomegranate, citrus fizz, and vanilla. Plus, the candle is made with soy wax, has phthalate-free fragrance, and comes in a recyclable glass vessel.

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2. Send Toys Back With Santa

A fun take on donating toys, I purchased a bag from Etsy to send toys that we no longer use back with Santa for other boys and girls to play with. Not only will doing this declutter our home a bit, but it will bring joy to others. It also offers a great lesson on giving for my kids that is as creative as it is fulfilling.

ways to give back with kids at the holidays
Etsy | Jen’s Boutique Design
Personalized Old Toys for Santa Bag

Help them get even more excited to give back with a customizable bag they can be proud to fill.

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3. Say Thanks to the People Who Go All-Out With Holiday Decor

How many times have you driven by a house with holiday decor that brings more joy to your kids than you ever thought possible? Probably a lot. How many times have you let the homeowners know how much joy they’ve brought to your family? Probably never (if you’re like me).

I love this idea from @kidskindclub to have your littles decorate cards to send to the people who go above and beyond in their holiday decor to spread happiness. Whether it’s the house with the inflatable Olaf snowman or the exceptional Christmas light show, grab their address next time you drive by and send them some snail mail. I can guarantee it will bring joy right back to them. Maybe even bake some cookies and leave them with the notes on their doorstep.

outdoor christmas decor
Source: Shutterstock

4. Send Holiday Cards to a Nursing Home

Unfortunately, not all of the residents of nursing homes have people visiting them for the holidays. They might love to know someone is thinking about them. Let your little ones write and decorate cards for those in nursing homes. They can even include their own artwork, stickers, or whatever they think will bring someone else joy.

assorted holiday cards
24-Pack of Holiday Greeting Cards

Save any extras in this 24-pack for notes to mail carriers, hairstylists, or anyone else on your holiday gifting list this season.

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5. Buy Gifts for Another Family

You may be familiar with the idea of “adopting” a family during the holidays. This is where you are paired with a family in need and you purchase holiday gifts on their list. A number of local non-profit organizations have programs like this during the holidays. To get involved, research or call local organizations in your community and ask. You will then be matched with a family, ideally with kids of similar ages to yours, and shop for the gifts on their wish lists. You won’t actually meet the family, but it is a great way to get kids in the spirit of giving back to others.

christmas presents under the tree
Source: The Everymom

6. Make Care Kits for People Without Homes

In many places, it’s starting to get very cold. And there are still many people without homes who need basic necessities. Having care kits in your car to safely hand out can make a big difference. Pick up things like toothbrushes, toothpaste, gloves, hats, socks, tissues, and lip balm to stick into a freezer bag or drawstring bag to hand out as needed. Include a holiday card with a kind message.

bright endeavors logo

This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Bright Endeavors but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.