As any parent knows, the holiday season can come with a long list of “gimmes” with very little appreciation of the real meaning of the season. How can the modern religious parent infuse the spirit of the giving and generosity into their children? The holiday season is particularly difficult for children of soldiers, as well as soldiers themselves. While Americans are safely at home celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah this December, parents enlisted in different branches of the military are often stationed away from their families on the days they want to be with them most. How can Americans make their holidays brighter while raising thankful patriots? Here are some ideas for crafts and giving opportunities to enrich both your family’s holiday and the holiday of an member of our military:
1. Commit to volunteering one day over the coming year for the VFW’s Patriotic Days
From their website: VFW Posts worldwide host public commemorations and other events on many patriotic days, honoring America’s veterans and rich history. Join the VFW in our efforts! Find a local Post to get involved with an upcoming event.
2. Donate one present towards a military charity of kids’ choice
Charity Navigator has a list of some of the best military charities to choose from, which use donors’ gifts in the most appropriate and cost-effective ways. There’s some great options for kids to choose from like Puppies Behind Bars, Adaptive Sports Foundation and Homes for Our Troops. Instead of getting one of their presents, donate what you would have spent!
3. Volunteer at any of the above organizations
Many of the organizations listed above in CharityNavigator accept not only donations, but also volunteer help. Choose a charity with a local branch in your area and commit to volunteering with your family in the New Year!
4. Shop on Amazon while donating to a military charity
Many charitable organizations have relationships with Amazon Smile, which donates part of every purchase you make to an organization. The Adaptive Sports Association is one, as is Homes for Our Troops. Check other charities’ websites to see if they also participate.
5. Donate miles to soldiers
Do you have a family member flying to see you for the holiday? Ask them to register their trip with the airline’s mileage program and consider donating these miles to Fisher House’s “Hero Miles” program. The Hero Miles Program provides round-trip airline tickets to wounded, injured, and ill service members and/or their families who are undergoing treatment at a military or VA medical center; or who are attending an authorized event. Flights are made possible through frequent flyer mile donations made by individual airline passengers.