Blink—And They're Grown

Parents, Families and Child Care

A New Twist on Holiday Shopping


4C’s Barby Ganulin has a few tips to get kids thinking about giving gifts as much as they think about receiving them!

Giving is central to Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanza, and the holidays present a great opportunity to help children learn to be givers as well as receivers. I was fortunate to be part of one good example of helping to create a philanthropic spirit in children this year at The Mitzvah Mall at Beth Adam—a Jewish congregation in Cincinnati.

A “mitzvah” is a good deed. The Mitzvah Mall is a fair of 10 non-profit organizations, including 4C for Children, that promotes charitable giving in a simple and educational form. Instead of shopping for holiday gifts, children spend their money to “buy” crayons for an after-school program, toys for hospitalized children, food for a homeless person or clothes for a victim of domestic violence.

At an early age, the children at The Mitzvah Mall were able to feel the power and impact of their generosity as they “shopped” and learned about community needs and that giving gifts is a rewarding experience. Holiday shopping may never be the same again!

Start a new family tradition. We have a little pig we call the tzedakah pig. Tzedakah is commonly translated as charity, and our tzedakah pig is like a “giving jar” in our house where everyone can deposit loose change. Our children then take turns deciding where the money will go. Think of all those loose coins: on the windowsill, under the sofa, in pockets, on the laundry machine…

Giving is addictive. It makes you realize that you and your actions do matter.

2 thoughts on “A New Twist on Holiday Shopping

  1. What terrific ideas! the children will remember these lessons throughout the year. I’m going to link your blog to mine at and I look forward to your future posts.