As a family we have figured out a system that works for us for giving during the holidays—we adjust it every year, but the framework is the same.
- Local: We like to look in our newspaper or weekly guide and choose a local non-profit we can give to. There's a yearly Season of Sharing Wishbook the Oregonian puts out, and Willamette Week has an very easy to navigate annual Give!Guide.
- World: Then, we like to give to an international charity—it might be related to something we are learning about or towards a recent disaster. We talk about it and discuss it, do a little research, and try to see what charities have good ratings on one of the many rating sites online.
- Personal Connection: The girls really enjoy going to an actual wishing tree (like at a mall) and buying a gift for a specific child. They love talking about what this child would want to have. We also round up coats/clothes or buy toiletries/food and donate to a local shelter. This year I have about 4 coats I really don't wear anymore I can take in. I like to have us all drive this in and drop it off, because the online money giving, while so important, is not as personal.
We don't try to do this all by Giving Tuesday, but fit it in all month. We all talk about it at dinner, usually it starts to come up before Thanksgiving. It's becoming a really special tradition, which makes us very happy. I'm sure it will change, too. As they get older, they may want to help more on their own, and individually choose how and where to help, but right now, the family effort fits for us and using this system stops my spinning brain and my over-researching tendencies.