How to Make Giving Fun for the Whole Family

young family outside during the holidays

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving (and Black Friday and Cyber Monday) is known as Giving Tuesday, a celebration of charity and giving. It was started in the hopes of increasing awareness and participation in acts of charity and volunteerism and now serves as the unofficial start of the holiday charity season.

You can give back in a wide variety of ways – by donating money, time, or resources. The holiday season is an especially great time of year to help your children understand the value of charity and volunteering. With that in mind, here are a few simple ways to make giving a family event.

Create a charity jar

Let your children decide on a charity, then set out a jar where they can put in their spare change and other donations. Set a timeframe for when you’ll make the donation and then make the donation in their name. For extra encouragement, you can even offer to match whatever they put in the jar.

Allowance direct deposit

If your children get an allowance, offer to set aside a portion of that money every week for a future charitable donation. (While you’re at it, offer to set aside a separate portion for saving – might as well learn the value of building savings, too!)

Shopping for charity

Give your children money (or a gift certificate) and let them pick out some non-perishable foods at the grocery store. Together, you can then take those donations to the local food bank. If your cupboards are already overflowing with non-perishables, give your kids a basket and let them go shopping in your kitchen.

Make-believe dinner

If you’ve got imaginative kids, have a simple meal at home, but pretend you’re out at a fancy restaurant. Let them pick what their imaginary dinner is and tell them how much it costs. At the end, add up the cost of everyone’s “fancy” meals and make a donation to your favorite charity in that amount.

One of each

Once you’re heading into the holiday season your kids will probably be relatively confident that they’ll soon be getting more stuff. So create a yearly tradition where your children choose one toy, one book, and one article of clothing that they’d like to donate to a less fortunate child.


Giving your time and energy is just as good as giving money or food. Volunteer as a family and help your children feel a sense of ownership by giving them a say in choosing where you volunteer.

The act of giving can be large and it can be small. It can complex and it can be simple. It’s important only that you do what feels good to you.

Article updated December 2019

Tagged in Holidays, Money and relationships

Jesse Campbell photo.

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, with over ten years of experience creating valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

  • Better Business Bureau A+ rating Better Business Bureau
    MMI is proud to have achieved an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), a nonprofit organization focused on promoting and improving marketplace trust. The BBB investigates charges of fraud against both consumers and businesses, sets standards for truthfulness in advertising, and evaluates the trustworthiness of businesses and charities, providing a score from A+ (highest) to F (lowest).
  • Financial Counseling Association of America Financial Counseling Association of America
    MMI is a proud member of the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA), a national association representing financial counseling companies that provide consumer credit counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling, bankruptcy counseling, debt management, and various financial education services.
  • Trustpilot Trustpilot
    MMI is rated as “Excellent” (4.9/5) by reviewers on Trustpilot, a global, online consumer review platform dedicated to openness and transparency. Since 2007, Trustpilot has received over 116 million customer reviews for nearly 500,000 different websites and businesses. See what others are saying about the work we do.
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development - Equal Housing Opportunity Department of Housing and Urban Development
    MMI is certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide consumer housing counseling. The mission of HUD is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD provides support services directly and through approved, local agencies like MMI.
  • Council on Accreditation Council On Accreditation
    MMI is proudly accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA), an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. COA’s thorough, peer-reviewed accreditation process is designed to ensure that organizations like MMI are providing the highest standard of service and support for clients and employees alike.
  • National Foundation for Credit Counseling National Foundation for Credit Counseling
    MMI is a longstanding member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), the nation’s largest nonprofit financial counseling organization. Founded in 1951, the NFCC’s mission is to promote financially responsible behavior and help member organizations like MMI deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.