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A gift of charity goes a long way

Show your children the joy of giving over receiving this season

Baby chick, $17;

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Plan Canada

Baby chick, $17;

Never underestimate your kids – they’re never too young to think about giving back in the spirit of the season. Here’s how to make the holidays a little more meaningful this year with a few charities that will definitely appeal to children helping children.

Take them shopping: Head out to Ten Thousand Villages, where you’ll find gifts with a “ripple effect.” Children will love choosing socks that keep feetsies warm. Conscious Step Socks that Feed Children are fair-trade organic socks made with an artisan partner in New Delhi. Each pair sold provides six therapeutic food packs for malnourished children. Socks, $20;

The best gift of all: We turn on a tap for a drink of water, but not every child can do that. DavidsTea Me to We holiday collection gives the gift of water. A colour-changing travel mug, for instance, gives six months of clean water to a person in a developing community. Then use the Track Your Impact tool to see how your purchase makes a difference. Travel mug, $35;

Pack a boxful of joy: It’s a gift your family will love putting together: pack a small box of toys, toiletries or craft supplies plus $9 for shipping and support of charitable work and relief efforts – and you’ll be bringing a little happiness to a child. Cross Catholic Outreach,

A scarf for mom, a village well: With the sale of 500 of each colour scarf in the Obakki Foundation’s Scarves for Water, the foundation drills a clean water well for one of six South Sudanese villages: denim builds a well in Denge, charcoal in Aduer, and crimson in Kuju Cheni, for example. Register online and you and the kids can get updates on the village you’ve supported. Scarf, $29;

Adopt a sea turtle! Does your kid like animals? What kid doesn’t? How about tucking a symbolic adoption through the WWF Canada (that’s World Wildlife Fund) into her stocking? Each adoption kit comes with a plush toy, a personalized adoption certificate, a poster and a gift bag. All net proceeds help support WWF conservation efforts. Sea turtle adoption kit, $40;

Double your gift: From now until Dec. 31, a holiday gift to Make-A-Wish Canada will be matched by its national board of directors: so if you give $10, it becomes $20; $100 becomes $200. Do it now and open up a discussion with your children about maximizing donations – and making wishes come true for children living with life-threatening medical conditions.

Chickens, goats and sheep! Show your kids how gifts of livestock can impact a family’s life: a chicken means a family has income-generating ability, a sheep means milk, cheese and wool for families, and goats jumpstart girl’s futures with protein-rick milk. Feeling flush? Go for a farm load of animals! Baby chick, $17;

Give a child a good sleep: When you donate enough money for a bedkit to Sleeping Children Around the World, you give kids around the world the basic necessities for sleep, and encourage a  sense of gratitude in your own children. Each bedkit consists of a mat or mattress, bedding, mosquito net, clothing and footwear, and a schoolbag with school supplies, which varies from country to country depending on local needs. Bedkit, $35;

Teens paying it forward: Soheila D.K. Mosun, 16, from Toronto has just launched Selfless 16, an organization that challenges teens to hold events to gather donations and help those in need. The best part is that kids get to decide the charity they want to support, which encourages self-reflection and gives them control over the decision.

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