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Mom Spelled Backwards: Green with Giving

Mother-centric reflections on Rivertown life and the season for sharing.

Our oldest daughter is three which means this is the first Christmas that the realization of Santa, in all of his fat and jolly glory, is really taking hold.

Last year, she wouldn’t sit on his lap at the Warner Library – who is that strange man with a beard? But this last weekend, Kaia had no trouble climbing up on not one but two laps at both the to tell each red-suited man that she wanted a Pink Scooter.

Now that Santa is firmly ensconced in her growing little consciousness, the uncurable gimmes are sure to come. I think of all those letters to Santa that must arrive in the Rec Dept. mail, with their big impossible wish lists. Gimme this, gimme that.

I see the economic slump as more of an opportunity than a catastrophe. We may not have enough money these days to check off all those toys on the shopping list, but there is plenty of room for instilling some lessons in generosity.

A local Jewish family I know, when faced with eight days of gift-giving for three children, reserves several of those days for each kid to Give Not Get something to their charity of choice.

Instead of fashioning a whole holiday around all the stuff our kids will receive, we must also teach them the opposite. My toddler has a hard enough time sharing let alone giving, but one thing she has in abundance is time. So I'm in the market for some family-friendly volunteering event – any suggestions?

There’s no shortage of local charities who need our items this season. Everywhere you turn there’s some donation box – for coats in the lobby of the YMCA, toys at Walgreens. Here’s a  of some local places in need of toys, clothing, boots, food. There’s also simple things you can do with or without an organization: like and shovel an elderly person's driveway (assuming it snows).

When you are shopping, green gifting is more than a trend, it’s essential. On Treehugger.com, there’s this year’s Green Gift Guide, with goodies assorted by categories (for the DIYer, for the Kids) with everything from the new efficient version of the classic Easy-Bake Oven to a solar-powered airplane, a worm farm, repurposed sweater animal scarves, and plenty of items whose proceeds go to charity, proving it is not boring – or Grinchlike – to be green.

Krista Madsen December 07, 2011 at 02:33 PM
This supplied by a reader and United Way rep: Loved your article today on Patch. Regarding Family-Friendly volunteer opportunities here's a list of 20: http://www.1-800-volunteer.org/1800Vol/volunteer-center/viewEventDetails.do?vcId=8447&eventId=13815897&search=no&d-5452-p=2 I'm planning to volunteer with my pre-k daughter, but I haven't picked a favorite, yet. Leanne Bloom Director of Communications and Outreach The Volunteer Center of United Way direct 914-227-9313 office 914-948-4452 www.volunteer-center.org

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