Etiquette Help for the Holidays
Teaching Kids About Giving to the Less Fortunate
Q. We are teaching our children about giving by donating to Toys for Tots and other programs through our church and school. Now our kids want to know why Santa doesn’t have everyone covered. What’s the best response?
A. According to the renowned Jewish philosopher, Maimonides, one of the highest levels of charity is giving anonymously, without knowing who the recipient will be—as opposed to when you know the recipient, which isn’t quite as selfless, or he knows you, which can make him feel ashamed. So kudos to you and the little humanitarians you are raising. As for their pesky question, try giving a partial “answer” and encourage your kids to fill in the blanks: “We are helping Santa make sure there are enough gifts for everyone. Why do you think he needs our help?” This way, “the child provides a response that is appropriate for his or her cognitive level,” says Smith. (And you’re off the hook.) Chances are the reply—“Santa has to skip some houses when he takes a dinner break!” or “He doesn’t know how to make Star Wars stuff!”—will also be more clever than anything you could invent.
Why book a flight to a touristy beach resort when you can try one of these off-the-beaten-path weekend escapes?