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Make winter ‘a season of giving’
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By Stephanie Schupska
University of Georgia

With the holidays approaching, Sharon Gibson, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension multicultural specialist, offers ideas to help make the holidays a season of giving.

She aims her suggestions at parents, but many of her tips work for individuals as well.

“Create first aid kits together for those in homeless and women’s shelters,” she said. “Or, think about what you need when you go on a trip; and put calendars, notebooks and pencils in a backpack for homeless people.”

Another activity can also help parents get their children to clean their rooms.

“Get kids to go through their closets and toy boxes as they start thinking about gifts, and get them to look at what they already have, and find something that’s gently used they could give away,” she said.

She emphasized “gently used,” reminding givers to donate only things they would want to receive.

Also, when buying toys for seasonal gifting programs, she says don’t forget the teenagers.

“Often we think about little kids and toys,” Gibson said. “Teens are in an age group that tends to be forgotten this time of year.”

Another age group that’s often overlooked is the elderly.

“Contacting senior citizens centers and facilities is a great place to start,” she said.

Not all gifts have to be presents. Donations to various organizations are also good ways to help out locally.

“Giving is more than giving an item,” she said. “Giving is giving of your time.”

(Stephanie Schupska is a news editor with the University of Georgia Public Affairs Office.)

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