Fostering altruism at the Joy of Giving Party

Join elves at the 22nd annual Joy of Giving Party. (Photo provided — Diane Chase)

It is that time of year when our family is inundated with catalogs and commercials touting all the latest “must have” gifts.

We survive Black Friday, attend Small Business Saturday, and search through the Cyber Monday deals.

To balance our support of industry, we donate during Giving Tuesday. (Apparently, Sunday is still a day of rest.) Though it’s good to be a consumer, patronize our local businesses, and give to charities, I look forward to opportunities that remind all of us to be more thoughtful, whether by word or by action.

It is challenging to find ways to nip the holiday focus on commercialism. Fortunately, my children have attended the annual Joy of Giving Party since they were young. Over the years I’ve seen my kids grow into caring teens who question and want to find solutions to the world’s issues. I believe that having a venue that focuses on the giving rather than the getting, helped strength their caring nature.

There is no fee for the Joy of Giving party, but children are asked to bring an unwrapped gently used or new toy* to donate that has meaning to them. Parents can encourage children to “shop” their bedrooms for toys that can be given a new life or start a conversation about why a certain toy will make another child happy. The hope is that by practicing an unselfish act as a child will encourage the same behavior in an adult.

The 22nd annual Joy of Giving Party is taking place on Saturday, Dec. 9 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Paul Smith’s College Forestry Club Cabin. This free event is packed full of wonderful activities including horse-drawn sleigh rides; healthy snacks, crafts, storytelling, face-painting and music. The real attraction is the ability for each child to give something that has meaning to him or her and have the opportunity to think about other people.

Joy of Giving ADK is just one opportunity to give children the chance to be altruistic. There are also food pantry boxes at most grocery stores as well as “giving trees” at local shops. The Lake Placid Palace Theatre’s Elfing Tree, Kinney Drug’s Senior Santa Tree, and Lake Placid Animal Hospital Tri-Lakes Humane Society’s Giving Tree are just a few examples of ways to allow children to focus on someone other than themselves. Choosing a can of food for the food pantry or fulfilling a tree gift request makes the act of giving tangible and helps to start those conversations that includes children in the act of giving.

Paul Smith’s College is located in the hamlet of Paul Smiths at the junction of Routes 86 and 30. Drive through the college’s main entrance and follow the signs marked “JOY” to get to the Forestry Cabin.

Diane Chase is the author of the “Adirondack Family Activities” guidebook series, “Adirondack Family Time: Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities.”

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