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Give-Back Birthdays 

A birthday celebration can be a great opportunity to get kids involved in the community. Children are eager to do good deeds. Point them in the right direction, and they'll love the giving as much as the getting.

Food Drive

Ask party guests to bring a nonperishable food item rather than a gift. Have a collection basket with a fancy sign explaining who benefits from the donated food. After the party, take a special trip to the local food shelf with your child.

Donations

Try out this neat website — inlu.com — which allows you to send an electronic invitation with a donate button. You select from a list of charities, including Vermont-based ones, and urge your guests to make a donation rather than bring a gift. Especially for older children with a passion for a particular cause, this is a great way to support their altruism.

Recycle Presents

How do you transform birthday anticipation into empathy for others? Make room for new birthday gifts by getting rid of underused ones. Ask your child to choose some items to donate to a local charity or childcare center. Many accept gently used toys and books, especially during the holiday season. Here are some organizations to consider:

  • HowardCenter, howardcenter.org
  • Child Care Resource, childcareresource.org
  • Salvation Army, use.salvationarmy.org/greaterburlington
  • ReSource, resourcevt.org
  • —Katrina Roberts is a realtor who lives in Monkton with her husband and their three girls.
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