Little children do not fully get the concept of “a donation has been made in your name”. Nor would I really expect them to. But when they actually know what has been donated, it’s a bit different. When they get to choose their donation…well, that’s an authentic introduction to philanthropy.

Every Christmas my parents give our family a gift from the World Vision catalogue. One year we supplied a classroom with educational items, another we provided piglets to a family in need. The gift always comes with a card and explanation so that the girls understand the impact.

This year’s gift was even better. My parents purchased a World Vision gift card, and my kids (and my brothers’) were able to go online and choose where they wanted that money to go.
Gifts start at $30 for Mosquito Nets, a Hygiene Kit for a Child, or to keep it closer to home, Feed a Hungry Family in Canada. $50 gets you contributions such as 2 Hens and a Rooster, Art and Music for Children, or Protect a Child Labourer.

For the amount we had, Frannie and Maggie considered a goat, a beehive, a bicycle and repair kit, or helping a family start a business. In the end, they went with “Help Immunize a Community”, which had the following description: “Give immunizations and you give children life. 1.4 million children die needlessly from preventable diseases like measles and polio. You’ll help provide enough of these vital vaccines to protect an entire community of children.” My girls have had all of the standard immunizations, as well as flu shots and extra protection before our trip to Mexico. They could not fathom the idea that so many children get sick because vaccinations are not available to them.

Help Immunize a Community
Photo: Worldvision.ca



We made the final selection on Boxing Day, and now a few days later as I type up this post, Maggie is looking over my shoulder at the photo asking me if the children have stopped dying yet now that they have their needles. Now there’s a gift.

I should be very clear here: if this were the only present my girls received (or even the only item they opened on Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpa’s) they would have been disappointed. Visibly. And, if not in the moment, as I hope I’ve trained them better than that, audibly. But if funds are available to supplement a child’s gift with a chance like this, I would highly recommend it…or any other opportunity for giving that fits your schedule and bank account.

Now since I never remember to mention this before Christmas when it really matters, please save this post for future reference…though of course any occasion can be a reason to give! For more information, please take a moment to check out the World Vision Gift Guide.

3 comments on “Immunizations as Gifts – And My Kids Were Excited!”

  1. What a great way to teach children about charity! I always take my boys shopping every Christmas and have them pick out some toys and clothing that we donate to a family in need. I think it's important for children to learn early that Christmas isn't just about getting gifts.

  2. Thank you for posting this. My daughter is only 2 but my mother in law already gives her World Vision immunizations at Xmas – an addition to the 2-3 other small gifts she receives in total. I am really hoping to instill a desire for this type of giving (or better yet, an understanding that it's a no-brainer) as the kids get older. Lead by example, I guess!

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