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We've spent the last two weekends decorating for Christmas. I have been enjoying the process of expanding our Christmas decorations this year, and I love the way our home has turned out. I have even noticed (just as science told me) that decorating for the holiday puts me in an overall cheerier mood than usual. I hope that my family feels the same way.

December always flies by in a blur. And, it will feel extra blurry this year as I am taking two trips before the week of Christmas. I am very excited about both, but I am a little concerned that all this activity will make the month fly by even faster than it normally does.

As I've been out and about in the world the last few weeks, I've noticed an uptick in the requests for charitable giving: Rounding up prices to the nearest dollar to go to the food bank, collecting donations for local and national charities, food and toy drives and angel trees...

I am thankful for these extra opportunities to give, and I am thankful that my son sees all this activity. Because - and this may not surprise anyone - charitable children make for happier adults. My son loves being the instigator of an act of kindness - even though he doesn't always remember that. So, the last couple of weeks, I have been reminding him of ways he can make someone's day a little brighter.

That means he hands out hand warmers to the parent volunteers who open the doors in the car drop-off line at school, or he helps make gift bags for his teachers, or he looks for spare change that he can put into the Salvation Army donation bins outside of the stores. I want him to remember how giving to others makes us happier in the long run - even after the Christmas season is over.

Do you encourage your children to give to charities over the holiday season? Tell me in the comments.

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