A family tradition of giving

A family tradition of giving | World Vision Blog

Iris and her family in Zambia, who received the gift of joy from a World Vision donor. (Photo: ©2011 James Disch for World Vision)

During the holiday giving season, we all have our go-to places to shop: favorite stores, malls, online catalogues. But do you have a favorite place to give during Christmas?

For five years, the Anderson family’s favorite way to give has been through World Vision’s Gift Catalog. See why this family believes that giving is important, and some of their favorite ways to give!


The holidays are full of family traditions to look forward to. Picking out the perfect tree. Christmas Eve candlelight services. Watching our favorite family Christmas movies.

But my favorite family Christmas traditions are the ones that offer our family a chance to give rather than receive. We look for different ways to bless others every year, but one way has remained consistent for the last five years.

We all purchase gifts through the World Vision Gift Catalog.

I'm actually not sure how it started except that we have been World Vision sponsors for over 10 years. My husband and I sponsored our first child back when we were engaged, and now each of our kids has also picked out a child to sponsor that has the same birthday as they do. So using the Gift Catalog just makes sense. It’s an easy way for my kids to get involved in giving back rather than us just doing something the kids don't understand.

We sit down before Christmas and talk to the kids about why it is important to give to others and tell them what amount they can spend. We give them our money to spend, but as they get older we hope to have them chip in some of their own.

They can pick anything they want without much input from us. Some years they pour through and think very carefully about what they are buying, picking areas that they feel passionately about. Other years, especially when they are little, they usually just point to a picture of a cute animal and are done. 

I asked each of my kids why they like giving through the World Vision Catalog:

Silas (age 5): I love to give animals because they are very cool and can make food. 

Hannah (age 8): I love to give clean water because it helps people have things to drink. I like to give things to other people at Christmas so they can have a happier life. 

Lily (age 11): I like giving out of the Catalog because it helps people. I like to give animals because they serve multiple purposes. Cows and goats can give milk but you can also kill them for their meat. And I also like to give water because if you don't have clean water you can die from diseases. 

Ryan and I typically focus our money on sex trafficking and education for girls

The catalog always starts good conversations about how people live in other parts of the world and how important it is for us to be thankful and not take all our resources for granted. I know that poverty, hunger, and orphans are hard for my kids to get their heads around, but I think Christmas is the perfect time to revisit that conversation. It helps to combat the commercialism and "give me's" that are everywhere my kids turn and turn the focus back where it belongs. 

This holiday season, explore our Gift Catalog and our Child Sponsorship features and find your favorite ways to share our big dream of full life for children in need around the world!

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