3 Ways to Have a Virtually Brilliant Birthday during COVID-19

There’s no doubt about it: things are a little crazy right now. But in the midst of the fear and anxiety over COVID-19, celebrations are all the more important.

In my family we have five birthdays in the next few weeks. Since we all live in different parts of the world, we don’t usually get together. But over time, we’ve learned a few clever tricks to make birthdays special even when we’re miles apart. So if you or your kids have a birthday in the next couple of weeks or months, here are three ways to “lock down” your birthday celebration and have some safe, friendly fun in the midst of a pandemic.

  1.   Virtual Baking Competition

Do you love baking shows? My family does. And you can do your very own family bake-off using your favourite social media tools. This year, the cousins in our family are getting together to do a Sugar Rush style competition virtually. We’ve chosen one day to bake a spring-themed cake or dessert—you can choose whatever sparks joy for you! Once your confections are done, connect with your family and show off your creations. (You can even get Grandma and Grandpa to judge!)

  1. Throw a Virtual Party

You can’t catch COVID-19 over the Internet, thank goodness! Plan a time with your friends, create a  Zoom link (free for up to 100 connections) and invite your friends and family and come together for a virtual party.

Add in an online quiz where everyone uses their smart phone to answer questions—a fun and friendly competition! There are lots of choices online—my favourite is Kahoot. Just set up the quiz ahead of time and everyone can use their smart phone to answer in real time.  It’s a great way to get to know the honoured guest.

If your kids are missing their school friends, you can also use Zoom to help them get together. Ask the class parent to send the link to the class so that everyone can come online and sing happy birthday to your child. (You’ll also be giving all those kids’ parents a few seconds of break.)

One bonus? There’s no limit to the guest list when it’s virtual!

  1. Donate to Charity

Now more than ever our small Canadian charities will need our support. They are often on the front lines helping people access food and essential services.  Set up a Wish & Give link and ask your friends to donate in lieu of individual gifts. Your local food bank will thank you!

You can contribute the cost of dinner or bottle of wine to the charity of your choice and use your birthday to spread a little compassion during a crisis. I promise you’ll feel great about yourself. Win-win!

It’s time for the Wish & Give March Break Charity Challenge

Home for 3 weeks? We’ve got you covered!

It’s time for the 3rd Annual Wish & Give March Break Charity Challenge!  And in Ontario we have 3 weeks to complete the challenge!

We’ve come up with the 5 top challenges for kids of all ages to accomplish over March Break.

Goal setting is so good for kids!  Goals are a great way to keep kids learning, motivated and feeling good.

And even better by reaching the goal? Kids are fundraising for their favourite cause!  Canadian charities need our support more than ever right now. And it feels good to give back! Every March Break Challenge is a fundraiser for your favourite cause.

So, what is your kid’s stretch goal?  Think of something so big that you would sponsor them too!  The past few years our kids have been motivated to reach huge goals in reading or learning a new skill. They’ve each chosen goals that impressed me enough to sponsor them!  And now they plan all year what their March Break goal will be!

Top 5 Challenges to try:

Reading 
How many books can your child read in the next 3 weeks?  This works for any age, whether it’s learning to read or reading full novels.  Is it 10, 20 or 50 books?  Pick a big goal, they really can do it!

Exercise
It’s never been a better time to get outside!  The weather is mild and social distancing works well outdoors.  How far can they run or bike?  Set a big goal and train for it.  Maybe it’s learning to bike or biking 20km for the first time.  Grandma will be proud to sponsor this goal!

Learn something new
3 weeks is plenty of time to pick up a new skill.  Is it baking, cooking, doing the laundry or knitting a hat?  Encourage your children to learn something new.  Be sure to post pictures with the hashtag #MarchBreakCharityChallenge so we can celebrate these new skills!

Daily routines
No better time than now to start a healthy daily routine and do it every day for 3 weeks!  Is it making the bed every day, cleaning the house, putting away toys daily, or helping mommy and daddy.

Math
Time off from school is perfect for brushing up on new math skills. Is it telling time, multiplication tables, adding, division, fractions?  Set a big goal and get to work!

It’s easy to set up your March Break Charity Challenge at www.wishandgive.ca

  1. Simply log in
  2. Select ‘Invitation’
  3. Choose your charity
  4. Create your invitation – name your prize in the group gift section
  5. Send the URL to your friends and family and ask them to sponsor you (tip…don’t enter the email addresses online, just sent the URL)

For more information on how to set up your March Break Charity Challenge ‘invitation’ click here: March Break Charity Challenge Tool Kit. The tool kit provides a step by step process.

I’d love to hear what your family is going to do for your challenges?  Please share more ideas below.

Have fun!! And thanks for giving back this March Break!  The world is better because of you!

Be sure to tag #MarchBreakCharityChallenge so we can celebrate your accomplishments!!

March Break Charity Challenge Example

Curious what a March Break Charity Challenge Invitation looks like?

Click below to see our daughter’s invitation from last year:

https://www.wishandgive.ca/events/details/221/zos-march-break-challenge

After setting up your invitation, email the URL to your friends and family.

Tip: don’t input emails into the platform or your friends and family will receive the automated email inviting them to a party. 🙂

March Break Challenge

How are you spending March Break? Traveling, staying home or camp?

This one week off is a great time to help your kids set and achieve a personal goal while raising money for their favourite cause!

It’s simple.

Pick a goal
Set up an ‘invitation’
Send the personalized URL to your friends and family
Ask them to sponsor you
Accomplish your goal
Earn a prize
Raise money for a great cause

And feel good!!  

The past two years both of our kids (now 8 and 9) have set huge goals, either in reading or conquering a fear.  So huge that I sponsored them too!  And they reached it!  Proud mom moment!

It’s amazing to see what kids can do if they set their mind to it.  I was so proud of each of them. And, yes, earning a prize was a huge incentive too!

Join us this March as together we grow the next generation of givers!

Click here for our March Break Challenge Took Kit:

March Break Charity Challenge Tool Kit

Celebrate your Co-workers in a fun & easy way!

We have a solution to improve office celebrations and make everyone feel great at the same time!

Do you celebrate birthdays, weddings or new babies at work?  We hope so!  We spend more time with our co-workers than our own families sometimes.  They deserve to be celebrated!

But who is organizing these celebrations?  Who passes around a card, tracks the contributions on excel, buys the gift or gift card?  It’s a lot of work and usually falls to the same staff person over and over.

Remember the last time an envelope was passed around the office to collect cash for a co-workers upcoming wedding or baby shower but not having any cash on hand to contribute?  Were you the one passing it around, trying to track said envelope each night, tracking contributions and sending reminders?

Wish & Give will make celebrating and gifting your co-worker easier!  And help everyone feel great at the same time!  A win-win.

Wish & Give is an online invitation platform that manages group gifting.  The twist?  Every invitation includes an option to donate to the honoured guests favourite charity. 

Science has proven it feels good to give, so you’re basically giving a shot of happiness to your entire department!

To get started, create your free personalized invitation online at www.wishandgive.ca and send the personalized URL to your department.  Everyone can contribute with their credit card with a few easy clicks.  Wish & Give will send the cash to the honoured guest and to the charity.   Office parties have never been simpler.

 

3 Birthday Party Trends – That are here to stay!

Birthdays are a big deal!  And should be celebrated!  Here are 3 trends that we hope/know are here to stay!

1. Group Gifts with a Charitable Donation

No more shopping!!  Woohoo!  This trend is here to stay.  Parents can set up their invitation online through Wish & Give (www.wishandgive.ca) and the guests contribute toward a group gift and to the charity of hosts choice.  A win-win.

Doing everything online saves the guest parent at least an hour, maybe more, from having to drive to the store, pick out a piece of nonrecyclable plastic, find the wrapping paper, wrap it…you get my point.  Plus, it’s environmentally friendly.  The birthday kid can use the cash gift for an experience, one larger gift or save it and learn the value of a dollar.  And we all get to feel great about giving to a local charity.

And don’t forget it’s a great way to teach both the birthday kid and the guest kids the importance of giving back!  Special events turned into important life lessons.  A win-win!

Create your personalized invitation at www.wishandgive.ca

2. Sustainable Loot Bags

What kid doesn’t go giddy over a tiny plastic jar of slime or a plastic slinky, but then it just ends up tossed to the side after a few hours of entertainment.  Not to mention the environmental waste plastic causes.

Candy is another sticky subject.  Do kids really need more sugar after a party?

A few sustainable options we love for loot bags:

  • Books
  • Tee shirt or pajamas
  • Gift card to a local café, ice cream store or bookstore
  • Upcycled plastic toys from www.tinytoyco.com
3. No Cupcakes at School

Save the treats for the party and at home! With 20+ kids in the class, kids are getting extra treats almost every week at school!  Passing out treats is one more time (20 more times) kids with allergies are ‘different’ and can’t partake in the celebration.  A few years ago my school banned treats and I’m all for it!

Still want to do something at school? Have your child pick out a new book for the classroom.  Or talk to the teacher about how they mark this special occasion.  There are lots of ways to make each child feel special without treats involved!

 

Watch how to set up a Personalized Wish & Give Invitation

Wondering how to set up a Wish & Give birthday party invitation?  It can be intimidating to use a new website for the first time, I hear ya!

This video walks you through each step.  Creating a beautiful personalized invitation in less than 5 minutes.  Enter emails or send the private URL to your guests and begin tracking RSVPs.

Happy party planning!

If you get stuck, email us at info@wishandgive.ca

My daughter loved her Wish & Give party and so did I. The website was easy to use and made sending invites quick and easy to track the RSVP’s. Heather

You are Invited to Join the March Break Charity Challenge

Calling all parents, children, and teens!  This March Break, Wish and Give is challenging kids to do something different!  Something better for your family and better for the community.  So, put down the devices and join our March Break Charity Challenge!

We are challenging kids to set a personal goal and fundraise for their favourite local charity.

What do we mean by a personal goal?
Encourage your kids to choose something that is a real stretch for them.  Is it reading 10 chapter books?  Learning to ride a bike?  Learning to cook?  Think about what will motivate you to sponsor your own kid!  Last year it was reading for my daughter; I was so proud of her I sponsored her too!

And what makes it even better…. your child wins a cash prize at the end!

So, this March Break let’s down our devices, stretch ourselves and our kids, learn a new skill and give back to our community!

It’s simple to get started: 

1. log into www.wishandgive.ca
2. select ‘invitation’
3. choose a charity
4. set a personal goal
5. name your prize
6. send the URL to your friends and family

During the week, post pictures of your kid’s progress on social media using the  hashtag #MarchBreakCharityChallenge. 

After the goal is accomplished send a picture to info@wishandgive.ca. We want to celebrate your kid’s achievements!  We’ll send you the cash that was raised for your child’s group gift/prize and the donation directly to the charity.

Get ready to accomplish something new this March Break!

For more details on how to get started refer to the Took Kit:

Find out more in our Tool Kit: March Break Charity Challenge Tool Kit 2019

 

March Break Charity Challenge

How to Reduce Clutter, Prevent Lego-Related Food Injuries and Make a Better World

Maybe you’re the world’s most organized person. Maybe your house is always clean, the laundry is always done, and the children’s toys are in labelled compartments, neatly stored in their rooms.

Or maybe your house looks a little more like mine with a healthy sprinkling of LEGO, books and miscellaneous art projects on almost every surface. I love Christmas, but there is a part of me that looks with unspeakable dread at the piles of toys knowing that more ‘stuff’ has just landed into my home.  The feeling is compounded with one birthday in the fall and the second in late winter! It would be easy to shake my fist at the toy companies, but the problem is that I’m partly responsible, too.  I can’t blame all the stuff on the grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends, I also like to shop for them and spoil them on birthdays and holidays.

But sometimes, countless gifts aren’t the best way to show love. Instead of excitement, kids can quickly get overwhelmed by too many choices, bouncing from one gift to the next until they’re sitting in the middle of a pile of toys saying, “I’m bored!”

While it’s amazing and fun to celebrate each other at birthdays (and we should), do we need to celebrate with more stuff?

In October 2017 I launched WISH & GIVE —a different way to celebrate (and save your feet from stepping on discarded toys)!  Each event supports a local charity or non-profit.  It’s not only for children’s parties but grown-up parties too.

By using WISH & GIVE for birthday parties, children still receive a gift, but guests are asked to contribute towards one bigger, more meaningful, gift and to give a donation to charity on the child’s behalf. Imagine this: Instead of your child opening yet another stuffy that will collect dust one day, your child gets something they actually wanted, and they get to feel good about giving back.

What you support is completely up to you! I’d encourage you to sit down together to choose a charity or non-profit to support. You search by postal code to find a charity near you. It’s a great way to discover the amazing things happening right in your backyard. All 86,000+ charities in Canada are on the site and any non-profit can be added (just contact me at info@wishandgive.ca).

By refocusing celebrations, starting with young children, we will raise a generation of thoughtful, caring individuals who are just as concerned about the world around them as they are their own wellbeing.  I’m seeing the fruits of this with the kids who have already used WISH & GIVE for their birthday.

So here is to less stuff (and foot injuries and clutter) and more giving!

Looking for the perfect teacher’s gift this holiday?

Group gift giving is a perfect way to show your appreciation for your child’s teacher or coach this season.  But we understand coordinating everyone can be complicated and time consuming.

Wish and Give is an easy solution to group gifting! And you help a Canadian charity at the same time!

It’s easy…simply set up an invitation on wishandgive.ca and send the URL to the parents in your child’s class or team via email or text. Ask your teacher or coach about a charity that is close to their heart and parents can contribute to both the gift and the charity.

Wish and Give will send the cash gift to your teacher or coach and the donation directly to the charity. Saving time, being green and spreading that oh-so-good feeling of giving.

Happy Holidays!

“As a teacher, I am very grateful for the thoughtful acts of appreciation and kindness that I get from my students, but to be honest, I don’t need a lot of things.  Wish and Give allows the parents of my students to donate to a charity that is important to me (Sistema Toronto), while also giving me a portion of the money that I could spend on something for myself.  I think it’s a fantastic idea.  It is better for the environment, convenient for parents, and we get to give back to charities that could really use some extra support!”
S. Wong, Elementary Teacher at Humbercrest P.S.