Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Season of Giving

I know I don't want to overdo it with traditions, because I want Christmas to be as relaxing as possible, but we really want to instill in the girls the whole reason for Christmas!  We don't want the season to be about getting, but rather, giving.  As a teenager, our family would spend a day making sack lunches.  We would then pack them up, along with hot chocolate/coffee, gloves and hats and take them downtown to the homeless shelter, and areas around there, to pass out.  It was always so eye opening and will always be something I remember.  I would love to do that when the girls get older, but it definitely wouldn't be age appropriate.  I've been wracking my brain, trying to think of simple ways to help the girls embrace the attitude of gratitude.

Here are a few I've come up with:

1)  A Jesus Bank-  Cleaning out my purses and finding that plethora of change yesterday got me thinking.   Think of what we could collect if we started at the first of the year!  So for next year, we are going to start a collection jar for Jesus.  When the girls get money, we will talk about giving some of it to Jesus.  As a family, we will put all of our loose change in.  In December, we will decide as a family what project we should do that would help someone else.  This year, we will use my purse money and  I'm so excited!  We haven't figured out what to do with it yet, but I'll keep you posted.

2)  Toys for Tots- Rosie has hit the age where anytime we go in the store, she sees toys she wants.  This was kind of shocking to me, because we've never been ones to go down the toy aisle, unless we were there for a purpose.  We've made a conscience effort to not spoil the girls--their grandparents do a good job at that;).  Isn't that what grandparents are for?!  So anyway, I've always said, "We can't get it today, but maybe you might get it for Christmas or your birthday."  This was a big mistake!  Now anytime she sees something she wants, she'll say, "Can I get that for Christmas?!"  The last thing I intended was for Christmas to be about presents!  I've now changed my tune when she asks.  I thought it might be fun to now focus her attention on what we could get for someone else.  I told Rosie about all the kids who won't get any presents or even food for Christmas.  This was very surprising to her.  I told her instead of worrying about presents for her, which she will get, we should think about the little kiddos that won't get any presents and try to find them something special.  So, hopefully, when we are shopping, we can now look for things for them, instead of it being a me-centered activity.  I'll let the girls pick out a few and give them to Toys for Tots, or another toy program.  

3)  Salvation Army- I always enjoy giving to the Salvation Army bell ringers outside of stores, but this year, I thought I would start having Rosie and Kiki give the money instead, so they start to take ownership of the giving.

4) Church Donation-  Our church collects food for food baskets at Christmas time.  I will let the girls pick out some food items to donate and take them to the donation area at church.  

Has your family found ways to make Christmas about giving?  I would love some suggestions!  

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