This is one message that is hard for children to understand. Children are pretty selfish by nature. Momma once pointed that out to me, and it really is true. I am trying to raise Jess and Spence to want to give, not just get. And Christmas is as good a time as any, right?
Last year, we did a Toys for Tots day. And I was super proud of their ability to choose things to donate that they really liked. This was not just their typical behavior of only wanting to donate toys that are broken beyond repair or missing important parts. I was so proud.
This year, we may not have time for a day like that. But we are still giving. And I hope that the example of seeing the adults in their life giving whenever possible will also help instill a generous spirit in my sweet ones.
Here are some things we have done this year:
We had the opportunity to "adopt" 2 angels from church. We got a 13 year old girl and a 14 year old girl. Momma and I had lots of fun picking things out for them, although I realized I am not very trendy! I also felt old saying things like, "I don't even know what the kids are wearing these days." Yikes! We were only allowed to spend $40 and we had to wrap it all in 2 boxes per child. We had to be frugal and careful and also add a lot. I am not a huge fan of math. . . But we managed to do a pretty good job and after I crammed a book, an outfit, and pj's all in one box, we made it. The other box had shoes and socks. Anyway. The gifts turned out beautifully and of course, I delivered them to church in such a hurry that I did not take pictures. Oops.
We also got to pick a tag off the tree at Spencer's school. Their tree splits up the needs and only has about 1 item per tag. So everyone can do a little bit. That was a great idea, so Spencer and I found a puzzle and a pair of pajamas that will hopefully make someone very happy! And once they were wrapped, we even got to put it under the tree ourselves.
I also love what Borders is doing. Our Borders is giving people the chance to buy a book for be donated to foster children in our area. How cool! So we picked out a Curious George to donate. It was so easy! And we were glad to help!
One of the most basic things that I do is to never pass up a Salvation Army bell ringer. I have a tender place in my heart for the Salvation Army. Maybe it is because my Poppy and his Kiwanis cronies ring the bell to help out. But I always remember Momma letting us put the cash in the bucket. So now, my kids are the ones who are putting the money in. And this is one thing that I do not make them take turns. If they are both with me, they each get at least a dollar to put in. And have you noticed how high tech they are now? You can even text a donation!
Also Jessa's school is collecting toys and games for a children's hospital in St. Louis. What a great idea! They sent home a list of items that they would like to have. So we bought 3 puzzles with varying themes and age levels to give to the hospital. I love that the schools are trying to reinforce the idea of giving.
The kids have also helped me pick out gifts for all of their teachers and the bus driver. And they are having fun helping me stuff goodie bags for the mail man, the UPS man, the FedEx man, and even the garbage men. I love to let people know how much they are appreciated, you know?
I am also stealing my Daddy's idea and baking small pound cakes in Christmas loaf pans to give to special people. It only takes a little time to give someone something delicious and homemade! I distributed 9 yesterday, and they were even still warm. . .
And as I am typing this, I am thinking I may have to make time for another Toys for Tots outing. I mean, these commercials alone make me love this organization.
So I am really enjoying giving this Christmas. And I am am hoping that somewhere in the heads and hearts of my children that it is sinking in. It really is more blessed to give than receive. And to be perfectly honest, my favorite part of Christmas and opening gifts is watching the faces of the people that I bought for. Or hearing positive feedback. I love to give people perfect gifts, whether they are those less fortunate or teachers, parents, husband, and children.