This time of year can be funny. I sometimes feel like a hypocrite because as much as I try to simplify our Christmas and keep our focus away from presents, I find myself wanting to buy my family all the things! (P.S. I have something for you too, so read all the way to the end!) Gift giving is definitely one of my love languages and I would really like my kids to find the joy in the giving part and not just in the getting part. It’s so easy for kids to get wrapped up in the excitement of presents on Christmas morning, which is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as they remain grateful, gracious and also joyful to give to others as well.
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Kids are really special little beings in that they can be super self-centred gimme gimme monsters AND loving and generous givers at the same time. They are still learning and growing after all. Plus, adults can be that way too. This year, we have definitely levelled up in terms of giving to others. Our oldest is now 4.5 years old (how???) and so I’m finding this a really crucial time for us to put intentional focus on giving and helping others.
Of course, giving and helping others is something that should be done year round and not just during the holidays, but this is a great time to start and reinforce the joy of giving with our children!
Here is what we are doing this year and hope to continue throughout the years
Operation Christmas Child
We love this organisation! It was really fun to get Lilly involved this year in choosing the age and gender of the recipient of our box and then help us fill it up with fun things and essential items. We talked a lot about why some children may not receive gifts and why they would be excited to receive a bar of soap in their box. We watched some videos of the children receiving their box and they had a great impact! There were a couple times when Lilly really wanted the doll we put in for the little girl, but we just put the focus back on this child that may not get anything else and how special this gift will be to her.
Secret Santa for Seniors
This year, a member of our community organised this amazing event. Each family was paired up with a senior that may not have any family around this time of year to provide a small gift. I was really glad to have another opportunity for our family to help out and put a smile on someone’s face.
I included a few ways to give back in our Christmas Calendar this year. One day we are going through all our toys and clothes and donating them and another day we are collecting cans to give to the local Food Bank. We also donated new toys to the Toys for Tots and non-perishable food items randomly throughout the season to collecting organisations.
Involve the whole family in purchasing gifts, writing cards, making gifts and giving gifts
Ever since she was able to, we had Lilly make and write in cards to family members. Besides it being economical and super cute, it gets her excited about giving it to each person. Same goes for making gifts, buying them and wrapping them. Sometimes she is so excited to give the gift that she ends up giving away the secret! (We’re working on that part.)
This year, we have been able to help raise money for a very special cause. My Mother-in-Law recently travelled to Haiti and fell in love with the people-especially the children. She spoke with a couple people that had a desire to purchase land and build an orphanage for the children in their community. When she came back, she took it upon herself, along with her amazing church community, to spearhead the whole thing and raise the money needed to purchase the land, and build the Centre! It has been a great learning experience for all of us, Lilly especially, and a way to give back and be aware of how blessed we are to have family, a house, clothes and enough food to eat, let alone ALL the other things we have. Lilly, my mom, and I worked really hard to make some special items to sell at our local market one week with all proceeds going to help the children of Haiti, as Lilly says. It was fun and very much appreciated!
Spread Holiday Cheer
We like to bring Christmas goodies and cards to our neighbours and the police station to show that we care. Sometimes such a small act of kindness can mean so much and can completely brighten someone’s day or whole holiday!
Read, Talk and Discuss and Model
This is something so simple but I think makes a huge impact on kids. They are always listening and watching us so we need to be good models for them and include a regular discussion about why we give and how it makes us feel. There are a few really good books that talk about the Joy of Giving as well:
Do you try to help your kids find the joy of giving? What would you add to this list? I have a gift for you so keep reading! Happy Holidays!
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