As a kid, Christmas was always a magical time. The lights, the tree, the presents – yes, the presents! Remember the excitement of unwrapping all those gorgeous gifts under the tree?
And what about giving? Well, that was fun, too, I guess. Well….I’m not so sure we really got the true joy of giving as kids. I remember my sister and I would typically make gifts for our family. And some of them were quite “nice.” Potholders made from potholder looms (like these) or ornaments made from Perler Beads. We put a lot of time into them, so I guess we were pretty into giving.
Except one year.
One year we were either getting really lazy or we were running out of Perler Beads because we started making way-to-simplistic “ornaments” – a circle, or even a line (think 10 beads in a line, fused together)…..yeah, not so good. I distinctly remember my grandmother unwrapping her line ornament. “Oooh, an icicle!” she exclaimed, with the understanding and love only a grandmother could display at such an unattractive gift. “No,” my sister and I insisted, “It’s a line.”
Yeah, we weren’t too into giving that year. The truth of “It’s more blessed to give than to receive” definitely wasn’t connecting.
I don’t think we were the only kids to struggle with the giving side of Christmas. With so much coming at them, kids often start to become me-centered at Christmas time, asking for things that they want and trying to figure out what’s in each gift with their name on it. (I wasn’t the only one to do that, was I?)
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to get the focus off the getting and onto the giving?
I recently came across this video from Ron Blue. I absolutely love this idea of how to get your kids to experience the joy of giving at Christmas time.
How to Help Your Kids Experience the Joy of Giving this Christmas
In the video, Ron says that he gave each of his grandkids $100 to give away to a person or organization that they felt needed the money. But before you say you can’t afford to do that, consider a few modifications:
- Give each child a lesser amount (such as $20) to give away.
- Take some of the money you planned to give in your year-end giving and allow your kids to determine who you will give it to (either individually or as a family).
- Have your children give a gift of time to someone in need. Think helping someone with their yard, housework, baking, babysitting, etc. Encourage them to find someone who is truly in need.
- Teachers, consider collecting money in your class and allowing them to choose who it is given to. (Maybe give them a few options and have them vote.) Or, have your class give a gift of service to someone in need.
I think a key part of this idea is writing down the experience. Whether it’s a letter to you or just a journal entry, having them write down why they chose that individual or organization and how it made them feel is an important part of the process. It will help solidify the experience, and over the years you can create a collection of great memories of giving.
What have you done with your kids to help them experience the blessing of giving at Christmas? Share your ideas with a comment below.
Photo by asenat29