Einstein said, “The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.” This is a difficult lesson to teach or mirror for children when everything during the build up to Christmas is about consuming. My children have been preparing their Christmas lists since October. My youngest has written a card with crayon drawings and descriptions. My preteen has filled my Amazon wish list with his Christmas list and my oldest published her Christmas list on her blog and Facebook with links to websites and photos of the items. At least they are organized, thinking ahead and know what they want. There is nothing outrageous on their lists. The lists are all thoughtful and reasonable. Yet, I know that it is time to refocus them on giving, because they obviously have receiving down.
As a family, we ‘adopt a family’ in need every year. With each stage I have developed strategies to get them engaged and directly involved in the giving process. First, we all review the needs and request the family has made to their social worker and have a brainstorm a list of gifts for the family. My youngest comes up with ideas for the youngest members of the family while my teens come up with ideas for the older members. Then we divide up the tasks. Here are the steps that we follow:
- Brainstorm Gift List
- Divide list.
- Older preteen and teen actually responsible for purchasing items.
- Younger kids help on shopping trip find the items for the cart
3) Gift wrapping night.
- Younger kids make the wrap by stamping or coloring brown craft paper.
- Older kids wrap the gifts dividing the tasks.
3) Deliver Gifts.
- We deliver the gifts to the family or donation center together.
No matter how crazy the holiday season has gotten, giving as a family to a family in need brings us all back to what the season is really about—the joy of giving. From youngest to oldest, every year this ends up being one of their best and most memorable holiday traditions.
Best Friends for Animals
Heal the Bay