‘Tis the Season!

We’re loving the Christmas season around here. The Smiths are the type of people who listen to Christmas carols a little too much, decorate way too early, and head to the mall in the peak of crowds. We love spoiling our kids this time of year, but we’ve made a conscious effort to teach our boys the joy of giving. I’m not gonna lie-it’s a little tricky when so much focus is given towards, “what are you going to ask Santa for?” and “how many days until you get to open your presents?” Our hope is that they will learn that giving and doing for others can bring as much enjoyment as receiving gifts some day. After all, there’s nothing quite like putting a smile on someone’s face to make your heart happy.

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Like this charitable act. “Put your heads in those things so mommy and daddy can get a good laugh!”

 

Since the boys are only 2 and 4, it takes a little creativity to think of ways to get them involved in the act of giving or doing for others. Here’s some of the ways we tried to get them in the “giving” spirit this year…

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We donated money to the Salvation Army red kettles.

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We made cards and artwork for our friends who donated money to our St. Jude fundraiser for sick children.

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They delivered cards to all the kids in their class.

 

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They picked out and purchased a toy for the Toys for Tots bin.

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They each went shopping for a Christmas present for their brother. (Dollar Store finds- gotta love ’em!)

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They went shopping for presents for Albert and Gato.

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We made cards for the mailman and trash collectors.

 

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The mailman’s surprise.

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The trash collector’s gift and card.

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We brought a small gift for each of their teachers. (Contemplated the ol’ alcoholic gift for Nolan’s teacher. Bless her patient heart.)

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They gave a small treat to each of their classmates.

And probably the biggest sacrifice this Christmas season was cleaning out their old “baby toys” and donating them to a local ministry thrift shop. This was the toughest part for Nolan- he insisted that those were HIS toys. He had a hard time letting go (but was more willing once he realized that made more room for new toys!) We also gave away all of their clothes that they outgrew recently and donated food to a food bank- thankfully that was done with a more generous heart. It was so touching to hear Brady’s thoughts about how much he cared that other children might not have all of the things that he has. Kids can be amazingly empathetic.

I hope this is the start of raising children who have a love of doing things for others. While I still fully intend on taking part in all the sparkly, indulgent, over-the-top Christmas traditions, maybe, just maybe, it will be done with a charitable mindset that rubs off on our kids!

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