My goal this Christmas is to teach my children that Christmas is not about what presents they get, but appreciating our family and our blessings that we’ve received throughout the year.
Instilling gratitude, compassion, empathy and the joy of giving in to children is an overwhelming job for parents, but it’s my hope that the earlier we start, the easier it will be.
So this year, we’re making our focus on giving and serving as we lead up to Christmas day. Now, my kids are almost 3 and 4, so we’ll be baking a lot of cookies and coloring Christmas cards, but the point is teaching the importance of giving, not receiving and letting them be a part of who and how we serve.
Our Advent Plan:
- Baking cookies (neighbors, coworkers, fireman, policemen, church office)
- Homemade Christmas cards and coloring pages (postman, nursing homes, friends)
- Babysitting for a friend and let the kids be responsible for helping.
- Make food bags for the homeless (protein bars, crackers, dried fruit) and hand them out when you have the opportunity.
- Make homemade Christmas ornaments and let The Hugs Project put them in a care package going overseas to our troops.
- Have kids collect gently used blankets, teddy bears and other “lovey” items then donate them to Mary Abbots Children’s Home.
- Have kids do something nice for each member of your family. Brothers and sisters clean each others rooms, wash dishes for mom, help dad take out the trash.
- Take coats your family has outgrown to a local shelter.
- Cover pine cones in peanut butter and bird seed and take care of the wildlife in your backyard for the winter.
- Take chalk and drive around to your friends’ houses. Have your kids write kind words about the friend on their driveway.
- Wear Santa hats and take doggie treats to a local shelter.
- Take hot chocolate to someone ringing a bell for the salvation army.
- Raid your pantry, or give your child $10, and let them pick out canned goods and take them to the Hope Center of Edmond.
- Make homemade presents to give at Christmas.
- Give gently used books to your teachers at school.
- Practice Christmas songs and go to a nursing home and sing for residents who don’t receive many visitors.
- Adopt a family from Sunbeam Family Services and have your kids help pick out the items on the family’s list.
- Make hot chocolate on a really cold night and take it to the neighbors house.
- Bring a Santa bag full of items from Sunbeam Family Services foster or senior care wish list.
- Don’t forget to let your kids choose.
I started asking my kids ways they wanted to help others and this is what I’ve heard so far:
Let’s clean our friends room!
Let someone unwrap one of my presents. (smh)
Buy a present for Santa.
Give my reindeer a bath. (this is a stuffed animal, so this is not going to happen)
Most of all have fun and try and focus on what you want your family to remember and learn this Christmas. If you need a resource to find ways to give, donate and volunteer, check out: http://knowit.newsok.com/charity-oklahoma/giving
I want your ideas!! What are ways you serve?