Let’s face it, our society is blaring “gimme, gimme, gimme”. Kids dream about what they want for Christmas and can be consumed with themselves.
Why not turn the tables and find a way for your kids to focus on giving to others? There are many ways you can do this, but one of my fondest memories at Christmas time is giving to overseas missionary kids. This became one of our favorite family Christmas traditions.
Each year our family would choose a missionary family that had kids. I would contact their mom to let her know we’d like to buy gifts for her kids, hopefully something they might not be able to afford. She would let us know a few good ideas.
- Sometimes it was educational software.
- Sometimes it was board games.
- Sometimes it was dress-up clothes.
Once we determined how much that gift would cost, my kids would set a monetary goal. I did not give them money to buy these gifts. My kids had to earn money to purchase the items.
In November and December, my kids would sell small loaves of pumpkin bread and chocolate chip cookies. We have great recipes for each of these items. Once they had their orders, we headed to the grocery store for all the ingredients.
And what they were usually doing was making a huge mess, a good mess!
After wrapping the baked goods, they delivered the orders to our neighbors. If necessary, we drove to deliver some of the orders.
Once all the money was collected, the kids had to pay me for the ingredients. Yep, it was also a lesson in economics. With their profit, we would purchase the gifts. Sometimes, that meant a trip to WalMart. Other times, we had to order online.
Next they wrapped the gifts and packaged them for shipping. Our final trip was to the post office to mail the package. My kids saved enough money to pay for the overseas shipping, too.
There are many reasons I like this activity, but here are a few that come to mind right now.
The entire process took many days to complete.
Thus, my kids were thinking about serving others for several days.
The entire family worked together on this Christmas project
My kids had to work or earn the money for the gifts
The business lessons of budgeting, profit, cost of goods sold
Question: How do you encourage your kids to focus on “giving over getting” during Christmas?
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