My middle daughter, Gentry, does not like pumpkin bread . . . at all. In her office last year, she had to bring something that represented a memory during our kids Christmas. She thought and thought, but kept coming back to the pumpkin bread we made as a family when she was growing up. She doesn’t like the taste of pumpkin bread, but she remembered making the pumpkin bread, selling the pumpkin bread, and using that money to bless another family.
Which Christmas tradition did she take to her office last year?
She baked pumpkin bread for her co-workers, not because she liked it, not because she enjoyed eating it, but because she used it to do something for people outside her family. To bless another family by selling pumpkin bread.
How did we use pumpkin bread to bless another family?
We did not bake pumpkin bread and give it to others. Instead, I thought of ways we could reach out beyond our family internationally. I don’t know where I got this idea but I now realize it was successful. Successful in helping our kids become others-focused for a life-time.
How to Bless Other Families with your Kids Christmas
First, we chose an international missionary family that had kids. Only one family each year. I corresponded with the mom letting her know we would like to buy Christmas gifts for her kids. We wanted to buy something they would not buy themselves, but would be appreciated by their children. What is it that your kids might like, that you can’t afford? Whatever they said (within reason) was our goal.
I did not give my kids the money for these gifts. They had to earn money for the gifts. During November and December, my kids sold small loaves of pumpkin bread and chocolate chip cookies. In fact, to this day, they make better chocolate chip cookies than I do.
My kids would take orders in November and distribute the baked goods on Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving. They would have another set of orders for Christmas. We would choose a delivery date before Christmas, but they would collect the money with the order.
After baking all the goodies, they would pay me for the ingredients. Whatever money was left over, the kids used to buy gifts and pay for shipping. Usually, we would calculate how much it costs to ship to that missionary family. (Note to self: homeschool project to calculate shipping.) How much does it cost to ship to Africa? How much does it cost to ship to Italy? How much does it cost to ship to Czechoslovakia?
Once they calculated their shipping costs, they knew how much money could be used for their gifts. From there, they looked for the best possible gifts. One year, we bought educational computer games. Another year, we bought dress-up clothes. One year, we had a family tell us, “You know, we really don’t need anything. But there is a missionary family next door that could use some board games. Would you mind using your money for them?” And that’s exactly what we did.
This was an awesome activity. It’s one of our my favorite kids Christmas activities to encourage being others-focused. Actually, the kids still speak fondly of their times together serving another family. If you think about Gentry’s story, you can see that it had a huge impact on her. Such a great memory that she baked pumpkin bread, despite the fact she does not enjoy pumpkin bread.
That’s the spirit of Christmas. It isn’t just the Bible story. It’s the Bible in action.
In your kids Christmas this year, how are you teaching the love of Jesus? How will you show unconditional love? Who do you know that you can love unconditionally this Christmas? A family that can’t repay your family.
Make a list of families. Choose one. Let your kids earn money to bless that family, to show God’s unconditional love in a tangible way.
If you would like to follow our family’s Easy Bake Sale Items for Christmas project, I have printables to help you get started. You’ll receive a business plan chart, budget charts, order forms, recipes and other printables to get your organized. Just enter your name & email above
I love the story about Gentry and the pumpkin bread. That’ll preach.
Thanks Carri. It was so encouraging when I heard Gentry share her story last Christmas.
I love the story about the pumpkin bread. And thanks for the chance to win…we could really use that this year! Here’s hoping!!
For Christmas gifts for our kids.
Sandy, Thanks for your kind words about the pumpkin bread. I’m excited to be a part of the giveaway and can’t wait to see which families we get to bless.
Such a great idea about having the kids raise the money themselves. I feel that alone will be such a great lesson. Thanks for the ideas.
My kids grew up in an entrepreneurial family. They worked for us and we paid well when they were in high school. I don’t know how I thought of the pumpkin bread idea, but it stuck! They are all mission-minded kids, even as adults. Praise God!
Love that this has built in math lessons as well!
If you read much of my blog, you’ll find out I love integrating academics into real life. In fact, tomorrow I’ll share 5 Clues to Putting Christ Back into Christmas. One of those clues has to do with relaxing, taking a break from academics and integrating Christmas into your homeschool.
This would be such a blessing. I have a back injury and have had to stop working while the doctor tries to fix my back. I do not know when or if I will be able to return to work. We are living off my husband’s SSI check right now. We have 2 children at home, 3 adult children – 2 are married, 3 grandchildren, and I have 2 nieces we normally buy for. We all know that presents are not the reason for Christmas and they do not expect much, if anything this year, but it would be nice to be able to get them all a little something.
Catherine, I’m so sorry to hear about your back injury. Back issues can stop you in your tracks. At least my back issues have slowed me down at times. I’m excited to be a part of the giveaway and can’t wait to see which families we get to bless.
Thanks for the story
You’re welcome, Susan
I would prob get Christmas gifts for my girls.
Sounds like a great idea.I’m excited to be a part of the giveaway and can’t wait to see which families we get to bless.
Getting our kids to think of others is so important!
It is important…and hard to do in our society today.
I would totally use this money with my kids to buy gifts for less fortunate kids in the area. My kids love picking out toys for local groups that give gifts to others at Christmas.
This money would make my children’s Christmas so much better! We have a 3 year old with a severe heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Because of this, she has a gtube and is can get sick a lot more easily than a normal 3 year old. For this reason, I am a teacher and my husband stays at home with her. We also have 2 other children in middle and high school, so emotionally and financially it can be so draining sometimes. We survive every month with faith in God that he will get us through this, one day at a time. I worry so much about my children’s Christmas and being able to make it amazing for them. I am so excited about this Christmas because not only are we blessed to still have our little miracle with us, but she is SO excited about Santa and Christmas time and her eyes sparkle each time we mention Christmas! This money would mean that we could possibly afford a little more or afford to pay our bills on time as well. Thanks so much for the opportunity and God Bless! He is the true meaning for the season… always! 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I prayed for your 3 year old and your family. May God bless you for your faithfulness to Him and your desire to follow Him.
Thank you so much! Prayers are so appreciated! She has her own facebook page you can follow too… Team Andi Claire. 🙂
If our family were to win the money, we would use it for additional items for our music endeavors.
Patti, That’s a cool use of the money. What type of music endeavors?
This money would bless us by helping reduce our credit card debt.
That would be awesome to pay off your credit card debt. I’m excited to be a part of the giveaway and can’t wait to see which families we get to bless.
My husband, four children (ages 22, 20, 18, and 16) all play in our homeschool band and/or strings programs. We need instrument stands, music stands and a few other items. We own three violins, a viola, a cello, an upright bass, a flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, French horn, trombone, trumpet and baritone
Thank you for helping me to remember to teach my child “other’s first” – I love your bake sale ideas!
Thanks for your kind words. Let me know if your family sells baked goods and how it goes
That would be such a blessing for us. We’re going through a rough patch financially. I would use it to buy my kids Christmas presents, and maybe pay some bills!!
Thanks for sharing. I’m excited to be a part of the giveaway and can’t wait to see which families we get to bless.
There is a wonderful family with 7 kids who’s mother (only in her 30’s) passed away suddenly. Her husband is on his own raising 7 kids ages 1 to 16. If we won we would give all of it to them. He works for our church and does not make much and they are still working on paying off hospital bills and making ends meat even after multiple fundraisers. I would love to bless this family this holiday season!
This is awesome. What a fantastic way to use $500. I appreciate your concern for others.
It is so heart breaking….Some of their kids are the same age as ours and we just started to get to know their sweet family when they it happened. She was not much older than myself and I just know I would want someone to look after my family if it happened to me. And since we are almost in the same situation where things are tight, I just feel like I want to help in any possible. It just hits home I guess. Obviously gifts and helping with food and finances will never be enough, but hopefully it will help their lives be less stressful. Anyway, yeah. 🙂 I am sure whomever wins will be greatly blessed by this so thank you for doing it!
Things have been tight as my husband is sort of between jobs. If I happened to win, the PayPal cash would go toward Christmas presents and offsetting some debts we have incurred. Thanks for such a great giveaway!
You’re so welcome. I’m excited to be a part of the giveaway and can’t wait to see which families we get to bless.
What a huge blessing this will be for somebody. Thank you for tyre chance! God bless!
I”m excited to be one of the 40 bloggers who is able to bless some families financially.
I love how you had your kids earn money for Christmas through baking. There are so many important life skills taught in that experience. Thank you for sharing. I love the idea!!!
Thanks for noticing we taught our kids life skills. That’s exactly what my husband, Steve, was all about teaching. He even offered a workshop about Teaching Kids Life Skills. Reading your comment was a good reminder.
I second this. One can only hope that we can teach our children life skills that can not only enrich their own lives but that they will be able to bless others with those skills.
I would get my hard working 24 year old son a new tv and my son with Aspbergers a new tablet.They both help contribute to paying bills all year round.Happy holidays!
Laurie, That is awesome. What a great way to use your prize. I”m excited to be one of the 40 bloggers who is able to bless some families financially.
Thank you so much.
This would be a blessing that blesses many! I would use the money to put towards the money my daughter is trying to raise to go on a mission trip to serve others in Columbia.
That’s awesome. I suggested the same thing to my son who leaves in January on the World Race (11 month mission trip around the world). I shared his story last week here: http://howtohomeschoolmychild.com/hunters-world-race/
I would use it to buy a plane ticket for my mother in law to visit us for Christmas. My husband’s brother died suddenly 5 months ago and this holiday season will be hard for her. I want her to be with us if at all possible.