Teaching The Gift of Giving

     I knew from the moment Marques, my 10 year old son, asked me,  "What day is Christmas on?", I wanted to do something different this year for Christmas.  Marques and MaRee' (13) have been very spoiled, never wondering if they would have gifts under the tree.  Besides something they made in class, they never thought about putting a gift under the tree for someone else.  I can only blame myself and work on trying to correct my mistakes.
       I did not request a Christmas list this year, even though Marques gladly provided a verbal one regardless.  MaRee' is already expecting less gifts for Christmas, because we've been paying for a trip to Disney with her school choir in May.  It's a little harder not wanting to spoil the twins because, surprisingly, they already know Santa is coming and he is bringing toys.  Seeing Christmas through two year old eyes and how they light up when they see Santa  and the neighborhood Christmas lights,  I was almost ready to break.  I caught myself and knew that I would be repeating the mistakes I was trying to correct in the older kids.  This year I've decided I want my kids to worry about giving presents instead of just waiting to see what they get for Christmas.

     I took Laithan and Layla to a local Children's Detention Home.  We dropped off a donation of Holiday paper goods and said hello to a few of the children that lived there.  Laithan and Layla are too young to really understand the importance of what they did, but I hope to keep doing it every year.  Hopefully, it will be something they do with their own children.

I wish Marques and MaRee' could of came with us, but they were in school.  I am in the process of making arrangements for us to go to a Church Missionary and help them sort donations.  Hopefully, we can get that scheduled for next Wednesday before they go back to school.

     My second lesson, for the kids to learn to give, was to actually send them Christmas shopping.  I gave everyone, including my husband and myself a $25 budget to shop for presents for everyone in the house.  My Husband, older kids and I went to Hamricks, a small department store, where I gave them money and coupons.  Of course they complained at first that $5 per person was not enough and they weren't going to find anything in there.  I told them that is part of the challenge.  You can only buy what you can afford at the same time finding something someone would like.  I figured I would give them the same stress I have every year!

     I have to admit, the children did very good.  My daughter saved the most, $16, by finding items on sale and using her coupons.  My husband however failed!  He hasn't told me yet how much he went over budget and he forgot to use his coupons.  Everyone also is responsible for wrapping their gifts and getting them under the tree.

     My husband and I also took the twins out to shop, at the Dollar Tree, to buy gifts.  I had to keep taking things out of Laithan basket he wanted to buy for himself...so I think he definitely understood the lesson of giving. 

     Yes, .....I did play Santa and get the kids a few other items but most are needs instead of wants.  Also, more batteries so they can play with the items we brought last year that is just sitting in the toy box.

    I will make a huge breakfast, but not dinner.  My husband said he would fry some chicken wings and make mashed potatoes....this is only a good gift if he cleans up the mess.  I pray, by the end of the evening everyone will have enjoyed the gift of giving and not just receiving.

     Have you changed or added to any traditions this Holiday? 

Happy Holidays to you and your family!

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