I have researched around the Metro Detroit area as well as different parts of the country to find ways that children can give to other kids. Even though our church’s Christmas tree has ornament tags to take for families in need, this doesn’t especially shows an end result for children. Sure they may learn to pick something out at the store, wrap it and that he is donating his time, money and thought into the gift, but it’s not showing him the joy the child will feel receiving the gift.
Last year we did random acts of kindness all year. One day, we decided to get a dozen donuts for a family. We did this and the kids really did not like that they were not getting donuts too. However, they saw the joy the family receiving the gift had. I think that helped…
I was inspired by Chip Gaines in his little idea he had about Toys and Tamales in this winter’s Magnolia issue. He took his kids, brother in law and their kids and played Santa to a house. It happened to be a house that was filled with three single mothers and their kids. What a Christmas miracle!? His kids were able to give the gifts to these families and share a meal together on Christmas Eve. Now, I don’t expect to make that my reality, but I want to create something for the kids. Also, I want to make the people on the receiving end happy and not embarrassed.
This year we are only doing one Christmas gift from us. Santa brings them a book. And they will have a little stocking filled with toothbrushes, crayons, hair bows, bandaids and an orange. I also hope to take them to the thrift store to each pick something out for their siblings or suggest a handmade gift.
I have been troubled the last couple years with Christmas gifts. I especially notice when a must have/want/need gift breaks after less than a year of play. Even though we try to circulate toys through the year to generate a sense of clean house and spark of interest, some toys are never played with at all. I think we all would appreciate more lasting gifts instead of the “latest toy”. Last year, Everett walked into one family gathering asking if they had a gift for him. I am praying this year we can show the kids more of God’s grace with little acts of giving throughout this time of year. I know he is only five years old but there is a sense of giving that can be shown now. (and really all year through)
If you don’t have time to volunteer because you’re about to have a newborn and a partner working lots of hours, but want to get your kids into the spirit of giving, come back to check out my list of ideas for giving to others.
Where can you look in your community to give a gift?
Airlines – Silverliners
A Trip to the North Pole – Brings children from hospitals to take a fantasy flight to visit Santa.
Church – So many churches have Christmas Tree’s with ornament tags for people in their community. Mostly it is anonymous.
The Happy Holidays For Foster Children Program – Catholic Social Services
Deployed or Wounded Parent
Operation Christmas Spirit is a great resource.
Ward 57 is a place close to my heart and provides SO much love and support for families staying in the hospital.
Many do a Burn Drive to local hospitals with gifts for patients.
One Simple Wish – provides a searchable database for all ages
Goodfellows – The organization includes 300 members whose sole mission is to ensure that there is “No Kiddie without a Christmas.”
LGBT Community – This time of year may be particularly hard for kids who are rejected by their families. These are safe places for them to feel welcome.