Ever since our kids were very small we have wanted to make sure they learned the true meaning of Christmas.
It’s more about giving than it is about receiving and we want our kids to focus on Christ and his life. Our kids had so many toys. So many clothes. So many THINGS. And they were all over the house. We have been blessed with good jobs at times, and we have gone through the struggles of not having a job. We have been at both ends. But no matter what, my kids still had too many things.
We give our kids ONE gift from Santa. We always tell them that “We don’t want to weigh down Santa’s sleigh more than we have to. And we don’t want to be greedy. Those Elves work really hard!” And our kids get one or two gifts from us (including the traditional Christmas Eve Pajamas). Santa always fills their stocking with goodies. And in my opinion, that’s all they need. And most of what they get, is what they need.
They don’t need extra gifts from their siblings to complete Christmas. They needed more opportunities to serve.
We wanted our kids to focus more on giving. So as my husband and I brainstormed ideas on what we could do to teach this concept to our kids, we decided that we wouldn’t have them buy their siblings gifts.
I know that sounds really Grinch-like. Maybe we were taking away an opportunity for them to bond. But we felt strongly that they definitely didn’t need any more toys and that what we replaced it with would bring them closer together than giving each other gifts.
We wanted our kids to remember those in need. We wanted them to understand that some families have a hard time providing Christmas presents for their family.
So we decided that we would make a new Christmas Tradition of giving to those in need.
Here is what we do instead of having our kids buy each other Christmas Presents:
- Usually on the first Monday in December, we head to the store. Any store that sells toys.
- We have the kids pick toys for kids in need.
- They can choose to buy 4 $10 gifts or one big $40 gift. (because we have 5 kids and that’s about what they would spend on each other)
- We buy the gifts.
- We take them to a Toys For Tots drop box.
- Then we go and have a special treat somewhere, or make cookies at home.
That’s it! Super simple, quick and fun. And while we are there we can see the toy’s they are eyeing for themselves and take a few pictures (read this article about why we take pictures).
Here is our home video about our fun little tradition.
The kids really have a blast! We talk about what they think the kids would like to play with so that they are thinking about the kids in need instead of themselves. It’s definitely one of our favorite Christmas Traditions now.
There are many other things we do during the Christmas Season to serve others.
If you are looking for more ways to serve this December, check out my free printable Service Advent Calendar.
You can also check out JustServe.org and Mormon.org for more great service ideas to do with your family. If you live in Utah, you can check out the new Charity Vending Machines in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building where you can put your money in and buy things like food, eye exams, clothing, water, and even a goat for families in need.
What are some things you do with your family during the Christmas Season to serve others?