Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Intentional Family Traditions - Giving

A few months ago a home in our neighborhood caught fire. We were home and smelled the smoke and didn’t know how close it was, so I quickly got the children in the car and we left. As we drove out of our neighborhood, we found that the home 5 doors down from us was completely engulfed in flames. It was a very traumatic evening for the children and me. The next day one of my daughters was very troubled and she said, “Mommy, we need to take those people a meal because all their food burned.” She also wanted to give them all of the money in her piggy bank to help rebuild their house!
I was blown away by her huge heart to give!

Sadly the two things she wanted to do weren’t really things that we could do. The couple, who we don’t know personally, obviously wasn’t living in the destroyed home, so we couldn’t take them food. And I didn’t know how to give them all of my daughter’s money! I didn’t want to kill her generous, compassionate heart, but I just didn’t know how to reach out to this couple who is now gone.

I don’t think there is anything lesser about giving to an organization or donating a toy at Christmas time. However, there is something very different about giving to someone face to face. And if it is someone that you don’t really know, it can be rather uncomfortable. Why is that? Why are we sometimes insecure to give? My daughter had no reservations about bringing food and giving all of her money to a couple we’ve never met and she was so disappointed when there wasn’t opportunity to follow through.

Christmas is a great time to give to those around us. You don’t have to look far to find someone in need, they could be in your very own neighborhood. And getting children involved with giving is so important. They need to know that many people in the world are suffering. They need to know that blessings are meant to be given away. They need to know that they have something valuable to give that can help another.

Here are some ideas of Giving Traditions to start with your family this year!

1. Give a gift to your neighbors – it’s amazing how much children learn by example! A wonderful holiday tradition is to give your neighbors and service people a small, homemade holiday treat. This includes the mailman, garbage man, gardener… It’s fun to encourage your children to be the ones to deliver the goodies so they learn the joy of giving. Have them help prepare the gifts too!

I recently had the joy of eating Butterscotch Bits and I immediately decided that this would be our homemade treat to hand out this year! I'm going to package them up in little cellophane bags with tags.  Make some extra for yourself – trust me!!

Butterscotch Bits
12 oz butterscotch morsels
1 c. peanut butter
8 oz Chex (sometimes I use more)
1 c. milk chocolate morsels

1. On low heat, melt the butterscotch chips and peanut butter until smooth ~ keep stirring.
2. Remove from heat; add cereal and stir until all the pieces are covered.
3. Stir in milk choc chips until combined but not necessarily melted.
4. Spread on wax tray.
5. Chill 30 minutes and break apart

2. All of the toys and loot children get at Christmas can be overwhelming. I read on another blog last year that for each child, the parent buys one “need,” one “want,” and one “surprise.” I thought this was a thoughtful way of not going crazy with the gifts.

3. I think it’s really fun to teach the children to give by giving them a set amount of money to buy gifts for their siblings. It teaches them to think of others and what they would like.

4. There are a lot of less fortunate people all over the world who can be so blessed by a Christmas gift. Here are 2 organizations that do a great job of reaching out to those in need. It’s really easy to jump on board what they are already doing. Check out their websites.

Operation Christmas Child – giving to children in need around the world

Angel Tree – giving to children of prisoners

CHALLENGE: How are you going to be Intentional with giving this holiday season?

FLASH BACK QUESTION: Have you thought of some new traditions to start to prepare your family for the birth of Jesus? Please share!!!


  1. My daughter is going to be 2 and my son 1 in the same month. DECEMBER! My plan is to (hopefully) get the gifts that are for them on their birthday and when its Christmas time help them pick out gifts for others. I love the idea of giving gifts to our neighbor. Even though we dont know them that well I think she would have fun doing it.

  2. TOTALLY! I'm so excited that we stocked our pantry with a zillion jams, jellies and butters this year. I am so looking forward to distributing them throughout the neighborhood. We also do the Want, Read, Wear, Need route with gifts. Makes it so much less nutty. That's horrible about the neighborhood fire! What a sweet little girl you've got there!

  3. I heard the same thing this morning about one "need", one "want" but the third one was one to "share" and that was a gift that the child could share with the whole family like a board game or something. I thought that was fun!

  4. Such awesome ideas - I love it! I really like the "share" and the "read"!!!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...