It's that time again? The Gift of Giving
It's that time of the year again, the Holidays are fast approaching. I was just complaining a few weeks ago about Christmas shows already airing on the Hallmark channel and now we have Holiday commercials rolling out. So, instead of allowing myself to feel aggravated I decided to take a trip down memory lane.
When my kids were growing up and decided I didn't want them taking gifts for granted. I also wanted them to understand that Christmas was about giving not receiving. Ok, well note- I said, "I wanted them to understand." It would take a while for that to happen, can we say adulthood?!
When December arrived and my kids began asking for the numerous gifts they wanted I would tell them to make a list and put it aside because we had bigger things to do first. My kids had to go through their closets where they stored many toys, clean their dresser drawers of any clothes they didn't wear anymore and we would go through winter jackets as well. If the jackets didn't fit anymore, we donated them to the local dry cleaners and they donated them to children who didn't have winter attire.
I wanted my kids to be able to look back one day and realize that life isn't all about them
I would help the kids sort their toys into piles... these piles contained toys that were hardly used to really beat up toys. The beat up toys were thrown out. The toys that appeared new were put into boxes. We used the same method for sorting through clothing too. Great way to get winter cleaning done! After we compiled our boxes and the trash we would put all the fairly new toys and clothing into the back of my Jeep. I also gave them 10.00 each and we would head to the dollar store. My daughter picked out 10 toys for a girl and my son did the same for a boy. Of course, they complained as if the world was going to end when it came to cleaning out their rooms but they loved having that money in their hands, using their imaginations and picking out toys for a girl or boy.
The fun began when the Christmas music played
We would all pick out our favorite Christmas CD and play them while we wrapped the gifts we bought for other children. I would put out Christmas cookies for them to snack on while singing to the music and wrapping gifts. The kids looked forward to this each year. After the gifts were wrapped we packed those in the jeep too. We would jump in the jeep the following day together and head off to the women's shelter because there are children with their moms all alone and scared during the Christmas Holidays. We also made a stop each year at the grocery store to buy dry food items and we would drop those items off at food pantries. I would call churches to find out where we could bring our new toys, clothing, and toys that were in excellent condition. While driving with the kids in the jeep it gave us many opportunities to discuss why some children have less, why it's always good to be thankful and never take anything for granted and of course some heavy topics would come up as they grew a bit older, like neglect and abuse as one of many examples.
My kids are grown now with children of their own. My daughter and I were talking today about Christmas and she said, "Mom, I was so selfish growing up, and you kept us focused on others which molded who I am today." I felt tears running down my face as she shared that with me. We talked about making homemade gifts this year because that's what my mom did every Christmas. I wrote a blog not long ago about the topic being brought up and I'm so happy we are going to honor my mom and her tradition as well by putting love into our gifts which you can't put a monetary value on.
I can honestly say, I'm so proud of both of my kids. They are so giving without expecting anything in return. My son does a lot of community service and they are teaching their own children the value of love. My daughter also told me, "I don't remember the gifts you bought me but what I do remember are all the memories we made together." She went on to share her favorite memories. Again, happy tears. As parents we find ourselves questioning our parenting skills. The best gift in the world is to see that what you worked hard to instill is paying off. All I want for Christmas is love, you can't put a price tag on that.
Do you have traditions you share as a family every year? I would love to hear other's stories and what you do during the holidays that means so much to you.
One last note, I also called the women's shelter to find out what the women needed. They needed items as simple as soaps, combs, lotions and more. There's always many places if you search that are in need of donations and the donations don't have to be in the form of money.
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