posted by Kristin Williamson
December 18, 2012 @ 12:35 pm
Gifts!! Who doesn’t feel a little giddy when they see a present that has their name on it? Perhaps Scrooge, prior to learning that happiness has nothing to do with wealth but actually sharing with others? Or maybe the Grinch before learning that Christmas came to Who-ville “without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!”
Christmas morning can be a tear of gift opening, thrills and fun … and also expectations of receiving what’s on our list. We don’t want to let them down, but are we so busy filling orders that we cater to the “I Want” syndrome epidemic in today’s society?
So here’s an idea. This year, what if we did a little something different? Mixed in with the gift opening, sweet bun-eating, cinnamon coffee-drinking, stockings, candy and Christmas morning hubbub, remove a little bit of the “I Want” and add a little “Let’s Give” by coming together as a family to help someone else. And the best part is that it’s going to be a surprise! Here’s how:
1. Select your cause
Do you or your family have a favorite cause? Maybe you love animals, you are concerned for homeless families or children that need a safe haven, face disabilities, illness or abuse and neglect. Or maybe your family enjoys state parks or is interested in lands conservancy or the theater or art. The options are endless and we might be more connected to causes than we think. So think about it a little. What matters to your family and what resonates with your children?
2. Make the donation and wrap it up
When you’re making decisions about gifts you’re planning to buy for your children, consider holding back on one or a few and in place of those gifts, make a donation to the cause of your choice – no matter the size – on behalf of your family. Keep it a secret and wrap a special present for your family including photos, a note or brochure explaining the gift that your family has given and how it will help others. Put everyone’s name on the gift.
3. Open the gift as a family and reflect
In the midst of your holiday gift opening, pull out that gift and open it together. They might be confused or surprised initially to learn that it’s actually a gift from them to another in need on that special Christmas morning. A sacrifice for someone who needed our gift more than we need the gadgets, games, clothes and toys we hoped for and received.
What a great opportunity, in the moment, to reflect on how fortunate we are and how we are able to share with and help others.
It might just change your day and your children’s perspectives.