Over the past few years we have tried to teach our children the true meaning of Christmas. We don't do big huge Christmas gifts, or tons of gifts, we all have 4-5 presents under the tree and then a santa gift or two. Now don't get me wrong, there are years when the kids get a bike, one year we "Santa" got the kids an outdoor basketball hoop, but we try to not spoil our kids. We try to instill in them that it is more fun to give than to receive. Every year around Thanksgiving we go through all our clothes and toys and find things that we can donate to those less fortunate than we are. I have never heard a complain from my children, usually it is from me (Really! You don't want this..... I thought you loved it!!)
We also do a Christmas Jar all year long, where we just put our extra change throughout the year. Everyone is always excited about this, even my 5 year old son. Then together as a family, we choose a family or person to give our jar to right before before Christmas. On Christmas Eve we go out and deliver our jar. There is always so much excitement in the air, or car. :) We all have butterflies in our tummies wondering if the family will be home? Will they see us as we run away to hide? What will they say or do when they see the jar? As we drive away we talk about what their reaction was like, and wonder if they feel the love we put into our jar. Within minutes of being home the kids always have a new jar sitting on our counter waiting to be filled.
I know that none of us are perfect, but I have tried very hard to instill in my family that giving really is the best gift at Christmas (and anytime of the year) I love to see the joy on my childrens' faces as they give gifts to others during this season. I think that it makes us all a little happier and better people.
I hope that through the next few weeks we can all focus a little more on giving rather than giving.