In the days before Christmas, there seemed to be quite a lot of conversation in the house regarding all of the things they were going to get for Christmas this year. I heard my almost 9yo refer to Christmas morning as "a truckload of free gifts." Hmmmm....we try very hard to make the children realize it is more important to give then receive and it is much better to share with others than to worry about all of the things you are going to "get" for Christmas. I try to have them involved with helping with community service projects like the Salvation Army Christmas Tree, food drives, etc..but it seemed as though this year we forgot all of those things in the light of what they wanted. Now, I understand completely children being excited about Christmas and getting presents. It is exciting and a lot of fun, but I don't want that to become their whole focus on Christmas and have them forget why we even celebrate. We had a lot of long talks about giving and doing kind things for others. Most of the children said they couldn't "give" because they had no money, so we talked about different things we could do to be kind to others without having to spend any money. We went over the bible verses about the birth of Jesus and the kindness of the innkeeper to let them sleep in the stable. You wonder sometimes though how much of what you are saying sinks in, or would we go right back to the "all about me" Christmas focus. I got my answer the day before Christmas Eve.
Nicholas ran into the kitchen and grabbed several brown paper bags. He turned each of these into gift bags for each person in the family. In each bag he took something that belonged to him that he knew the other person would appreciate and gave that item away. For example, he gave Lily some sill bands, Alex some army men, and me a New Testament Bible. Then when the other boys saw what he was doing they did the same thing for each member of the family. Anthony even took a picture of his Nana and Papa and made a paper frame for it to give it to Christian. It really touched my heart to see the boys putting forth that effort to be a giver and not just a receiver at Christmas.