I love Christmas, but I don’t like that it’s mostly driven by spending money on things that are not necessary and often not even wanted (yes, those presents…)
I went a little overboard for our oldest child’s first Christmas. When Troy watched me haul out a garbage bag of toys on Christmas eve and asked me if I was serious, I was a little anxious and worried to haul out the other garbage bag of ‘stuff” I still had hidden. Ok, so it wasn’t all toys, because then that would be totally overboard. But I had added everyday necessities like pyjamas, new toothbrush, bathers, thongs… because opening the wrapping is half the fun right?!
Well apparently it was ALL the fun; unwrap, toss toy aside, “more”, unwrap, toss toy aside, “more”…. And I realised I was just teaching my little girl the art of being greedy.
I’ve been getting better every Christmas, but this year as our kids are getting older, (4, 6 & 8) I really wanted to turn Christmas as we have always known it to be, in to what I have always wanted it to be.
About gratitude and kindness, nothing else.
After many conversations with our kids about my idea, we came up with 3 ways we could do this. Here they are:
1. Write a letter to Santa
Now I’ve never encouraged our kids to write a letter asking Santa for all the things they want for Christmas. Party pooper, maybe I am. It’s just never made sense to me; asking Santa for every toy you can come up with more often than not leads to confused disappointment on Christmas day when there is no unicorn under the tree or swimming pool in the backyard.
So we did letters to Santa, but this is what they wrote:
2. Choosing gifts for the Wishing Tree
In keeping with the idea of giving their extra toys to disadvantaged kids, we took a trip to the shops and each kid was given $10 to spend on any toy they wanted to donate to a child in need. I never realised how much fun this would be for them, it was hilarious to watch. I had to keep reminding them that the toys weren’t for them but they assured me they knew and still had a ball choosing.
We put the toys under the Christmas Wishing Tree and then talked about how it made us feel which was really interesting. We certainly all agreed that it was so wonderful to know we helped to brighten another child’s Christmas morning. Such a great feeling and I was so super proud.
3. Donating to a charity
So many wonderful charities to choose from, but this year we decided on Share the Dignity. They are an organisation that collect donated handbags filled with everyday necessities for homeless women and victims of domestic violence.
We chose to make bags for teen girls which resonated a little more with our kids, and used backpacks as they’re more practical and appropriate for a teenager rather than a handbag. Here’s what we filled them with:
- shampoo and conditioner
- soap with soap container
- toothbrush and holder
- sanitary pads and tampons
- lip balm
- wet wipes
- band aids
- chewing gum
- a notebook and pen
- a beanie boo (necessity)
- a positive affirmation bracelet
The kids and I also wrote a note each and added it to the bags:
We delivered the bags to the nearest drop off point and I watched again as the kids were so excited about giving to someone.
Christmas isn’t even here yet, but I am one happy Mama. I’ve been able to teach our kids what Christmas can and should be about, and have watched them fall in love with the idea too. I’m sure we’ll choose another charity next year to share the love around, but right now I’m just going to savour my full heart and grateful kids.