Operation Christmas Child is a program where you collect, package and send out filled shoe boxes for less fortunate boys and girls across the world.
We started by getting on-line and showing the kids the Samaritans Purse Website. I think seeing some children helped them visualize what we were doing. We talked about how some children don't have any toys, very little food, almost no hygiene products. We also talked about how some children don't even have mothers or fathers, and that we would be spending time making them a present to open on Christmas morning.
It really filled my heart with joy to see my children worry about these kids. They were full of questions and I did my best to answer them. We also prayed for all of them.
My mom really got into this too. She had a lot of hotel sized shampoos and soaps. She also brought over combs, bandaids, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and Christmas baggies. Her and Ava spent all afternoon dividing them up, wrapping them in the baggies and tying pretty ribbons.
We gave the kids $6 each and took them to the dollar store. They each picked out very thoughtful gifts: balls, jump-ropes, a doll or stuffie, coloring books and crayons. I picked up some school supplies and some hard candy.
When we got home we filled up the shoeboxes. They were crammed full and the kids were so excited! What fun it is to give! I know it is not even Thanksgiving yet but the whole experience really put me in the Christmas mood. I would like to continue to find situations where the kids could volunteer their time with me to help others. Ava taught me that three is definitely not too early to give!
Speaking of Christmas, I've been wondering how some of you celebrate with your kids. We have decided, for the first year ever, to do three gifts for each child. As a tradition I always give them new pajamas and a book or movie on Christmas Eve, and they will still receive a stocking as well. When I say it out loud like that, it still seems like a lot to me. But I have friends who say NOOOOOO WAyY!!! Christmas is a time to go big! Three gifts is like a deprivation!
We've always gone big, but it's always felt like too much. Overwhelming and greedy is not what I want to feel on Christmas day. So we are focusing on simplicity, and being grateful for what we have.
What about you? Do you love to buy a lot of gifts for your kids, or do you set a limit?
(ps I don't think you are greedy if you like to buy lots for Christmas!!:) It just hasn't been working for our family:)