the 12 days of giving at home

12 12 2011

I heard it estimated that if Americans were to take 1/4 what their Christmas spending and use it for other causes, it would be enough to end world hunger!  Whether that is true or not, I don’t know, but doesn’t it make you stop and think?

A few years ago, I did The 12 Days of Christmas with our kids where each day for the 12 days leading up to Christmas, they would receive a little gift.  It was usually something that they needed anyway like pajamas or maybe a new puzzle or game that we could open and enjoy together.  Then, on our huge rolled-out sheet of paper taped to the wall, the kids would draw what they received and we would sing our own “12 Days of Christmas” song substituting their received items.  It was very fun and I recommend it to stretch out gifts or treats or time together.

But this year, I started thinking about the value of giving.   I want to raise givers, don’t you?  Givers leave behind a legacy of giving.  And the heart of a giver, according to the Grinch and good ol’ Scrooge, is an open heart – a big heart that is open to receive the greatest gifts like joy and peace.   No doubt our One True God is the greatest giver of all time – in creativity, thoughtfulness and magnitude!   To be given a Savior?  From all of this grinchiness and scrooginess?  Incredible.

Is it more blessed to give than to receive?  We are aiming to find out!  And we welcome you to join us!

How to do 12 Days of Giving with your kids:

1.  Make a giving list. 

The kids and I made a list of all the people, groups or organizations they felt like helping out.   They wanted to help Daddy, their teachers and a few organizations we know about.  I helped them think of ideas and as we were out about town, we would write down the opportunities to give that we saw (like a mitten tree, Toys for Tots, etc.).   The giving couls be all for neighbors and people close by.  It’s all about intention.

2.  Give your kids a giving budget.

Nash started to worry about using all of his truly hard-earned allowance and I assured him that we would give each child a giving fund.  Take all or a portion of what you would usually give this year and let your kids help spend it.   Our kids particularly love the giving catalogs, like the one for Compassion International, where you can shop by price – $55 gives a family clean water for life, $10 gives a child school supplies, etc.

3.  Spread the giving bug!

Share what you are doing here or on your blog.  Share the giving bug with your child’s classroom, school, your family, church.  Set a group goal for one of the days and be creative!  After all, caroling is a gift.  Cleaning windows is a gift.  Not screaming at your siblings (self-control) is a very peaceful gift.  Even with zero dollars, we all have many things to give!

For Day One our kids decided to forgo allowance.  And these kids work hard for allowance!  Each time they help out by cleaning, taking care of a sibling or anything else that is sincere and helpful to the function of our home,  they get a sticker or two.  At the end of the week, they cash in their stickers for 10cents each.  It’s our way to recognize their hard work and their call to responsibility.  They reasoned that by skipping allowance, they would be helping Daddy who works so hard to provide for our family.   “And that’s the most stickers I’ve ever even had!,” exclaimed Hattie.  It was such a sweet gesture… and of course we let them experience the joy of giving that big of a gift to him.

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