When our daughter was young enough to visit Santa, he was always confused by her list. After listening to child after child with lists as long as they were tall, our daughter’s list usually only contained two or three items. He was so befuddled, we had an incident one year when he told her he was bringing something she didn’t even want!
For most kids though, the holiday season is often more about getting than giving. Even if they make or purchase a few presents for others, the focus is on those post Christmas gift comparison conversations with peers.
There is a fun way for your family to switch your focus from getting to giving, without spending a lot of money. Gather your family and tell them you have a family challenge for all of you.
The challenge is for each family member to find a way to give every day between now and Christmas. The only rule is that they can’t spend any money (or give a very small limit) or give anything away without parental permission. You will probably want to spend some time thinking up various ways to give without spending much money. Don’t forget to talk about things like time, talents, attention, etc.
How you format the challenge is up to you. Your family may have more fun coming up with ideas and executing them as a family. Other families – particularly those with teens – may want to make it a friendly competition. Who comes up with the most creative ideas during the challenge period? Who implements an idea that has a ripple effect and has other people giving too? Or come up with your own competitive extras.
Spend time each day sharing your experiences with each other. Don’t forget to talk about what they are thinking and feeling as they go through the challenge. Add insight from scripture where it fits. Spend time in prayer about everything as a family. It’s a great family tradition to add to the list.