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Training Children To Think Of Giving At Christmas More Than Of Receiving

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Faith's Firm Foundation: Training Children To Think Of Giving At Christmas More Than Of Receiving

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Training Children To Think Of Giving At Christmas More Than Of Receiving

Recently I had the pleasure of receiving an email from a young woman who offered to write a post for my blog! By the way, that's an email I will always open! At Christmastime, the Most Stressful--I mean wonderful--time of the year, I am very open to guest posts!  I've enjoyed corresponding with Maria, and was really pleased with what she wrote on the topic that I suggested to her: Teaching children to think of others and not just themselves (keeping children from the "screaming Me-Me's") at Christmas, and helping them to think of, and become more, GIVING is on the heart and mind of every parent this time of year, and it's a timeless topic, so please welcome Maria with me, and thanks, Maria, for your excellent ideas.

A Season Meant for Giving
We have become a nation of consumers and our children see this every day. Christmastime has become an excuse for compiling lists of Wants rather than Needs, a season for frivolity and materialism. Many self-proclaimed Christians have fallen for the consumerism of this holiday and forgotten the Christ- in Christmas.

Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh
Traditionally, the gift-giving portion of Christmas stems from Matthew 2. Jesus is born in Bethlehem and the three wise men approach the house, where they see Mary and her child. “Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Some add that the act of the New Testament God giving His Son’s life to mankind for the latter’s inevitable sins is also evidence that Christmas is a season for giving—giving being a godly act—rather than taking—humankind’s favorite pastime.

Kindness, Love, and Selflessness
Christmas is therefore the climax of the year when Christians and well-meaning individuals celebrating everywhere strive for a better state of being, for betterment of themselves by expressing thanks to those who have selflessly given kindness and love to them throughout the year.

Even if Christian parents understand and cherish this part of the holiday, many children—surrounded by consumerist interests and materialistic media cues—have trouble appreciating the giving portion of Christmas.  To many kids of all beliefs, Christmas is a time for presents and little more.

Teaching Gift-Giving to Children
Parents of every belief can encourage more wholesome thoughts in children by—rather than haranguing them with lectures we know they won’t listen to—everyday gestures.  The best leadership, after all, is through example.

Christmas is a time of year when we should forget about bartering and instead give to those from whom we know to expect nothing. It’s a time of year that we must be thankful for what we have and want nothing but the happiness of others, as we have been happy. Rather than asking your children what they want for Christmas, ask them what you, as a family, can do for those who have been kind to you and those less fortunate than you. Take time out of your holiday season to volunteer at the local soup kitchen, at a Salvation Army, or even the local animal shelter (our furry friends could use love, too). Consider spending even just one hour on Christmas Eve at one of these places with your family to make lasting memories and know as you put your head to your pillow at night that your family has done some good in a world in sore need of it.

Making DIY Christmas gifts with your children is another way to engage them in the act of gift-giving (more importantly, making) rather than thinking about receiving gifts. Consider making your own holiday greeting cards or making gifts to give to grandparents this season. “Gifts in jars” make great holiday gifts and can include but are in no way limited to homemade black apple tea leaves and hot cocoa powder. There is no shortage of DIY holiday gift ideas online.

Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, researching areas of online colleges and blogging about student life. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.
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Blogger Annette W. said...

Thank you for this guest posting.
All ages can benefit from this 'heads up'. It made me wonder...O, to be more like this 'throughout' the year....think of the example it would cast.
....thanks Maria and Wendy.

December 6, 2010 at 5:14 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Yes, we often are more aware and careful of how "loving and giving" we are at Christmas, reaching out, for instance, to the elderly or giving to charities and food shelves, but why not all year long?? Shouldn't we be consistent in these activities at other times of the year, too?

December 6, 2010 at 8:45 AM  

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