10 generous things to do with your kids this Christmas

By Debbie Wright | 9 December 2014 | Comments (2)

10 generous things to do with your kids this Christmas

 

As a mum of four daughters, the tidal wave of Christmas and all the trappings regularly hits us with a deluge of things to do. Before the present giving comes the present buying and I have to admit, I haven’t always got this right. In the past I have spent way too much time either queuing in shops or scouring the internet for the ‘in’ toy so my child won’t feel left out and I have probably overspent and overindulged while trying to be fair to each daughter. As time moved on and the girls got older, the present buying seemed to escalate to a whole new level, spreading outwards to include their friends, teachers and even the whole form! I felt we were now drowning in a sea of materialism and wrapping paper.

 

A stop-check needed to be made and so as a family we agreed to be more outward-looking, more intently generous, to draw up a Christmas budget and think creatively about the presents we gave and the things that we did.  It’s not only adults who understand the pressures: never underestimate how perceptive children can be. On seeing the mountain of expensive presents one of her school friends received, my 10 year-old commented, “It’s because her parents have split up and they now compete to see who can buy her the best present.” Christmas can bring out the worst in us, adults and children alike.

 

Creating a generous spirit and thankful heart doesn’t happen by chance—certainly not in my household—and this is especially true at Christmas.  We stepped back, thought and discussed as a family what we could do as individuals and together.  

 

So in the spirit of intentional generosity, here is a list of generous ideas to do with your kids in the build up to Christmas.  Our family hasn’t done them all, but some of them we now do every year and they have become family traditions and rituals that we all enthusiastically take part in.

 

  1. Find a few hours and dig out good quality toys, clothes and donate to a local charity shop.
  2. For younger children, read a part of the nativity story each evening, either from the Bible or from an advent book and light an advent candle to create the right atmosphere.
  3. Hold a fundraising event or a cake sale at school or church and discuss as a family where the money should go.
  4. Organise or go along to a carol concert in a home for the elderly or a hospital ward.
  5. Have a family cooking afternoon. Make biscuits, fudge, rocky road, biscotti and tie up in cellophane and ribbon. Instant homemade presents for friends, work colleagues, neighbours!
  6. Make some Christmas cards for family members you won’t see over the holiday season.
  7. Set a budget and each family member buys one present for another. Older teenagers can be Santa’s helpers and create and fill a stocking for another.
  8. Order some Charity Gift Vouchers from Stewardship, in donations of £10 and £20, and put in stockings, great gifts for older godchildren and for those that love giving. Click here for more details. Make a point of discussing on Boxing Day where the money should go. (Yikes - too late too order these in time for Christmas, but you can still order them as gifts all year round!)
  9. As a family, discuss who might like an invitation to come for a meal on Christmas day or one of the days nearby.
  10. Last but not least: include a pack of thank you notecards as presents and make sure they get written as soon as possible after Christmas

 

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Posted by Debbie Wright

Debbie Wright is Stewardship’s Head of Content and is passionate about generosity in all its guises. Besides occasional blogging and tweeting she creates resources and campaigns such as 40acts and Advent Wonder to inspire, engage and motivate the wider Christian community. Prior to joining, Debbie worked for A Rocha UK as editor of their national magazine and in a previous life worked as a TV producer/director for the BBC for 17 years.  Debbie is married to Graham; they have 4 daughters and a springer spaniel.  When not acting as taxi driver, she can be found on a salsa dance floor. Follow Debbie on Twitter @debwright99

comments:

Helen Reed

December 19, 2014 9:04 AM
i think this is wonderful I missed it when it was sent out but God must have planted it in my heart because I suggested we just do secret santa type thing this year and my younger and adult children fell on the idea, I just couldnt bear the thought of all the waste, buying things that no one wants or not being able to buy the expensive gifts their friends get. I particularly note and agree that children feel the pressure of Christmas< i hope that many people saw this and were able to make their Christmas more meaningful and less stressful as a result

Katherine

December 22, 2014 8:50 AM
So pleased to read this this morning! My two children are 9 and 6 and trying to find some imaginative ways to encourage generosity and thoughtfulness towards others, rather than just thinking about what they would like for Christmas, has probably not been something I've been very good at - but we've still got a few days so I'm going to try to encourage at least one or two of these ideas this week! Many thanks, K

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