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A Boxing Day Tradition to Cherish

By Michael O'Neill | 15 December 2015 | Comments (2)


Sometimes you just have to admit defeat. For me, many of those times seem to come around at Christmas. The whole month is a blur of work, school, church, carol concerts, school concerts, work dos, decorating, cleaning and preparing for and hosting visiting family.  I learnt long ago that I was powerless to stop it.


I’m not going to give up so easily when it comes to how we spend our money at Christmas. Yes, of course the children receive presents, but we set a reasonable limit and stick to it. 


But that, on its own, doesn’t feel like it does enough to wrestle some of the essence of Christmas back from the clutches of consumerism. So, to reintroduce some of that life-changing generosity and selflessness, we give a special gift each year.


Every year, on Boxing Day, everyone in our home, whether family or friend, receives a charity gift voucher from Stewardship.  This voucher allows the recipient to nominate their own charity to receive a gift. 


Over dinner that day we stop to reflect upon the gift of Jesus and His significance in our lives and our family.  Then we take turns sharing our ideas about which charity we’d like our gifts to go to.  


Everyone, children included, is free to select whatever recipient they wish.  Some are more reflective and choose to take time to consider their gift at a later point in time. Others have ideas instantly.  When Declan, our son, was four, without a moment’s hesitation he announced that he wanted his gift to go to Japan. We had little connection to Japan, and to be honest, we found it a bit odd. Still, we found a Full Time Christian Worker in Japan who was registered with Stewardship and made the gift.  We don’t know what happened with the gift, but when the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan three months later we wondered if Declan’s gift had been an encouragement to the recipient. 


Now aged nine, Declan still looks forward to our Boxing Day tradition: “I think it's nice to have a gift you give away at Christmas because you're helping someone who doesn't have enough and you're being kind to them.” His older sisters, Caitlin and Gemma agree: “Sometimes we get too wrapped up in receiving presents and it's a good time to think about giving to others.” 


So for us, Boxing Day has become a time to quietly release a little of that bloated over-consumption that has built up to the previous day. Receivers instantly become givers.


Maybe others will adopt this tradition. I hope they do, and discover for themselves the joy to be found in a day that reflects on the One who transforms our hearts instead of focusing on leftovers and online shopping discounts.   


Give it a go! Call us to order your Christmas vouchers: 020 8502 8560.

(Order before Friday 18th December to guarantee Christmas delivery)


Read more like this:

10 generous things to do with your children this Christmas

WATCH: the #AdventWonder 2015 film

What to do when Christmas loses its sense of wonder



December 16, 2015 5:54 PM
Wonder filled blog!

Graham Quilter

December 16, 2015 11:39 PM
I love your family tradition! Children very quickly learn that "it's better to give than receive".

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