’tis better to give than to receive

“i reeeeally reeeeeeally want this!”

“please can i have that?”

“that’s all i get?!”

“why does she have more?”

the season of selfishness has hit our household.  so i did all i can to combat it.  i tell them the reason for christmas, that its not about you, but about Jesus – that He’s our gift.

but still.

i know they are still young, but that excuse has almost expired.

a few times a year we takes treats to some of the homeless folks in our community.

i decided NOW was the time.  they needed to turn their selfish thinking into thinking of others.

so we sat down and made a list of all the items that would make good gifts:

cookies

coffee

scarves

gloves

rain ponchos

handmade cards

we were able to gather/make all of those items minus the ponchos – none to be found around here!

we started by making scarves.  we got a yard of fleece in both brown and blue (we picked out colors that wouldn’t show dirt easily).

then we cut each yard into 4 strips, then snipped the ends to make a little fringe – the easiest scarf ever!  the kids did all the fringe snipping – the fleece is very forgiving.

we packed the scarves into a bag, along with gloves, a coffee gift card, a big bag of chocolate chip cookies, and a super adorable card made by gracie.

 i gave her full freedom on what the cards looked like – she drew a little girl (that she copied from a older friend) with a tree and gifts on the outside, then grabbed her old awana book and copied a couple of her favorite verses inside.  then we finished it off with a note, saying merry christmas, may God bless them and keep them warm this season.

everyone grabbed a couple bags and we headed downtown, where we always run across a handful of homeless people.

its always a little awkward.  we have had to teach our kids not to yell, “look!  there’s a homeless person!”  we talked about a basic script that we would say, something like, “we made some gifts for you that we hope will keep you warm!  merry christmas and God bless you!”  but this time they seemed more comfortable and it was a little easier.

after handing out the first 3 bags to a group of men (by the way, we ALWAYS do this with my husband – safety first) the kids walked around the corner and were giddy!  “did you see how big they smiled?!”  they were loving it.  they know that these people don’t get gifts like we do at christmas, that they don’t even get to be with their family most likely at christmas, that the little bit of time and money we spent meant a lot to them.

now let’s see how long that giving spirit lasts!

Comments

  1. 1

    what a wondeful thing to do…and to teach your kiddos.
    this post brought tears to my eyes.
    Merry Christmas!
    M x

  2. 2

    This is the best post I read all season! Have a blessed Christmas!

  3. 3

    I love this. I have tears in my eyes.

    Every year, my kids have the whole week before Christmas off from school so we have days to fill with different things to celebrate the season. One day last year, I gave my then 6 year old 4 $5 bills and told her that it was for giving. She gave two homeless people $5 bills, spent $5 on canned goods and we took them to a homeless shelter, and then we took $5 to her favorite park with a carousel and she paid for 5 kids to ride on it. She had so much fun and the sparkle in her eye when she saw how giving to others can make you feel really good was just awesome. I can’t wait to do it again next week!!

  4. 5

    Love this!
    And love Emily’s idea too.

  5. 6

    What an awesome idea!! I hope we can to this when our kids are older :)

  6. 7

    What a lovely thing to do with you family! Thanks for sharing. It’s got me thinking about how I can reach out to others as well.

  7. 8

    My teen daughter has been on two of these outings with our church group…and while Christmas shopping in the mall the other day….all I hear in every single store is (your phrase from the very beginning on the post). It’s sad! Really. I will chalk if up to her being a teenager but seriously there is no excuse for selfishness.

    Maybe I need to send her to your house. Or someones house. Hehe

    Let’s pray shall we?

  8. 9

    Awesome! Enough said.

  9. 10

    What an AWESOME idea! I’ve been looking for something to do with my three kiddos this year and I think we’ll do this. My kids are still little {3,2, 10 months} but I think my 3-yr-old will understand since she’s been making references to “our home” and other people’s homes. Of course, we will be handing them out with my husband too. ;-) Thank you for sharing this!

  10. 11

    What an awesome thing to do with your kids! My nieces are struggling with the selfishness this Christmas season. They are still young but I’m doing my best to reiterate the true reason for the season. This is a wonderful idea. I’ll have to file this away to do with them in a couple years.

  11. 12

    Your post brought tears to my eyes. We have two little ones and it is hard for them to understand the world outside of them. Ours are 4yrs and 2yrs so we have a little ways to go. What a great way to teach your kids with solid concrete examples of how they can brighten someones day. Thank you so much for your post. I hope it inspires other families like it has inspired me. Keep up the great work Lindsey, you have fantastic kids and a wonderful family. God bless and have a wonderful holiday!

  12. 13

    You guys are so awesome! What a great thing to teach your kids ;) Happy Holidays!

  13. 14

    That was so beautiful and really is the Spirit of Christmas! It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing.

  14. 15

    Great idea!!!
    xo

  15. 16

    Lindsey, wow. What a great idea! I like that it is simple, but has a big impact. You are SO thoughtful.

  16. 17

    I love that you are talented enough to make something worthy of giving away! (my skills are limited to just the cookies) We take our kids each year to the toy store, have them pick out a previously determined number of toys that they want for Christmas, and then we head over to the women’s and children’s shelter in our town. We donate them to their Christmas toy drive. This year, our 5 year old cried all the way home. He said he was happy to give toys away but didn’t understand why he had to give away the ones he wanted. Maybe next year…. :) Our older two (7 and 9) got the lesson and have continued to pray for families who live in our community who are struggling this Christmas season.

  17. 18

    This is great! I read something the other day where they gave their kids $100 as part of their Christmas gift, but they had to give it away somehow. I want to do something like this when I have kids!

  18. 19

    How awesome are you?! It is hard to serve with kids because you don’t want them to make others feel bad. We always pick out a family and talk a lot about how to help. This year we just wrote the family letters and are hoping and praying that is what they need most!

  19. 20

    What a great way to help children (and adults) remember the true meaning of Christmas- sacrifice and love for man. This year we shopped for where our family donation would go. The kids will also color in their Heifer giftcards for our relatives. I love the idea of giving each child a set amount of money to decide how to give. We may do that this week.

  20. 21

    Love it! Thank you for sharing. What a blessing your kids will receive from such a lesson.

  21. 22

    What a wonderful idea!! And I love the scarves you made!!

  22. 23

    What a fabulous idea! You go momma!

  23. 24

    Great idea!

  24. 25

    LOVE it… that’s exactly the kind of thing I want to add to our christmas traditions, as our little one gets older!

  25. 26

    GREAT POST. A friend sent me the link to the Jimmy Kimmel video about giving kids bad presents and I was so discouraged at some of the behaviors. THIS POST is wonderful. It great to see kids excited about doing good for others! Merry Christmas to you and your family! :)

  26. 27

    This brings tears to my eyes! That little Silas ha got to be one of the cutest little boys ever!!

  27. 28

    I am in awwww. And tearing up of course. That is a wonderful idea… and we are so doing it! Thank you so very much for sharing!!!!!

  28. 29

    This is Awesome. So inspiring and I hope to do something like this with my kids this year!

  29. 30

    Oh my goodness. This totally filled my eyes with tears. What an amazing lesson for your little ones. And what a blessing to those you gifted.

  30. 31

    This is AWESOME!!! I am going to show this to my little ones!

  31. 32

    How inspirational! I would love to do this with my girls.

  32. 33

    What a wonderful way to show love for your neighbours!

  33. 34

    I love it! This brought tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat. Thanks for sharing this, and most of all, thank you for letting the Lord use you for His Glory! I can’t imagine how many people read your blog and so frequently read of your faith in the Lord Jesus. What a blessing you are to me and so many others.

    Robyn S. Villacampa

  34. 35

    Love this! Such an important lesson, and so easy to forget this time of year when everyone is so focused on “What do you want from Santa?”

  35. 36

    Thanks for sharing, Lindsey! Through our school we help to make hampers for 17 families and, in order to help out, I took my boys (yep, all 4 of them!) grocery shopping to help out with this effort. It was good for them and it really made them understand that not every family has the means to have Christmas the way we do.

    BUT, thank you also for sharing some great ideas about how to help out in a homemade way. I am going to share today’s post with my family and hopefully it will inspire them, too!

    Merry Christmas and may God bless you and your family richly in 2012!

  36. 37

    What a wonderful idea and post!!! I would love to do this and maybe get our small group from church involved. My husband and I were just downtown the other evening and saw a homeless man laying on the sidewalk trying to sleep. I can’t imagine how cold he must have been (I’m in Northern California so there’s no snow, but it was really cold for our area that night). Do you mind if I ask if the gifts were well received?

    Thank you for the inspiration!!!

  37. 38

    Unfortunately the season of selfishness has hit our family, too. Your act of love and charity is both beautiful and inspiring! It brought tears to my eyes as you mentioned your girls giddy with excitement. What a wonderful lesson!

  38. 39

    Such a great way to give back and to teach kids to be kind and giving. Thank you for posting this! Happy Holidays !

  39. 40

    This brought tears to my eyes! What a wonderful idea!

  40. 41

    This is so wonderful Lindsey! Tears are flowing. Think I will do this with my 3 this weekend….thank you for the inspiration!! Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday….xxx

  41. 42

    I love love love this!!! What wonderful thing to teach your children! I’m putting something together something for Project Night Night this year for the same general reasons.

  42. 43

    What a wonderful idea! I have tears in my eyes and a thankful heart. You are a blessing and a gift from God.

  43. 44

    Absolutely beautiful! I love it.

  44. 45

    You’re an amazing mom. Your kids are learning an invaluable lesson and compassion.

  45. 46

    That is so sweet! What a great cause/teachable moment :)

  46. 47

    Honestly, we live in a small town with no homeless people that we know of. But I LOVE that you did this and had the kids involved from beginning to end.
    Here, we go to the nursing homes and sing and my 8 yr old plays her violin as we sing Christmas carols with them. SO many of them are stuck there and people just forget about them. Its very sad. Theyre always so thrilled that we come, especially when they see the girls. They just love kids!
    xo

  47. 48

    lindsey, you are inspiring in so many more ways than you’ll ever know.

  48. 49

    very inspiring! can’t wait to do this with my LO when she’s a bit older. my sibs and i used to sing at nurses home at christmas, and i’ll always remember how much it meant to those people who would cry and sing along with us. that’s what christmas is about!

  49. 50

    Tears in my eyes. Lump in my throat! What a beautiful gesture. You are doing a fabulous job with your kids. And I love reading this blog. Merry Christmas!

  50. 51

    That is so awesome! I love this idea and hope to do it too :)

  51. 52

    LOVE the visual of the kids pointing and shouting, “THERE’s a homeless person!” That is just exactly what my littles would do! Thanks for the inspiration … and for taking care of others in our community while teaching your babies to be great citizens.

    Cheers!
    Maggie

  52. 53

    What a lovely idea. Kids love to give to others when they have the chance. Of course, they want things for themselves too, but so do we adults! With all the advertising we are faced with, it’s easy to forget we don’t need all these things.

  53. 54

    What a wonderful idea. This is something I would love to do when my children are a bit older.

  54. 55

    LOve this…just love.

  55. 56

    I am the sister of a homeless man. I would like to say Thank You! Thank You for caring about their existence. I wish our world was filled with more caring, loving, humans. Not only are you gifting the homeless but giving your children the best gift of all – Large caring giving hearts. Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder where my brother is and if he is OK. I hope he comes into contact with someone as kind as you this Christmas season.

  56. 57

    So precious that you did this with your kids. I teach preschool in a public school and it is so sad to know how very little of them have ANY idea what Christmas is about. What a wonderful way for you to teach them! We don’t have homeless people in our town, that are evident anyway, but I am inspired to find a way to do this next year! :)

  57. 58

    Magnificent idea, and so simple. This is an excellent holiday tradition, well worth emulating. Merry Christmas!

  58. 59

    i love this.

  59. 60

    love. this.

  60. 61

    precious! <3
    last year, I had to do a community service for a class and since it was around Christmas, we searched for a Christmas related outreach. finally we found one called Help Portrait…photographers from the area did family portraits for free for the homeless. it was amazing.

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