Last week I shared some ideas for how both sides of our family have celebrated Christmas in the past. I wanted to give a fuller picture of what those celebrations looked like and some suggestions for a more meaningful and less “stuff-centric” Christmas. Let’s focus on the joy of giving rather than getting.
Sharing Your Gifts
I wrote about how one year my husband’s side of the family did a “share your gifts/talents” idea. It was something new and I know we were all delighted by all the things that people brought to the evening. My mother in law directed many of the cousins in a play that they performed for us that evening. One of my sister-in-laws who is whiz in the kitchen made consumable treats for each family. One of my brother-in-laws who is a geologist gave the gift of his knowledge and shared a presentation on the geological events that happened in 2014. My husband, who is an artist and a musician, sang a song that he had made up based on a children’s graphic novel series, Zita the Spacegirl, *(affiliate link, please see below) that all my sons love.
My gift that I wanted to share that year was the gift of reflecting and writing. I had people write a letter to themselves that they sealed and addressed to themselves. I kept the letters and mailed them the following Christmas to them. I hope it was an encouragement to them to see where they had been a year ago and where they were in the present. I know every time I do that exercise, I’m always surprised at how many things can change in a year, or stay the same, but our hearts are in a different place.Have you thought about sharing the gift of your talent this Holiday? Talking about the joy of giving Click To Tweet
Gifts that are Life Changing
I’m sure many of you are aware of the organization World Vision. We sponsor a child in Ghana. Every Christmas time there is a catalog that is sent to us with some suggestions of gifts that an individual or group can purchase for a family. There is a broad range of gifts that can be purchased.
One Christmas I went through the catalog with my sons so that they could each pick out one gift to give to a family in another country. It was a great way for us to discuss how these gifts would make a difference, to get a glimpse into life in developing countries, and a chance for them to be outward focused. This is something we would like to make an annual tradition.
The Importance of Family
A daily habit I am trying to instill is the practice of gratitude. I am trying to write down 3 things I am thankful for each night. One if not all three of the things I usually write down focuses on how grateful I am for specific and oftentimes small things about one of my family members. Family is so important.
This Christmas our family has joined The Hope Effect campaign to provide a home environment with two parents for orphans around the world. This 501c3 is being spearheaded by Joshua Becker at Becoming Minimalist.Looking to give this holiday? Consider @thehopeeffect. Only $10 a month to provide a family style home for an orphan. Click To Tweet
UNICEF estimates that over 26 million children worldwide live without parents . The vision of the Hope Effect is small home like settings for the majority of orphans who will not be adopted into loving families. They are starting with their first family style home on the campus of La Providencia in Siguatepeque, Honduras.
We’re joining their $10 team because we have a heart for adoption and feel inspired by this bold goal. I recently cancelled Hulu and didn’t renew Amazon Prime because I felt that we didn’t utilize them enough to justify the monthly/annual expense. This is a great place to redirect part of that money. If you and your friends or family are looking for a new organization to give to this Christmas, consider the Hope Effect.
Whether you give your gift of talents this holiday season, or your gift of money (or both!), let’s be intentional and generous this holiday season.
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How are you giving (your time, your resources, yourself) this holiday season?
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Oh, such a glorious gift!! Thanks for sharing with us!
I love these! Without any effort on my part, my kids have become so “stuff-centric” about Christmas. Now my husband and I are making a concerted effort to shift their mindsets.
That’s great that you’re starting early Abby! Becoming “stuff centric” is pretty darn easy in our culture isn’t it?
I love that you had your children chose the gifts to send to others. I think it’s so important to teach our children to give to others.
Me too Jessica! It’s sweet to see them process and reasons why they choose the gifts they do
I love this. Last night I printed out a blank calendar for December and made time to write a small act of kindness in every single day. Some bigger than others. Some very very small. But action items for the entire month.
Hi Carla – what a great idea. I love the idea of intentionally performing small and large acts of kindness. I’ll have to remember that for next year! Thank you for sharing!
I can’t wait to give to a foster child this year. I really have a heart for kid’s in the system so it’s nice to be able to give them a physical gift at Christmas.
That’s a wonderful idea Bethany!
Oh wow what a beautiful idea!
Lisa Froman says
What a great post. I will check out some of these charities– I love the idea of intentional giving.
Thanks Lisa. For me, if it’s not intentional, it doesn’t happen!
Thanks for such great words, Angela! You are so right, sharing our gifts is hugely important, whether it be a talent at something or money for a family across the world. I am music director at my church, and one way that I am hoping to spark others to share their gifts is to take them to sing Christmas carols at a local nursing home. It doesn’t cost anything but time, and is a beautiful way to share the joy of Christ with many who are forgotten. Thanks for the reminder to share our joy through giving!
We’ve done this before as a youth group and it is definitely a great way to use your gifts. I’m glad that you’ll be doing that Hannah!
lauren | talk of the trains blog says
LOVE this and love your heart! We like to give experiences as well and that has been great for us to invest and do as a family together. We also sponsor a child through Compassion and then some locally. This year, my little girl is old enough to understand it all and she has chosen the kids we will sponsor. I am looking forward to seeing her share with others this holiday season!
That’s so wonderful Lauren! It’s such a gift to see children giving and showing love to others.
lovely post! the best gifts are always the ones that are intangible or thoughtful, in my opinion!
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Thank you Tianna! I think so too.
Love this post from Tuesday Talk. Such unique ideas here. Will be featuring this on next week’s Tuesday Talk on my blog. Such inspiration here for many. Also pinned to our Tuesday Talk board.
Thank you Michelle! I’m so honored!
Sharing your gifts is such a great and unique idea!
It is Emily, I’m so glad my in laws suggested it that year. It was fun to stop and consider what gift to share. We all have them and I find that it’s easy to forget to share your gifts with those closest to us.
Deb Wolf says
Thank you so much for sharing this at Faith ‘n Friends Blog Hop. I love this idea. It’s a beautiful way to help children discover their gifts and grow them and it helps adults use them for fun and blessing each other. God’s blessings!
Thank you Deb!
Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom says
Love this, *sniff sniff* Also love the writing exercise you did with your family… Going to have to borrow that idea!
Thank you for sharing such inspirational ideas with us at Friday Frivolity!! So glad you joined the party, and glad to connect. 🙂
Hi Sarah Eliza! Yes – use it! It’s a great exercise.
Love that letter idea! That’s fantastic! I remember doing something like that in high school, but I love the idea of doing it for adults as well!
Thanks for joining the Alder Collective link-up! Pinned, and we hope to see you again next week!
Thank you Kayla! I appreciate your party!
Giving is a gift that continues to have an effect long after the deed is done. When you think of Christmas you can’t help but think of the happy faces of children everywhere, but there are children born with a birth defect that face challenges other children will never experience. Donations to the Birth Defect Research for Children (BDRC) support research through the National Birth Defect Registry and special services to parents who have children with birth defects.