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I am so excited about a new family Christmas tradition that we have decided to start with our girls. I think I’m more excited about this than about any other gift we will be giving. I have hesitated to write about it because there is a danger in coming off the wrong way. Ultimately I decided that if even one other family thinks it’s a good idea and decides to do it too, then it is worth the risk of others thinking I am writing this with any questionable motivations.

As we began to think about Christmas gifts for the girls and other family members and figuring out our budget, I was overwhelmed one day with this thought: We are so BLESSED to be able to even think of spending money in this way. And the following verse came to mind: “And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed” Genesis 22:18. If we can afford to spend this much on gifts for family, surely we can afford to give extra so that a family with very little can be provided for. I realized that I want my girls to understand how incredibly blessed we are and that with all the resources we are given comes great responsibility to make sure we are using them to bless others. It’s sometimes hard for kids to really ‘get’ that there are many children in the world who have nothing. Our girls know very little of our regular giving choices, but tying this lesson to Christmas each year would be a wonderful way to connect the concept of how richly blessed we are with making sure we are blessing others who have little. There are a multitude of ways you could do this, but we have chosen to do the following:

The day before any Christmas gifts are opened this year (which will be after Thanksgiving since we are doing Christmas early with my family), we will talk about how we know that opening presents is so exciting and it’s going to be a lot of fun! Having presents and special food to eat are wonderful gifts from God. But there are lots of families who don’t have as much as we do and before we enjoy all the blessings we’ve been given, we want to make sure we give a special gift to another family that needs it. Then we will read the story “Beatrice’s Goat’ together. (This book is put out by Heifer International) It is the story of a little girl in Africa who desperately wants to go to school but her family cannot afford the required uniforms or books. Then her family is given the gift of a goat from a family far away. This goat produces milk for drinking and for making cheese. Her family now has more nutrition and can sell the extra milk and cheese for extra income. This income means they can buy more food for their six children and…can afford to buy Beatrice her school uniform and books.

After we read the story we will go online together with Trinity (We are choosing to go with World Vision but Heifer Int’l is also a wonderful organization) and together we will choose an animal to give to another family far away. Trinity has a wonderfully compassionate heart, and as Lilly grows, I hope she does too. I know Trin will be excited to pick out an animal to give. Goats, pigs, sheep, chickens, rabbits, there are so many to choose from and all of them can help the families they go to in multiple ways. We will give Trinity a budget and let her decide what our family will give. I am excited to see what she chooses! I hope this new tradition will help keep the importance of sharing our blessings with others at the forefront of our daughter’s minds as they grow. It’s always easy to look at others who have more and desire that for ourselves, but I think that living a generous life helps us to see what we have differently and keep things in perspective.

You can probably see now, why I debated whether or not it was a good idea to write this post. But I finally decided, if one other family decides to do something similar then twice as many people are helped than would have been otherwise, and that’s a good thing. Maybe your family can’t afford a goat, maybe you choose baby chicks, or go together to serve at a shelter, or make a meal together to take to a family who is struggling financially. Maybe you bring cookies to someone who has a thankless job, or make up a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child. Heck, maybe you are in an entirely different position and can afford to pay to have a well dug for fresh water for a village in Africa. I have no idea what your situation is but chances are, if you have food on your table daily you can afford to give in some way. I know lots of people give extra at the holidays but do they make a point to include their children in that process? I am certain plenty do already, but Trinity is finally reaching the age where it makes sense to talk about things in greater detail, so these are the things that are on my mind. It’s an easy time of year for kids to get caught up in what they will GET for Christmas. I think it’s important to make sure they get to be a part of the true joy that comes from GIVING.  If you have a fun serving or giving idea that your family does together I would love to hear about it!

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