I heard of this wonderful holiday giving tradition from Saren Eyre Loosli, Power of Moms Co-Director. It helps kids get involved in giving in a very meaningful and fun way.
This is from Saren’s blog post about this tradition:
“I’m grateful that many, many years ago, my parents started a great tradition that taught us to focus on caring and giving as part of our Christmas festivities. Every year, they’d help us learn about children around the world who were suffering and we’d choose a group of children we wanted to help. Then they helped us invite all our friends and neighbors to a “Children for Children” concert at our house. All of us kids would perform a little piano piece or do a dance or hold up a picture we’d painted or whatever. The audience (our parents and other friends and neighbors) would “pay” to come to the performance by putting a donation into a box. Then we kids would give all the money we’d “earned” to help the needy children we’d learned about.
I loved those Children for Children concert memories. I have great memories of helping to rearrange all the furniture and round up chairs from neighbors to accommodate a ridiculously large crowd in our not-so-big house. I loved the delicious refreshments. I loved having all my friends and their families there and seeing everyone share their talents. And I loved, loved, loved counting up that money in the donation box at the end and feeling so good that we could help those in need.” ~Saren
Another amazing entry Saren shared was about a time when she was wondering if it was really worth the effort and she was reminded that this is one tradition that really makes a difference.
“We had lots of cute kids share their talents (everything from singing Silent Night with sign language to doing lip synchs to playing chimes). The Nativity play at the end turned out to be quite lovely. The kids remembered their lines and did everything on cue plus our neighbor kindly allowed her newborn baby girl to star as Baby Jesus and having a real baby made it extra special for the kids and the audience.
While the kids went and enjoyed their refreshments at the end, we showed videos of the orphans in Bulgaria and photos of the kids in India and Africa to everyone who hadn’t had a chance to see this stuff at the kids’ rehearsal the night before. There weren’t a lot of dry eyes. What beautiful little children who need so much!
Anyway, there was such a feeling of caring and sharing in our home. What a beautiful evening.
When everyone left, the kids were really excited to unwrap the donation box and see how much money they got for their “friends” in Bulgaria and India and Africa. I told the kids we probably wouldn’t get that much this year since most of the people we know are having hard times – but even a couple hundred dollars would be good and really help needy kids.
But as we pulled out lots of $20 bills, we started getting excited. Maybe we’d have a pretty sizeable donation after all! Then Ashton pulled out some checks – one for $50 – yeah! Then one for $150 – wow! Then wait, hold everything, no way – one for $1000! We all had to read the check several times to make sure we’d read it right. Yep. $1000. The kids’ eyes were huge and round and sparkly and we just sat there in silence for a second. No way. We raised almost $1500 this year!!!
There was pure glee in the air as we talked about all the warm blankets and good food this money would buy for the orphans and all the wells we could build for the kids in Mozambique and all the great stuff my sister Charity would be able to do for the leper children in India with this money when she went over to India in a couple months.”
Wow, now that is a wonderful example of the gift of giving. Our children get so much at this time of the year and there are so many in the world that go without even the very basic necessities of life.
This month’s challenge is to create a wonderful opportunity to teach your children to give instead of just focusing on what they will get this Christmas. You could do a concert like Saren’s or do something more simple. It would be easy to help the kids pick a cause (Saren supported One Heart Bulgaria, Rising Star India and Care for Life Mozambique – all excellent charities that put money where it’s needed most) then invite friends over for a movie night or craft afternoon, inviting them to “pay” for the experience by putting a donation in a box and then giving the money they “earned” to help an organization that serves children.
This is a new tradition we will be adding to our family Christmas traditions.
Thank you Saren for such a simple, fun and powerful way to give and focus on what Christmas is really about.