As Christmas is fast approaching, the idea of accumulating more stuff makes me a little nauseous. Even though 90% of my house is in boxes now, we still have a lot of stuff in our temporary home. There are a ton of toys my kids don't play with and they are about to get a lot more in ten days. My first instinct was to go through all the toys one night while the kids were in bed and get rid of some, they would never know...
Then the other day I saw these cute, large gift bags at Michael's on Sale for $2. And it came to me, if I want to teach my kids it is better to give then to receive, now is the time to do it.
I honestly didn't know how it would go. I mean these are their toys I am asking to bag up and give away. So, I set them all down and told them how there were kids in our own town that will wake up on Christmas morning with no gifts. Maybe their father has lost his job or maybe they are just living in poverty, etc... I gave each child a bag and told them they had an opportunity to change a child's Christmas. There were two rules: Don't give them anything broken or damaged (we put those toys in the trash) and I had to see everything they put in their bag so I knew what they were giving away.
We turned the Christmas music up really loud and off to work my little elves went. It was such a sweet time to watch them fill their bags up. They would say to each other, "I really like this toy but I don't need it and they will be happy when they see this!" It is one thing to throw and give things away, it is another to give things away you like. Actually, some of the stuff they were putting in those bags I honestly wanted to keep, I had to shut my mouth and let them give freely.
We took all the bags to the car so they are ready for delivery on Christmas Eve. Our mission will be to find homes where we know small children live and then leave a bag on their front porch. I told the kid's they were going to be Christmas angels.
Trust me when I say this isn't a bragging moment for me as a mother, it is actually embarrassing that we can fill 8 bags of toys and two trash bags full just in one room... and still have plenty. It was not only a teachable moment for my children but for me as well. It is honestly easier to give when you are a child. The older we get, the tighter our grip gets on stuff we think we need.
I challenge you to do this in your home before Christmas. The benefit is three-fold, your kids will get excited about giving, other children will get to experience the joy of receiving, and your house will be a little less cluttered.
Maybe this could be a start to a fun tradition...