Mama Monday: The Givers not the Gimmes

I love Christmas, and I loathe Christmas all in one! From about Thanksgiving until Christmas my children get a bad case of the "gimmies." They bombard me with, "I want this..." or "I want that..." as I walk by two bedrooms full of toys. To be fair, it's not their fault. The marketing and advertising directed at children really ramps up this time of year (which is why I'm so glad that our satellite is going bye-bye tomorrow!).

Well, I didn't want to raise ungrateful children, so a couple of years ago we started some Christmas traditions centered around giving, not getting.

Here are some of our family's ideas (keep in mind that I LOVE to cook!):

For public servants
  • We make cookies for the garbage men, the mail carrier, and the librarians (when you homeschool those library ladies are your BFFs). One of our best family traditions is Chipette and Magpie anxiously looking out the window in the living room for the trash truck or the mail man's truck to enter the neighborhood. Then they run out of the house to catch them and give them our container of cookies. Of course, the girls help me cook every batch. Monkey will help too when he gets a little older.
For our church family
  • For our elders, ministers, and deacons, I have the kids make homemade Christmas cards and a pie.
  • For the kid's Sunday school teachers, I keep track of who their teachers have been for the year, and we make them cards as well and a small tin of cookies.
  • While I would like to do something for all the members of our church, it's just not possible, so a few years ago I started this tradition. I keep one of our church directories cut up by families. Every year we draw three families out of a basket. Those are the families that will get presents from us this year. Usually I bake each family a pie, but this year I think we will do an assortment of a dozen homemade muffins (we've been trying a new muffin recipe every week for the past three months and I've discovered some good ones!). Once a family is drawn, then their name is discarded so you don't draw the same names every year. At this rate it will take us like 50 years to get through our congregation, but we're doing our best :)
For our friends
  • I'm probably one of the few people I know that still sends out Christmas cards, but that is what we do for our friends. I send out about 60 cards every year with a picture of my kids inside. I don't really care if I get any back either. It's just fun for me! We all sit in the living room (after Monkey's gone to bed), watch Christmas movies, and sign cards. Priceless!
For our teachers
  • As anyone who's ever read my blog knows, we homeschool our children, but I used to teach in the public school, so I felt the need to add this public service announcement on their behalf. Teachers love to get Christmas gifts from their students (even us junior high and high school teachers do, just so you know!), but I've met very few teachers who love to get lots of candles, bath products, hair products, and Christmas ornaments from EVERY student. So in case you haven't chosen your kid's teacher a gift yet, let me offer you some advice: gift card. Buy the teachers gift cards to your local grocery store, Wal-Mart, or Target. This will be appreciated far more than you know at this time of year.
Of course, my kids still get lots of toys every year, but they know that come the new year we will be weeding out old toys and giving them to the children's home. Sometimes I have to do this in secret after they have gone to bed because they will fight to the death over a toy that they haven't played with in 6 months!

Hopefully some of these ideas will help you to raise giving children and feel free to leave your family's traditions in the comments as well.

Focusing on giving not getting in the treehouse,


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