My Precious Pennies

I will be AWAY until late February as we do this moving thing...again.

Ginger from Attention Target Shoppers & Tricia from 1stopmom
will be holding down the fort in the meantime - thank you so much, ladies!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Spreading the Holiday cheer!

Do you volunteer during the Holidays? What organizations do you donate your time to? How do you teach your children the true meaning of the Holidays?

I used to do a lot of volunteering during the Holidays - from visiting nursing homes to butchering wrapping presents. But the past couple of years have been really crazy for us. Besides being dead pregnant and basically horizontal for the entire Christmas season last year, for the past 3 years we've spent Christmas in 3 different states. When things settle down a bit more and we're able to get settled in a place, I hope to start volunteering again, and not just around the Holidays.

Organizations that I generally like to support are rescues or pet shelters. I also like to take a box of goodies to the USO every week or so with my stockpile overflow. Eventually in the future, I would love to get involved in programs where we would foster a deployed solder's dog.

There are also a lot of easy but often overlooked ways to give back. You can help out a school by purchasing items through the Box Tops Marketplace - they will automatically donate a percentage of your purchase to the school of your choice (check out the link - I'm giving away a $50 Walmart giftcard). Macy's is donating $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for every letter they receive in their "Santa Mail" mailboxes. These are just some extremely easy ways to give back that just about everybody can participate in.

This is the baby's first Christmas, but I'm already worrying about how to get the true meaning of the holidays over to her. She is the first everything (first grandchild, first great-grandchild, first niece...etc.) and our relatives have gone a bit psychotic in buying things for her. We're really appreciative of their generosity and their love, but it's just going to explode at Christmas. She's obviously not going to realize what's going on this Christmas or the next, but I do not want our daughter to grow up thinking Christmas is just about STUFF.

I think the key to teaching a child the true meaning of Christmas is to focus on the things that matter the most to your family. Make sure that gifts are not the thing they look forward to the most. Every child will look forward to gifts, but I think the trick is to get them just as excited about making gingerbread houses, or decorating the tree, or some other family tradition. Gifts last a year, if even that, but traditions last a lifetime.


Robyn said...

I go through the same thing with my family at Christmas and birthdays. There is just too much and we're trying to keep our kids real about it all. This year, now that our oldest is 5, we encouraged him to think of places he'd like to go instead of toys. (He's a baseball nut anyway and all he wants to do is throw a ball. Never plays with toys.)
He totally jumped on the idea and thought of places he's like everyone to take him, like batting cages, mini golf, go karts, Disneyland, etc.
We still get the phone calls, asking which toys to get him, but everyone is also excited to take him out for a special day too. So hopefully it will cut back on at least half of the junk.
We also do a lot of charity work, and talk about God to help the boys focus less on the material things of the season.

Erin Tales said...

I think you dont need to worry too much about your baby getting the meaning of Christmas at this age. But as she gets older, just show how much fun it is to give to family and those in need. As you set an example, she will get it.

Natalie said...

I agree that the holidays should be about the traditions and time spent with family instead of the gifts. My son is also the first . First boy, first grandson etc. He is spoiled by both my family and his stepfamily. I think with us stayinghome for the hoildays this year it will make it a little easier to focus on the giving spirit of Chirstmas with him instead of the getting.

Tena said...

I love wrapping presents, but by the end my fingers hurt so bad... lol!
I love the idea of helping out a deployed soliders pet!!

Stephanie said...

You've got a lot of great ideas! Thanks for sharing. And, I think you are right about focusing on the things that last a lifetime.

Michelle@lifeinawhirlwind said...

What a beautiful post. You have so many great ideas. My favorite is taking care of deployed soliders pet.

Tracye said...

great ideas!

Momstart said...

Family is very important at Christmas.

I really hope you find out that your daughter is ok

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