The holidays are coming. I even have my children groaning that Christmas decorations are out before Thanksgiving. Heck, they were out before Halloween!
I love Thanksgiving…family, friends and food! What more could you want? But despite my love for Jesus, His birthday is not my favorite holiday. We all know it’s overly commercialized. But the hardest part for me is the huge build-up to the day and the over-stimulating nature of the holiday. To lessen the impact, I have put a few rules in place for our family:
- We don’t put up our tree until the second or third week in December. And we’ve been known to put it up only days before Christmas.
- We don’t commit to too many activities (Christmas parties, seasonal activities, visiting *Santa*, etc.)
- We don’t overwhelm our kids with gifts. To be honest, I’d rather spend our money on a family experience. In the past we gave them each 3 gifts, because there were three wise men. These days, I’m following a tip from Jen Hatmaker. It seems to make holiday gift giving a lot simpler:
Something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read.
My kids were never really spoiled. But coming home from Malawi and sharing with them how little these children had, has had an impact on them, I think. Our kids sat down the other night to make their lists. They were both manageable lists. And many of the items simply can’t be bought because they’ve made them up in their minds. Logan even said, “I don’t know what to write. There’s nothing I really *need.*” I wanted to hive five the kid and say, “preach it bruth-uh!”
But there are people who really *are* in need. People here and people abroad. And though we try to be mindful of that all year long, Christmas is still the “season of giving,” which makes it a good time to give to those who are less fortunate.
Every year, we try to fill a few shoeboxes for children in need through Samaritan’s Purse. It’s called Operation Christmas Child. Follow the link and it will tell you exactly what you need to do. Decide who you want to give to (boy or girl and the age range), fill a shoebox with goodies (small toys, hygiene items, school supplies, clothing & accessories), add $7 for shipping and find a drop off location nearest you. In fact, if you can get them to me by Saturday, November 23rd, I can make sure they get to where they need to be.
If you’re interested in participating, here are a few other fun ideas:
If you pay the $7 shipping fee online, you can track where your gift goes.
Don’t have time to shop? Build a shoebox online!
It’s not necessary to wrap the shoeboxes, but it’s a nice touch. Just make sure to wrap the lid and the box separately so they can be easily opened.
Now, time to get packing! A simple gift goes a long way in the eyes of a child in need! I’ve seen it myself! And, while our children tend to expect a bounty of gifts for Christmas, it’s nice to teach them that gift giving can be fun too!
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35
So…what should we put in these shoeboxes? Leave your suggestions in the comments section.