This year I was on the search for an alternate to the traditional ‘Countdown to when I get presents‘ that children of todays society have become so accustom too. Despite conversations and countless reminders, the idea of counting down to Christmas has somehow just become so material based, it was leaving this Mama with a feeling of … Yuck. That about sums it up. As the kids are getting older I find it more and more important to teach more life skills and life lessons when possible. It definitely does not always work out the way I plan it in my head, but hopefully they are getting the jist of things in the bigger picture for their journey in this world.
Just the other day as I was waiting for some images to upload, I had given myself a timed 5-minute media break. (My trusty 30/30 app keeps me on task! — I try to set goals for myself and then give myself a little ‘reward’ so I don’t get completely burnt out by the end of the day working at the office all day. This allows me to check in on social media, text a friend quick, take a quick walk outside — whatever it is, I just break it up.) While on my ‘break’ I was skimming my instagram feed when I saw a photo by a photographer friend, Jamie, and it stopped me in my tracks! She said it was the first day of her “Giving Jar” and I immediately knew I needed to know more.
It is really important to me that my kids learn the importance of giving. Not only to do something generous but to feel that joy that comes when helping others. I believe, there is truly nothing like it. So this “Giving Jar” is a way to introduce this experience that will hopefully be a treasured family tradition for years to come.
The way it works: I printed up 24 ‘action items.’ These things range from ‘writing a letter to a solider,’ to baking cookies to deliever to the local fire department with a note of thanks.’ Then I cut up each paper and roll it up – or put it in a little box if you have 24. I rolled each with a little bit of twine I had in the craft drawer. Then each scroll got a number so the kids knew which day to draw each day. The kids have the whole day to complete the task and then at the end of the day we discuss how it made them feel, what they learned etc.
The things I would recommend are:
-Checking the numbered action items with the calendar date to be sure some time consuming items are on a weekend.
-Prep all materials you might need (baking items, donated items, games or crafts etc.) that way you aren’t running out to the store the day of.
-Check with local facilities you are donating to in order to find out what items they might need more of, what sizes, and what times they are open.
-Use a jar of some sort that is decorative so it stays visable at all times. This helps keep it as a topic of conversation as well as being mindful of giving – even subconsiously! I have had our jar for a years but never knew what to do with it! I added some silver bells in the bottom for decorate as its on our kitchen counter.
We are only on day 3 and I can tell you this is going to be a favorite family tradition for years to come! I am so grateful Jamie shared this beautiful idea — Talk about the power of Giving!? She gave our family such an amazing gift – For that I’m grateful. You can read more about how this started for her here.
What will you do to inspire the season of giving for your family? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Wishing you love and joy this holiday season.
**On a sidenote — ‘finding beautiful in the chaos’ will be a new “Parenting Ideas, Stories, Crafts and just a General Entertaining” area of the blog… Stay tuned.