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Sacrifice A Gift

Gifts! Who doesn’t feel a little giddy when they see a present that has their name on it? But, how do we provide balance? We don’t want to let out children down, but are we becoming order fillers? How can we avoid the “I Want” syndrome epidemic in today’s society?

Gifts! Who doesn’t feel a little giddy when they see a present that has their name on it? Perhaps Scrooge, prior to learning that happiness has nothing to do with wealth but actually sharing with others? Or maybe the Grinch before learning that Christmas came to Who-ville “without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!”

Christmas morning is filled with the thrill and fun of tearing open presents. The look of delight on our child’s face when a package holds a gift he’s been hoping and asking for is priceless. But, how do we provide balance? We don’t want to let out children down, but are we becoming order fillers? How can we avoid the “I Want” syndrome epidemic in today’s society?

Here’s an idea. This year, mixed in with the gift opening, sweet bun eating, coffee and cocoa drinking Christmas morning hubbub, remove a little bit of the “I Want” and add a little “Let’s Give” by joining together as a family to help someone else. And the best part? It’s going to be a surprise! Here’s how:

1. Select your cause Do you or your family have a favorite cause? Maybe you love animals. Or, perhaps you’re concerned about folks in need – homeless families or children who face disabilities, illness or abuse and neglect. Maybe your family enjoys hiking in state parks and is interested in lands conservancy. Or maybe you have a passion for the theater or art. The options are endless. When you make your decision, ponder these questions….What matters to your family and what will resonate with your children?

2. Make your donation and wrap it up When you’re making decisions about gifts you’re planning to buy for your children, consider holding back one or two and, in place of those gifts, make a donation to the cause of your choice – no matter the size – on behalf of your family. Keep your decision a secret and wrap a special present for your family including photos, a note or brochure explaining the gift that your family has given and how it will help others. Put everyone’s name on the gift.

3. Open the gift as a family and reflect In the midst of your holiday gift opening, pull out your special gift and open it together. Your children might be confused or surprised to learn that it’s actually a gift from them to an organization that helps others – a sacrifice for someone who needed a gift more than they needed the gadgets, games, clothes and toys on their list. After the gift is open, take a moment to reflect on how fortunate your family is and how, through sharing, you have helped others. On a very special Christmas morning, you may change your children’s perspectives and yours.