by Stacey Schifferdecker
Have you heard the new Christmas song by Matthew West and Amy Grant called Give this Christmas Away? Every time I hear this song or see the video, it brings tears to my eyes.
The video is on the latest Veggie Tale DVD, St. Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving or you can see it on Youtube.
If you are inspired to give Christmas away, here are some ideas to help you get started. It may be too late to try some of these ideas this year, but you can get a head start on next year.
Fill a Shoebox
The Give this Christmas Away video features children receiving Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes through Samaritan's Purse. Operation Christmas Child is a great way you and your children can share God's love and the true story of Christmas with children from around the globe. All you do is wrap a shoebox (wrap the lid separately) and then fill it with toiletries, toys, and school supplies. You can choose whether you are filling a box for a boy or a girl and for what age. Then you just take your box to a local collection center; the website lists collection sites all over the United States and Canada. Samaritan's Purse asks that you include $7 per box to help with shipping costs. If you pay the $7 online, you can get a code to track where your box ends up.
Can You Spare a Dime?
You know that spare change you find on the floor, behind the sofa cushions, in the dryer, and at the bottom of your purse? Throw it all into a container throughout the year – you'll be surprised by how it adds up! In December, you can give the money to charity, buy a gift for Toys for Tots, or just dump it all in the Salvation Army kettle.
Give Your Time
Of course, one of the messages we want to send our children is that Christmas isn't all about gifts. Sharing gifts is awesome, but sharing time and love can have even more of an impact. Invite an older neighbor to join you and your children to make Christmas cookies or fudge. Offer to babysit so some young parents can go Christmas shopping or have a night out. Invite international students from your local college or university to join your family for Christmas dinner. Visit a nursing home and spend time with the residents, playing a game of checkers or painting the ladies' fingernails.
Share Your Talents
A couple years ago I took up knitting. I don't have much time to knit, but for a while I was whipping out quick scarves for everyone in my family. This year, my daughter has asked me to teach her to knit and to sew. If you have a talent like knitting, sewing, or baking, share those talents with others. Simple fleece blankets, scarves and hats are easy for young hands to help you with and are always welcome at homeless shelters in the winter.
Shop for Others
Do you go to any parties that have a gift exchange? It's fun to see the gifts people give each other, but do any of us really need the things we bring home? Instead, have a party where everyone brings gifts for a charity. You can still have the fun of exchanging and opening the gifts, but no one goes home with another bottle of lotion or Christmas ornament. For children, have a Birthday Party for Jesus and have the children bring baby items that you can give to a women's shelter. What are some ways you and your children have found to give Christmas away?
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