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Mom to Mom Monday: How to make Christmas count?

Posted by Julie on 11/18/2013 to Mom Madness
Since my kids were toddlers we've envisioned Christmas, not without gifts, but WITH special traditions of giving, volunteering, caring for others. Each year we talk with enthusiasm of all the lessons we'd like to teach and ideas for making Christmas count.christmas,giving,ideas

Fast forward to 2013, our kids aren't toddlers anymore and we've still yet to implement and stick to any truly meaningful or memorable holiday traditions that we can do year after year.

Sure, we do some homemade gifting, baking, visiting with others, donating to thrift stores and charities, but our intent is always to do more.

I take comfort in knowing that good intentions also count, and that we're not the only family in this boat. This year as the holiday quickly approaches we're gathering some of our more valuable yet un-loved toys to donate to a family in need, encouraging the kids to be kind and donate, even if we can't know for sure who's hands our toys will make it into. It's the thought, the act, the gesture that counts.

I don't think you have to have a present-less Christmas to teach your kids a lesson, but you don have to insert a little planning in order to carry out a tradition of giving, not just receiving, and not just with regards to gifts.

Here are some ideas we have, that we'd like to try (one year or another). What ways does your family have or what ideas have you had for helping making Christmas count?

Ideas:
-Visiting the elderly in an assisted living or care facility.
-Creating care packages, cards, drawings, creating music cds for the troops overseas.
-Participating in random acts of kindness. From helping carry groceries to paying for another persons coffee, doing little things can really brighten someone else's day.
-Delivering baked goods to your local Fire or Police Department and keep in mind that on the holidays, some of these men and women have to work and will not be able to enjoy the holiday at home.
-Making donations of toys, food or clothing to your local Red Cross or Homeless Shelter.
-Shoveling the snow for your neighbors sidewalk or driveway.

What other ideas do you have that we could add to our list?