As a caring parent, Christmas requires a balancing act. Without becoming Mommie Dearest, how do you support your children’s excitement about Christmas, Santa and presents while encouraging compassion, kindness and a giving spirit? Below is a toy giving “party” idea that may help foster your child’s generosity.
Start the conversation by asking your children what they’d like for Christmas this year. Then, lead a discussion about other children in the world, kids they may know at school, families you’ve helped through church, or kids in other countries, children who may not have many material belongings, or whose parents might be without a job this winter. Inspire your kids by asking them to imagine how excited a child with very few toys might be to find a special plaything to unwrap on Christmas morning – Perhaps they’d be just as delighted as your child was when he or she first received it!
Then, crank up some holiday music, warm up the hot chocolate, and create a toy-giving party! Ask your kids to go through their toys and create a pile of toys they’d like to offer to other kids through a local Holiday toy-donation collection. Your can even set up a toy hospital where you and your kids give each donated toy a check-up, cleaning and minor repair job. Reward your children with a special treat such as a gingerbread boy cookie or a personalized Christmas Coloring Book!
Schedule a time to go with your children to deliver the toys to the donation facility. Then, complete the mission by sitting down with your kids write a letter to Santa. They can express their feelings about donating their older toys and include a few toys on their wish list. If they’re lucky, they might even receive a special letter from Santa in return! You can top off the whole event by watching “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” which includes the story of the Island of Misfit toys!
You’ve not only made room for new toys, but you’ve helped encourage a sense of giving and kindness, and as an added bonus, you’ve created a fun, annual holiday tradition.