“Essy, I have a quarter left over, do you want to put it in the red bucket when we go in the store?” asked Kate today as we piled out of the van to go into Walmart. In this short interchange, Kate mentioned that her favorite part of the Holiday season is putting money in the Salvation Army buckets and giving gifts for others.
I knew she loved to cook up ideas with her siblings on what to give whom, and she is known for making sure that everyone is taken care of for their birthdays and such. But I didn’t realize that our tradition of giving gifts to children in need during the holiday season was important to her. It is a tradition we started 9 years ago, when it was only Kate, and kept up even during the lean times. As it was important for us that our kids understood that despite the fact they didn’t get everything they wanted, they were always provided for and they always had something to give to others who may not have as much.
Today, we chose to not do the toy gift giving, but instead “adopt” two familes of children who didn’t have winter clothes. While we were planning on prune out the kids’ overly abundant wardrobes for the various ages/sizes involved, the kids decided that it would be good to take the money we usually use for the toy giving programs and use it instead to buy one item of new clothing for each child.
And boy, they had fun. I gave them criteria – warm clothes, no more than $xx, and sizes, and they were off. Within 15 minutes, they had found what they wanted within the price range I gave. On the way home, they talked about how they lucky they were to have so many clothes when others had none or few. Now, my kids are mostly clothed in hand-me-downs, Freecycle finds, and the odd piece of clearance clothing; but God has always provided them with an abundance of clothing whenever they had a need.
It did my heart good, to know that this tradition, of them doing the shopping, being hands-on, and participating in the decisions, has worked. Thank you Lord.
Do you have a tradition of giving during the Holidays, or any other time of the year? If so, please share it.