Sunday, December 2, 2007

Lessons in giving at Christmastime ...









I love Christmas and it is important to me that it be kept simple and free from commercialism as much as possible.  We enjoy the simple pleasures, such as riding around looking at Christmas lights and making lots of cookies!  We like to make a cake to eat on Christmas day to celebrate Jesus' birthday.  The kids really enjoy this tradition in particular and have already begun making gifts for Jesus.  They love to set up our nativity and pore over the Christmas books and videos when they come out of storage.  All of these are wonderful, but what we truly want to impart to our children is the love of giving to others.





We want our children to concentrate on giving to others and Jesus' teachings, not what will be under the tree for them.  Our children receive one gift per child from us and a stocking filled with undergarments, special candy and fancy toothbrushes.  They also receive gifts from relatives, but we encourage group gifts whenever possible.  Because we have a child who suffers from RAD, Christmas can be a tense time of year.  (RAD children tend to sabotage special events because of their attachment problems.)  We have worked very hard to make Christmas as simple and old-fashioned as possible.  For example, all of the gifts go under the tree unwrapped.  The "What you see is what you get!"  theory has helped our RAD child get through Christmas much more calmly.  As it turns out, the rest of the kids love it, too; and there is no wrapping paper for me to clean up!


Throughout the month of December, we talk a lot about how to serve others with our time, skills and resources.  The children pick several charities, and we concentrate on how to help them.  One charity we do every year is Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes.  To see how we did it this year go here


Another service project that the kids really enjoy is making a creche for baby Jesus.  Then when I catch them doing something good for another in the family, they get a ribbon to put in the creche.  Throughout the month, the creche gets well cushioned, and on Christmas morning a doll representing Jesus is waiting for them in the creche under the tree.  Later in the day, we will count up how many ribbons are in the creche and they will be traded in for money.  (Each ribbon will be worth a quarter.)  The money that the kids have earned through the month with their good deeds will go to feed a hungry baby.  Through Samaritan's Purse Christmas catalog, a baby can be fed for a week for only $9.  This catalog has many wonderful and unique ways to help people all over the world.  If you are interested in more info, call 1-800-353-5957.





(Our homemade creche for baby Jesus.)


The kids have been saving money for months to purchase an animal through Heifer International.  They are hoping to buy a trio of rabbits, but looking at the jar of mostly pennies, I think they have probably only saved enough for a flock of chicks.  The cool thing about Heifer International is that the program gives a needy family an animal that helps them establish a sustainable lifestyle.  Once the family is sustainable, they pass on the offspring of their animal to another family.  In this way your one small donation ends up helping an entire village. To find out more go here


On the local front, our adoption support group is buying Christmas gifts for a foster child, and we will be donating socks to the homeless through our church.  We will also be decorating a tree this year for the birds.  The kids will string popcorn and make bird seed creations and then hang them on a tree outdoors.  The kids will get to experience these things more directly than when I call a 1-800 number to a charity.


We will be schooling through the month, and if you want to see our lesson plans and book list, you can go here.


I hope you have a wonderful season filled with wonder and joy!





Blessings,
Dawn

30 comments:

  1. Your Christmas causes sound wonderful too! Reading your post was wonderful and warms my heart to know that there are many others that celebrate Christ in the way we do.


    Thank you for your post~

    Nancy

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  2. This is lovely!

    The focus on giving and sharing is wonderful. That is what it is all about.

    I really like your book list. I'm gonna have to check some of those out.

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  3. blessedwith2angelsDecember 3, 2007 at 1:33 AM

    What wonderful ways to celebrate Christmas. I love the way you have not commericalized the holidays.

    Pam

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  4. Thanks for sharing your traditions. It is such a challenge in our culture to keep the right focus, but sooooo important for the integrity of our kids! Your home and tree look beautiful!

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  5. Thank you for sharing! Wishing you and your family a wonderful CHRISTmas!


    Blessings,

    ~Tamara

    www.TrainingHearts.com

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  6. Wonderful ideas, thank you so much for sharing. I love that tree skirt! Your home is lovely.

    Melissa

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  7. we do a creche but I never thought of that! Thanks! I think we will be adding that to our traditons this year!

    blessings

    marye

    http://home-school.contentquake.com/2007/12/03/holiday-open-house/

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  8. What a neat Tree Skirt. I enjoyed reading your post. have a blessed day.


    Trina


    http://daddyschicks.blogspot.com

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  9. Thanks for sharing your Christmas. I love how simple it is. We are wanting a more simple Christmas also. Thanks so much for sharing yours.


    Blessings,

    Lynn

    Camelot Homestead Academy

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  10. homeschoolhighlitesDecember 3, 2007 at 9:50 AM

    I love how you said you enjoy the simple pleasures of Christmas like riding around looking at the lights and making lots of cookies! We really love doing those things too. I enjoyed your slide show of art projects as well - are you using one art curriculum to do all those projects?

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  11. Hi Dawn,

    Thanks for stopping by. I really enjoyed reading your Christmas Traditions. We only spend 100.00 per each child, they get a Santa present, then mommy & daddy presents.


    Debbie

    www.homeschoolblogger.com/mychildrenandme

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  12. We've been focusing on some of these same things, and I love getting more ideas from you! The creche idea is wonderful!


    I'm glad that you've found ways to make it easier on your RAD child.


    I gave you the Blogger Friends Award. Come check it out!


    Denise

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  13. It's so nice how you keep it simple and stay focused on what truly matters.

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  14. I enjoyed the peek into your home at Christmas. It sounds like your family is well-grounded. I love all the ways you share the idea of giving with your children.

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  15. I love all of your ideas for taking the commercialism out of Christmas! The ribbon/creche idea is so cool! I love how they trade it in to buy something for someone in need!


    We did Heifer International at home and through Church last year and the kids loved it! We tried to buy a goat, but ended up with 2 flocks of chicks and honeybees.


    Good luck!

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  16. What wonderful giving traditions you have. We do the shoe boxes every year, too. My older girls were supposed to go work at the Samaritan's Purse warehouse again this year, but we just found out this morning that they think they will be finished this weekend. They are really disappointed. We also like to buy a gift through the catalog, but your idea of the creche is wonderful. It really includes them more.

    Letitia

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  17. Thanks so much for sharing, what wonderful ideas and wonderful ways in teaching your children what really matters. Your tree is beautiful!


    Angela

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  18. Wonderful ideas esp the creche!!!


    Hope you and your family have an awesome Christmas season!!! :-)


    Angela

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  19. Your Christmas sounds just wonderful. The emphasis you put on giving to others is beautiful.

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  20. Love the ideas! Sounds so peaceful...we have tried our best to keep it simple too and doing lots of things together as a family. I just mentioned on another post that the memories of Christmas are forever with us and the memories of the gifts are lost in time. Keep making those memories! Tammy

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  21. Dawn,

    I loved your ideas, as we share similar values about this time of year.... we like to keep things very simple and focus on service -- as we feel that is the best way we can show we love Jesus!

    I hope that your season is one of joy!

    Blessings,

    gloria

    ps. bless you for patience with your child with RAD -- I know this can be so challenging - we deal with issues related to neglect and sometimes I feel so frustrated, but knowing these are God's children and He sent them to us for a purpose!


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  22. You have such wonderful ways of helping others at this special time! Thanks for sharing!


    Merry Christmas!

    -Heather

    http://mrsmomma.blogspot.com/

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  23. We do a Happy Birthday Jesus cake on Christmas Eve...fruitcake! lol

    Blessings,

    Laurie

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  24. Love your lessons of giving at Xmastime. Wish you had been my mom and I had your children's experiences. Really great!

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  25. Your have a lot of great traditions and ideas to make the holidays wonderful for others. I love the box under the tree with ribbons (of kindness) Then a baby Jesus appears there Christmas morning. I try to encourage kindness (esp. to siblings) with a special gumball machine filled with chocolate candies. They know they are Sweets for when they are sweet. We do Operation Christmas Child too and this year are filling backpacks for our Local Rescue Mission.

    Have a wonderful Christmas of giving! Your family will be a blessing to many!

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  26. Lots of great ideas. Keeping things simple and old-fashioned is the way to go! Thanks for sharing.

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  27. What wonderful ideas! As a mother of four children on the autism spectrum (one of them also having bipolar disorder) I understand how the festivities can throw the family into a tailspin.


    It's nice to "meet" you.

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  28. Your traditions are very touching and I am blessed for having read your post. I am saving this info. for next year. This year we have adopted a soldier through Soldiers Angels and that has been something we were able to involve the children in.


    Hugs,

    Jenn

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  29. Your nativity scene is beautiful!


    Stephanie@inspired

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  30. Dawn,

    Great post, you all have some wonderful ideas and traditions! thanks for all the great links too!


    Your email was accidentally deleted!! Would you mind emailing me one more time with your address so we can get this family planner out to you before the New Year! :-) Tiany@cox.net


    Hugs~

    Tiany

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