“2,200 gospel tracts or a pair of bunnies” might be overheard at our home on Christmas morning.
A number of years ago, Seth and I wanted to find a way to make Christmas not just about getting presents but also about what we could do for the Lord. About this time, my children kept hearing commercials on the local Christian radio station for giving someone a water buffalo for Christmas. We decided to check out organizations where we could buy items to give to others in foreign countries. There are a number of organizations that allow us to give items to people in other countries: Gospel for Asia, Samaritan’s Purse, Compassion, World Vision, and I’m sure others.
Here is the Christmas tradition in our family.
For a few weeks in December, we offer our children ways to earn money for giving gifts to missionaries or the poor in other countries. Mainly through household chores, our kids accumulate money to spend on Christmas morning. We have tasks like cleaning out under beds, vacuuming, and laundry. Seth and I like to be generous with the kids to give them as many chances as possible to earn toward the gift giving. When the kids were younger, we helped them to pick out goals ahead of time and constantly reminded them that their money wasn’t for them to spend on themselves but for giving gifts to others in need.
Our record keeping is very simple. It consists of a homemade sign hanging on the fridge with tally marks to keep track of the kids’ earning. We also usually stick up a list of chores that they can complete to earn money.
On Christmas morning, the kids take their totals for the month and pour over the lists of gifts they can give. In the past, we normally use the laptop to look up prices or print out the online catalog so that the kids can look at it easier. As a family, we all make our decisions about what to buy and place our order. We have children who like to choose the gifts directly related to missionaries and others who want to buy small animals or other income-earning ideas for families. Often, children have gotten their own money out to add to their totals, and we really enjoy thinking of others on Christmas morning. As one of my children said, “We want to give gifts to missionaries and to people who don’t have anything because God has given us the best gift, His Son Jesus.”
We chose Gospel for Asia when we originally started this tradition because even a small amount of money can give something. For instance, $1 gives an Asian missionary 200 gospel tracts to hand out. Or $3 for a Bible. From a quick glance at the other gift catalogs I linked to, the other organizations now also have items for as little as $1.
Honestly, I wasn’t going to share this idea on the blog because it’s something we like to do privately as a family. The kids usually don’t even tell other friends and family about our tradition, but we decided to share since others might be looking for ideas on how to bring the focus of Christmas back to Christ.
In fact, there are others who have much bigger ideas than this, but I wanted to share one small idea you might enjoy as a family.