The Grateful Christmas Project
7 Ways to have more Grateful Kids this Christmas :
When children practice the great joy of giving to people —
they get the great joy of becoming grateful people!
1. A “Gifts We Already Have” List
Hang a long paper on a wall or on the fridge or back of door to write down all the things you are grateful for. Fill that list up before Christmas — a list of all the countless ways God blesses you all as a family. The gateways into the holidays [holy-days]?
is always Thanksgiving… “Enter into His presence through the gate of THANKSGIVING — & in His presence is fullness of JOY” (Ps.100:4, Ps16:11) So when the holidays get hard, for big kids or little kids? Deep breath & remember how you always get into the holidays & JOY — through that gateway: Thanksgiving. Hold on through the holidays:
JOY IS ALWAYS POSSIBLE — because there is always, always something to be THANKFUL for! Count 1000 Gifts 1000 (or a bit more or less) of the gifts you already have this Christmas!
2. Thanks Mob the Neighborhood
Set out a basket of Thank you postcards & leave a pen and stamps in the basket. Add a stash of cookies or chocolate bars or treats. See if you can empty the thank-you card basket, accompanied by treats, by Christmas — a thank-you card and a treat for the postman, the garbage collector, folks at the hair salon, the crossing guard, the church janitor.
3. Love-in for a Shut-In
Adopt Just One Shut-in this Advent. One person who is homebound or elderly or in a nursing home — and have the kids think of one thing they can do for that shut-in face to face over Advent. Sing Christmas carols with them one evening? Bring them a very small tree in a pot and every week of Advent pop in with one more meaningful ornament for the tree? Bring them a meal? Find a way for the kids to be face-to-face with blessing someone.
4. Thrift Gifts
Before every trip to the mall — check out one thrift store. Before any online order — check out kijji or ebay. Help kids to thrill in the hunt for thrifted gems — and see it as a way to make gifts keep on giving! Think Thrift Gift!
5. Lower expectations to Heighten Joy
“Expectations kill relationships — and joy.” (One Thousand Gifts) Consider ways of sharing with the kids that Christmas is going to be smaller and holier this year. Set low spending limits for all gift-giving and make the creativity with little part of the Christmas fun. Think: One Gift to Read. (thrifted book?) One Gift to Wear. (fun socks?) One Gift to Delight. (make? find used? set a budget for this one) One Gift for the King. (See King’s Gifts below) Live by the small rule: Only buy for Christmas Day what can be paid for by New Year’s Day. Lower the expectations to heighten the joy!
6. Giving Lists not Getting Lists
Spend quiet time with each of the kids thinking and planning on what they can give and how they can be the gift, give a blessing — so that they can live out the truth of: It is more blessed to give than to receive. What can they make? Bake? Create? How could they surprise? Bless? Who is on their Giving list? Let’s focus on our Giving Lists — and not so much on any getting lists.
7. King’s Gifts
Hear Jesus whispering it: “When You give to the least of these — you give to Me.” Consider how to make this Christmas radical — and get out the King’s Catalogues and get excited about giving bringing gifts to our King! Gather the family around with all the catalogues and make it a family birthday party for Jesus — will you bring the King a goat, clean water, a chicken, a Bible for a new Believer, a warm coat? Check out the: Compassion Catalog … World Vision Catalog … Partner’s International Catalog… Gospel for Asia Catalog… Mennonite Central Committee Catalog …
Ultimately? Unwrap The Greatest Gifts
Weary mamas? Wound-up kids? This December? Could be The Greatest Christmas! This is the relief you’ve always wanted for your Christmas?
How about a Stress Free Christmas? These resources, The Greatest Gift and Unwrapping the Greatest Gift are How-To books — how to have a stress-free Christmas — in the sense that they are Who-To books: When we see that it’s all about Jesus — there is no stress.
These books are not another To-Do — but books that whisper: It’s already been done. Jesus comes as an almost weightless babe — so we can know it: Christmas is meant to be weightless. Grace is weightless.
Open these books & your Christmas will begin where you never expected — and it will end where you only dreamed. Books that are like your own larger-than-life Advent Calendar, opening up to 25 wondrous stories that tell the family tree of Jesus, from Creation to His Coming.
So come Christmas day — you haven’t missed Jesus…
Only 2 Days till Advent & we open the pages of these books like an Advent Calendar & begin: The Greatest Gift (adult edition) and Unwrapping the Greatest Gift (family read aloud edition)
Maybe you’re ready too for The Night before Advent Party? so the whole family can start the wondrous opening of the Greatest Gifts?
Have the Greatest Christmas — check out our whole library of free printable ornaments, cards, gift tags, gifts boxes, Sticky Notes for Your Soul, Advent Calendars and more — our gift to you for The Greatest Christmas!
“Christian hands never clasp and He doesn’t give us gifts for our gain because a gift can never stop being a gift— it is always meant to be given.” (from One Thousand Gifts)