Growing Generosity in Your Kids at Christmas

Dr. Tim Elmore is the founder and president of Growing Leaders. He is the author of several books, including his most recent, Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

Ahhh, Christmas. It just may be the most wonderful time of the year. Every year, however, parents are reminded of how much our culture has impacted the minds of our children. For instance, we all talk about Christmas being a time of giving — but let’s face it, the first thing kids want to do in December is to make their own Christmas list of what they’ll get, not give.

Girl Giving Gift at Christmas - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/nautilus_shell_studios, Image #10149473

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/nautilus_shell_studios

So here’s an idea.

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First, why not start a tradition. Along with creating their own “wish list,” your kids make out a list of the gifts they plan to give away to others. This could include people they know and perhaps people they don’t know. The gifts can be ones they buy with their own money, or some of their own possessions they treasure.

Let’s take it a step further. What if for every gift they put on their wish list, they have to match it with a gift they plan to give away—one of their own toys, dolls, electronic devices, or games? This may just balance their “giving and receiving” experience a bit more. Then, they select a family less fortunate, and make an anonymous drop-off to that family. (Remember “ding dong ditch”?)

I know of a mom and dad who had their kids go through all their toys one December and make two piles. The first pile would include the toys they planned on giving away; the second, toys they felt were worth keeping. (This made room for the new toys they’d soon receive on Christmas.)

The clincher was, this mom and dad talked about sacrificial giving, and shared how they planned to give one of their cars to a needy family. Then, they had their children give away the pile of toys they had planned to keep.

Sacrifice is true generosity. It was hard for a few moments, but unforgettable in the end. Those kids still talk about that incredible experience four years later.

Jesus reminds us: “This poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned” (Mark 12:43-44).

Join Tim tomorrow at Pete Wilson’s blog as he discusses ways to develop patience in your kids (and maybe yourself!) during the holidays.
Question: What can you do this Christmas to teach generosity to your kids? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://twitter.com/barrykahan Barry Kahan

    This is a truly wonderful post. As I celebrate Hanukkah, this is a must for all holidays. What a great way to perform a Mitzvah! A completely selflish act of human kindness.

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Barry — I’m glad you found the post helpful. Happy Hanukkah!

      • http://www.barrykahan.wordpress.com BarryK

        Tim, as a follow up, with 3 kids in college and and funds are not always as abundant :), we decided to limit what we were going to do for each other this holiday season. The idea of your post popped up in my head. So now instead ,we are going to purchase some items for a soup kitchen for the homeless that we help cook for at a church one Sunday morning a month. I never realized how good it really does feel to be doing this.

        Funny thing happened as well. We were chatting with someone the other day and he mentioned how he had to go pick up a necklace he purchased at a jewelry store for his girlfriend for the holidays. I know my wife felt the same warmth spread through her as I did.

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  • B_Schebs

    Thanks for the great ideas Dr. Elmore. I love the idea of having kids donating toys and things, especially at Christmas, not only does it teach them about the giving, buit also about not becoming bogged down in the ‘clutter” of possession. Thanks to the insights. Happy Holidays!!!

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Glad you found the idea helpful. We have to fight getting bogged down in clutter in our home, too, so hopefully we can all have a different perspective this year.

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  • http://www.MomLifeNavigator.com Christine Field

    Here’s how we have helped our kids learn giving and compassion: http://www.momlifenavigator.com/category/season-of-growth/parenting/

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Christine — Thanks for sharing your ideas, too.

  • http://www.liveonpurposecoach.com Dwright

    I volunteer each year with the Greenville Jaycees and the Boys and Girls Club for the holidays. This year I hope that my sons work schedule permits him to participate as well. My friend’s kids were able to participate last year and they were inquiring as to when the activity would take place this year. I believe that my son realizes that he is blessed. However, you really don’t know how blessed you are until you actually volunteer your time with an organization. Volunteering ia an activity where seeing is believing.

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Deneen — Volunteering is a great example of this. Thanks for taking the time to volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club. That is awesome!

  • Jeannette

    Great post! I love how the parents modeled giving to others to their children.

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Me, too. Thanks for the encouragement, Jeannette!

  • Jeannette

    Great post! I love how the parents modeled giving to others to their children.

  • http://www.validleadership.com James Castellano

    What a wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Thanks, James!

  • Gary

    We started a similar tradition in our family. We are a “blended” family and our children were a little older. It was difficult for them to decide what to get each other, it was gift cards for iTunes, gasoline etc. We approached them about the idea of pooling all our money we were going to spend on each other, since we were exchanging gift cards to the same place anyway why not buy your own, and buy gifts for a needy family. They agreed so we found a family through our church that was not going to have a Christmas, we provided gifts and food. It was most rewarding. This year we are doing the Prison Angel Tree program because we will get to deliver gifts we buy and be able to share the gospel as well. God bless and Merry Christmas to all.

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Gary — Thanks for sharing your story. I loved hearing about what your family is doing for Christmas. You’re making special memories together in your new “blended” family and that’s great.

  • http://www.unwillingtosettle.com Greg

    What a great post. I love the photos you put on your blog. What size photo do you purchase from iStockphoto? They really add to your blog.

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      This picture was purchased as a “small.” They come in XS, S, M, and L. Greg, depending on what you’re using the picture for, will help you determine the size you want to purchase. I hope that helps.

  • http://twitter.com/epicparent epicparent.tv

    Great post! I am encouraging my kids to give the gift of honor this year, if you have a second you can see it here, http://tinyurl.com/25zg3bk . I would also like to re-post this on my site this week? I am focusing on Christmas, how would I go about getting permission to do that?

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      You can definitely re-post this blog on your site. Please give my blog (http://blog.growingleaders.com) and Michael Hyatt’s blog credit (linking both sites to yours). I would greatly appreciate that. Thanks for wanting to re-post this! :o)

  • http://youth4uganda.com/ Tiffany

    Each year we find an angel tree (or similar charity) and each child chooses a child the same age/gender as themselves. My 4 kids (ages 13,11, 4 and 4) have had sooo much fun shopping for and wrapping gifts for their “adopted” kid that they often forget to ask for things for themselves. This year, we have also invited a college student to spend Christmas with us and, once again, the kids are busy preparing for our special guest instead of thinking about themselves.

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      That’s amazing, Tiffany. Thanks for investing in your children, and being a positive role model in their lives. It sounds like you’re bringing them up well.

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  • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

    Thanks, Mike, for taking the time to have me guest blog on your blog, and for sharing with parents how they can implement generosity with their kids. I truly am grateful.

    Thanks everyone for all your positive feedback and comments on Mike’s blog! I am privileged to have Mike share this first tip with his followers. Stay tuned. I have 11 more days of tips coming over the next 2 weeks.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome, Tim. I am grateful for your contribution to my life—and my blog!

  • Jody Urquhart

    Love the idea of giving a toy away when a new one comes in.
    My son is only one but i fear he is already being spoiled by friends and family.
    I want him to be grateful for everything he has in life and not take people and things for granted and when things are just handed to him i think that makes it hard to maintain this perspective. Ok he’s only one so at this point he has no idea whats going on

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Jody — It’s terrific that you’re starting young with your son! Keep up the good work.

    • http://bretmavrich.posterous.com/ Bret Mavrich

      Jody,

      “spoiled” is the right word. That would be a post all its own: how do you raise your kids with one set of values when there is a very real dimension of friends and family not sharing those values. I’ve heard lots of stories where kids come back from Grandma’s and have to be re-taught courtesies and values (like sharing).

  • Gaylene

    Great post and will be sharing it with my daughter and son-in-law to use with their young family.

    We give through the year to our Compassionate Pregnancy Center, with diapers, and other needed but not so glamorous items and we do so without giving the center our name.

    We also try to give each year (and did this while our children were growing up) to Toys for Tots and Operation Christmas – shoebox filled with some needed and some fun items.

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Gaylene — Glad you found the post helpful. Sounds like you’re giving to some great organizations.

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Gaylene — Glad you found the post helpful. Sounds like you’re giving to some great organizations.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma_maheswaran

    Dear Tim!

    Great Post. Heartily agree to your suggestions to cultivate generosity in kids. Apart from them, we can make them do the following activities this Christmas to teach generosity to them:

    1. We can ask the kids to come up with three (or more) people that they are thankful for this year. They might have helped the kids personally, socially or professionally this year. Then we can suggest the kids to give them a personal gift this season, with a handwritten note explaining why the kids are grateful to them this year, and how much they have contributed to their life.

    2. We should teach the kids to absorb the good cheer of others. The next time they see others celebrating their year, the kids should be taught to find joy in other’s happiness. This will make them broad minded and cultivate abundance mentality in them.

    Thanks
    Uma

    • http://bretmavrich.posterous.com/ Bret Mavrich

      Uma, I love your suggestions. Giving personally is critical—donating from afar never touches the heart. Number 2 is insightful as well.

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Thanks Bret! Your ideas are always welcome.

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Uma — I love your #1 idea! That is a fantastic way to implement this idea in your kids. Thanks for your insightful comments!

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com Uma Maheswaran S

        Thanks Tim for your reply and consideration.

  • http://bretmavrich.posterous.com/ Bret Mavrich

    I don’t think there is any antidote to the “gimme’s” that is more powerful than actually seeing someone else erupt with joy at a gift that was altogether unexpected, yet altogether perfect. It communicates that someone has seen them, loved them, and taken the time to learn something secret about them. I still remember when my sister cried out with joy over some pottery lessons that my brothers and I surprised her with. I remember that moment more than anything I received in the last 5 Christmases.

    So my suggestion is that we invite children to be part of a great gift-giving experience, one where they have to keep a secret, and one where they find themselves excited on Christmas morning for their loved one to open the gift they’ve had a part in giving. Over time the holiday season will take on new meaning—which is actually the old meaning we all cherish in our nostalgia.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      So true. I witnessed this in Africa. The simplest gifts led to great joy. Quite a contrast with our own culture, where so many feel “entitled.”

      • http://bretmavrich.posterous.com/ Bret Mavrich

        My wife and I were just talking last night about that.

        When did the Christmas trend of “swapping gifts” devolve into “swapping gift-lists?”

        And is there anything more sad than exchanging gift cards?

      • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

        I agree. Simple gifts lead to great joy. And Mike, too many kids today feel “entitled.” They’ve told me so!

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Bret — Great suggestion. We do need to invite our children to be apart of a great gift-giving experience, and one they’ll never forget. We have to remember, this is a season of giving to others, not receiving. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • http://twitter.com/sundijo Sundi Jo

    This is a great post. Thanks so much for sharing. I don’t have children yet, but can’t wait to apply this principle to our family when I do. However, I believe I can apply this to myself as well as the other adults around me. We can all find the real “Christmas Spirit” by doing this.

  • http://twitter.com/sundijo Sundi Jo

    This is a great post. Thanks so much for sharing. I don’t have children yet, but can’t wait to apply this principle to our family when I do. However, I believe I can apply this to myself as well as the other adults around me. We can all find the real “Christmas Spirit” by doing this.

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Sundi Jo — Thanks for your comment. I hope this post and the ones to come will help give you some guidelines for when you raise your own children when you do have them.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t have any children, but if I did I think setting the example of being generous all year long is the best way to teach children to be givers. I do love the exercise above for kids. Those are great ideas.

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Laurinda — Even though you don’t have children yet, I hope that some day when you do, you’ll be able to share these ideas with them. They’re even great exercises for us as adults. :o)

  • http://jeffgoins.myadventures.org Jeff Goins

    I love this. I have mixed feelings about the holiday season – mostly due to my own childhood experiences. In my lifetime, the holidays can often bring the worst out of people. I want something better for my own family. It was until I started spending significant time with the homeless that I truly began to understand and appreciate the “meaning” of Christmas, not to mention why the Gospel is good news to the poor.

    Bringing a coat to someone who could very well freeze to death one winter’s night without it reawakened my spirit of giving. Moreover, it gave me hope for our Americanized version Christmas – that we could actually experience the birth of Christ as it was meant to be, as an opportunity to be generous… even in the midst of affluence and materialism.

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Jeff — Thanks for sharing. I think many people think the holidays can bring the worst out in people. That’s unfortunately true. Thanks for taking the time to spend with the homeless and help provide for them. I know they all appreciate your time and generosity. We need more people like you.

      • http://jeffgoins.myadventures.org Jeff Goins

        Thanks for the comment, Tim. I’m honored. It was by accident that I stumbled upon what people in poverty and homelessness could teach me about Christmas and the spirit of generosity. As my wife and I look forward to having children soon, we’re looking for ways to intentionally build this ethic into their character at an early age.

        Your name actually came up in a conversation I was having with Mike, as I was lamenting my generation’s lack of discipline and commitment. He recommended some of your books, which I’ll be checking out.

        • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

          That is awesome, Jeff. I feel privileged you’ll use what I’ve shared with your own children when you and your wife have them. Thanks for your support. It is essential to be intentional on how we lead and how we relate to others.

          If you would like to order resources from one of my colleagues, please let me know, and I can put you in touch w/ someone. Or you can order online: http://www.GrowingLeaders.com/store — Thanks, Jeff! Blessings to you.

          • http://jeffgoins.myadventures.org Jeff Goins

            Thanks. Is there an advantage to connecting with one of your colleagues versus ordering online?

          • Anonymous

            Jeff — The advantage would be you would get to speak with one of my colleagues versus ordering online. :o) Either way, you’ll be able to purchase resources. I’ll give you a head start…. We’re starting a promotion on my latest book, Generation iY where you’ll get a signed Generation iY book + a PDF file of our 52 Leadership Ideas You Can Use with Students + FREE shipping all for $20. Please go to: http://www.GrowingLeaders.com and you’ll see the advertisement. Thanks for your interest! I hope we can serve you!

  • http://twitter.com/johngruber John Gruber

    Great post. This year between my daughter and her cousins we are not giving each other gifts, but helping an agency with money or donation and then writing a letter about the experience to the cousins as the “gift.” We are very excited.

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Thanks, John! That is an excellent idea! Thanks for taking the time to give in this manner. I love your idea! You’ll appreciate my blog post on Catalyst’s blog on Wednesday. :o)

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  • TNeal

    The two-piles story gives an unexpected punch that delivers a great Christ-centered message. For me, it combines a fine Christmas tradition, giving, with the Golden Rule. In this case, it’s not simply “do unto others what you would have them do unto you” but “give unto others what you would want given unto you.”

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      You are spot on. Thanks for the reminder. This is the time of the year to give, and give in how you would want to be given. Appreciate your feedback!

  • Anonymous

    This is a great post with some wonderful ideas, but I also think if you want your kids to be generous at Christmas you have to teaching them throughout the year. Before Black Friday my six year old saw an ad for the Nintendo DS and asked how much it was, “$89,” I replied. “Oh,” she said, “that’s probably too much for my Christmas gift.” The funny part was my wife and I had already talked about Walmart shooping strategy so that we could be in line to get one for her! But becasue we sponsor are girl, Lucia, through Compassion International, my daughters know what $89 could buy for some one living in Tanzania.
    She this in her really taught me the importance of continuing to be generous to others and also made me realize that if I feel good by seeing here generosity, how much more does God feel let when I am generous.

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Thanks for sharing! You are right, this idea is something we should all practice throughout the year. It sounds like you’re raising your 6-year-old well. Thanks for investing in her life and for sponsoring a child. Isn’t it amazing what we can learn from our children, and how we feel when we do give more generously?

  • Amy

    Love this post! Don’t have kids of my own to do this with, but you better believe I’m filing this one away to use if/when we have kids! And let’s face it, it’s a great reminder for us ‘big kids’ to do the same this year… I’m sure I have more than a few ‘toys’ that could be put to greater use in the hands of a needy family this Christmas.

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Thanks, Amy! So true. I know we could all learn and live up to this idea of being generous.

  • http://twitter.com/ThatGuyKC K.C. Procter

    I cannot thank you enough for sharing this post.

    As the father of two younger children (9 yr old boy & 3 yr old girl) I feel challenged each holiday season to balance the giving and receiving. Definitely going to bounce the 1 for 1 wishlist idea off my wife. Our kids seem to have more toys than they know what to do with.

    Thank you again for the useful ideas to remind our kids (and ourselves) what Christmas is about.

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      K.C. — Thanks! I hope you and your wife are able to implement these ideas into your family. Know I am grateful for your feedback and kind words. May we all learn and implement these ideas on generosity in our own lives.

  • http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com Nikole Hahn

    Also, teach them without words throughout the year–pay close attention to the people in your congregation; befriend them; pray for them; and help ease their burdens both emotional and practical in that new circle of friends.

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Thanks for sharing, Nikole!

  • Georgiana

    Wonderful post ~ detailing the true meaning of our Christian holiday! It’s important to raise our children with a spirit filled with empathy and generosity for others of less fortune. Experiencing giving in action, such as handing out toys or meals to families in need, brings these ideas to life. And in turn, this instills precious memories and traditions for them each year growing up and to continue on with their own children one day. :-)

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Georgiana — It is important to raise our children well. Thanks for sharing. Appreciate your feedback.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Great post, Dr. Tim. My wife and I have been involved with an organization called Heavenly Treasures for the past few years. They help people all over the world start small micro-enterprises, creating all sorts of hand crafts from wooden utensils to purses and clothing. They bring over the finished products and sell them in their retail stores and at church bazaars. Many families have their children buy some of the smaller items and give them as gifts. Most of the products have stories attached that tell about the people that made them. Not only are the gifts unique and hand made, but they provide a livelihood for someone much less fortunate. But the most fun is seeing a small child give a special gift made by a child half way around the world.

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      John — Thanks for sharing, and for being involved in this organization. Appreciate you taking the time to invest in the lives of young people, and helping make a difference in the world.

  • www.therextras.com

    My most recent post includes a suggestion for this, too.

    http://www.therextras.com/therextras/2010/12/symbolic-meaning-.html

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Thanks for sharing, Barbara!

  • Mary Kay

    As a single mom, I did what you described–having my son choose gifts to give away to less fortunate. But at our home, “Santa” took them on Christmas Eve when he came to drop off presents.

    This type of sacrifice impacts young people deeply. A few years into our tradition, a friend took my son to a shoe store, allegedly to help the man select some cowboy boots for a “young friend who was in the hospital.” When my son opened the package with those boots on Christmas Eve, he started crying because the poor little boy in the hospital wouldn’t get the treasured boots. When all was explained to him, he told our friend he shouldn’t lie!

    Now my son is in his thirties, and thanks me for helping him learn the value of money, taking care of your things, and being generous. What a Christmas gift for a parent to receive.

    Thanks for the good post.
    Mary Kay

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Mary Kay — Thanks for sharing and instilling generosity in your son when he was younger. That is a great gift to receive from your son. :o)

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  • http://LivingMontessoriNow.com Deb Chitwood

    Inspirational – and practical – post! I believe both adults and children can benefit greatly by adopting gratitude as a way of life. This takes it one step farther!

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Deb — I love how you taught your children to give and volunteer when they were younger. Thanks for investing well in them and for sharing with me.

  • http://musicroad.blogspot.com Kerry Dexter

    I think it is also important, while teaching these lessons on giving, to teach kids to respect ( that is, not look down on, or be judgemental toward) people who may have less or be in need at this season, or any other time. would you have suggestions as to how to incorporate this teaching into the ideas you propose?

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Kerry — Yes, respect is key, too. We are not to judge. Great point. Thanks for sharing!

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      One activity I have done to impress my kids is to not look down on those less privileged, and to take them to serve at a rescue mission or a soup kitchen. We have a favorite place here in Atlanta where we’ve been able to serve the homeless several times. It always impacts my kids. In fact, it usually sparks their own ideas on giving even more. And… it almost always endears them to the underprivileged. Thanks again for your comment. Hope you have a great Christmas.

  • Anonymous

    This one hit pretty close to home for me. We have four kids and one due in a few weeks. Teaching them generosity, and biblical giving is crucial for them to develop into the people God has created them to be. My example may just be the most important aspect of my teaching.

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Congrats on your soon-to-be little one! Thanks for sharing. May these ideas help you implement generosity in all of your children as you raise them. :o)

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        Thanks! I’vebeen following this series on the various sites. Looking forward to the rest of them…

        • Anonymous

          Thanks, Jeff! I hope you’re finding these parenting blogs useful as you invest in your own children and the students at your church.

  • http://www.rowentree.com April Rowen

    I don’t have any kiddies yet, but one of my earliest Christmas memories is of Dad and Mum asking us to write a list. We happily did so and even dubbed them fridge-worthy. Every day, Dad and Mum would ask what we *most* wanted from the list. Finally, when we headed off to do last-minute Christmas shopping, they asked us if we would be willing to buy our most desired item for someone else in need. I remember our response: shocked silence.
    Needless to say, it was an unforgettable Christmas because… well, we gave instead of received. And we got so much more from it! Thanks for the reminder.

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      April — Sounds like your parents brought you up well. I’m glad they took the time and invested this principle of generosity in your life at such a young age. It has stuck with you, too; this vivid image. Appreciate you sharing with me.

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  • Anonymous

    All these ideas are wonderful, 2 additional thoughts:
    1. Give to people you appreciate, not just to those in need. We bake cookies for 120 people who make our lives better.
    2. Spend time noticing who gives generosity to you, not just who you are blessing with yours. That helps complete the circle, and fill their bucket.

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Carla — Thanks for your additional thoughts and for sharing with everyone. Both are valid points and we all should implement them in our own lives.

    • Gail

      One way to fill others bucket is to take the time to write kind, encouraging words sepcifically to them in their Christmas cards or emails not just a generic “Merry Christmas”.

      • Anonymous

        Gail — Definitely! Thanks for your comment and for sharing with everyone.

  • http://www.netpowersolution.com Ben

    Wow, this is something I think is worth starting. Thank you for that insight.

    • http://twitter.com/TimElmore Tim Elmore

      Thanks, Ben! I hope these ideas are useful for you and your family. Appreciate your comment.

  • Gail

    I come from a big (now adult) family. A few Christmas’s ago we tried the “one big gift” thing instead of many small gifts. It was a dismal failure. Not only did the Gift Love Language people feel unloved, but the rest of us felt bad that we hadn’t given anything to our family. For us Christmas is all about finding how much love you can put into each gift for each family member with a very small budget. It’s not the big gifts that impress, but the small ones that take time and thought.
    So while it’s good to give outside of the family at any time of year, maybe more of us should remember to teach our kids how to give well inside the family as it shouldn’t be the price tag that counts but the demonstration of knowing the person and the love with which the gift is chosen and given.

    • http://www.GrowingLeaders.com Tim Elmore

      Gail — Great insight. Thanks for taking the time to share with everyone. :o)

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  • http://www.inhotpursuitofmoreandless.blogspot.com Sharon

    So true. I have been forever affected (for the good) by one Christmas when I was 10. My parents invited a family over at last minute. This family did not have much money and my mom took me aside that Christmas morning and as she took my name off a gift she added the name of this family’s child. She explained that I could be a blessing by sharing one of my gifts with that family. Of course, at first my response inside was “No!” But as she talked, the Holy Spirit calmed my heart and later the blessing and growth came as I saw the delight on the faces as the gift was presented.

    • http://www.GrowingLeaders.com Tim Elmore

      Sharon — Thanks for sharing. Isn’t it funny how we learn through experiences? May you continue to be generous today and throughout this holiday season.

  • Anonymous

    I love this idea. Sorting through the toys is on my list of things to accomplish over the next couple of weeks. I honestly think it is harder for me to get rid of some of the toys than it is for my kids!

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  • jacqueline blundell

    What I always tell my children everyday without thinking”It’s better to give and don’t worry about recieving”,and there is always somebody worse off then we are,by the way I have four children of my own and have always given to others so if somebody else has an excuse about giving then I feel sorry for them,because there the one with the promblem.

  • http://twitter.com/jerryfultz Jerry Fultz

    Our kids are 9 & 6. This year for Christmas I’m sponsoring a World Vision child. It’s generated a good deal of discussion with our kids about gifts, giving, receiving, etc.

  • http://twitter.com/2020VisionBook Joshua Hood

    Great advice and reminder of the true spirit of the season!

    Joshua Hood
    2020visiononine.org

  • http://www.quelobjet.com/ French Gifts

    This is true. In Christmas time we are celebrating, enjoying and giving gifts to all our beloved once. Especially for children, its a great time for them. This really good idea to get appreciation from our family. Thanks for sharing and lovely gift article…. Find more French gifts at http://www.quelobjet.com/.

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  • Patrick

    We have The Christmas Angel!  Visit http://www.yourchristmasangel.com to find out how it can be a fun and creative way to teach your children about serving others.

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  • Steph

    I think that the parents who made their children give away gifts they thought were worth keeping taught their children that their parents were not trustworthy, and could care less about their kids feelings. They tricked them that’s the bottom line, and guilted them into giving away toys they felt were important to them. If you don’t believe those children were guilted into it, you’re deceiving yourself. I hate Christian guilt because it only breeds compliant children, not truly giving loving children, it’s superficial at best, and harmful at worst. Don’t raise your children to have lots of “stuff”, consumeristic, that’s what breeds giving.